The Grand Chess Tour (GCT) was a 2015 circuit of chess tournaments where players compete for multiple prize pools. The three tournaments featured in the Grand Chess tour were Norway Chess, the Sinquefield Cup, and the London Chess Classic.
On January 6, 2016, the Altibox Norway Chess event announced it would not be part of the Grand Chess Tour in 2016, mostly due to differences in how much of a priority getting commercial sponsorship should be. Other plans for 2016 are thus up in the air. Malcolm Pein insists that there will still be 3 tournaments, with player invitations issued by the end of January. Even with this move, Altibox Norway Chess expects to lose money in 2016, and the other GCT events are significantly dependent upon large monetary infusions from private patrons.
The Grand Chess Tour was announced on April 24, 2015 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in St. Louis, Missouri prior to the Battle of the Legends: Garry Kasparov vs Nigel Short match. The tour was designed to promote competitive chess by including all of the top players and the World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a single circuit. With the combination of several established tournaments, the Grand Chess Tour aimed to create a large prize pool which would be attractive to the players and media alike.
The first Grand Chess Tour would take place across three tournaments, Norway Chess, the Sinquefield Cup, and the London Chess Classic with each tournament in the Grand Chess Tour having the same prize fund, structure, and time controls. The overall prize pool for the first Grand Chess Tour is $1,050,000, with $300,000 for each tournament and a $150,000 prize for the top three players across the entire circuit.
Nine players compete in each tournament in the Grand Chess Tour. A tenth wildcard player is selected by the organizing committee of each individual event. Players earn tour points based on their performance at each event. The top three players who accumulate the most tour points across all events receive extra prize money, taken from the Grand Chess Tour prize fund, and automatic invitations to the following year's Grand Chess Tour. Wildcard players receive tour points for any tournaments in which they participate.
In 2015, the Grand Chess Tour invited the top-10 players in the world ranked by the January 2015 FIDE rating list. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the 11th ranked player in January 2015, was invited as the ninth player to compete after 8th ranked Vladimir Kramnik and 10th ranked Wesley So declined to participate. Jon Ludvig Hammer was selected to participate in the 2015 Norway Chess Tournament after qualifying through a wildcard tournament. Wesley So and Michael Adams were selected to participate in the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic, respectively.
The results of the 2015 Grand Chess Tour. Tour points in bold indicate a tournament win.
|Norway Chess||Sinquefield Cup||London Chess Classic||Total|
|1||Magnus Carlsen (Norway)||2834||4||10||12||26|
|2||Anish Giri (Netherlands)||2784||7||6||10||23|
|3||Levon Aronian (Armenia)||2788||2||13||7||22|
|4||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France)||2773||5||7||8||20|
|5||Hikaru Nakamura (United States)||2793||8||8||3||19|
|6||Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria)||2803||13||4||1||18|
|7||Alexander Grischuk (Russia)||2747||3||5||6||14|
|8||Viswanathan Anand (India)||2796||10||2||2||14|
|9||Fabiano Caruana (United States)||2787||6||3||4.5||13.5|
|10||Michael Adams (United Kingdom)||2737||4.5||4.5|
|11||Wesley So (United States)||2775||1||1|
|12||Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway)||2695||1||1|