Thursday 2 March 2017

Sharjah GP ends in 3 way tie

The first event of the new FIDE GP Tournament has ended in a 3 way tie for first. Grischuk, Vachier-Lagrave and Mamedyarov shared first place (and the GP points) on a less than inspiring 5.5/9. If this was a round robin event this would be a pretty low score, but it was actually an 18 player swiss. The fact that the best anyone could do was +2 indicates either how even the event was, or how cautious the players were.
Based on reports from Chess24 and the consensus was it was the latter. Each round saw plenty of draws, and it seemed most of the fighting chess occurred between players on 50%. Otherwise it was either protecting a lead, or stopping the rot, all the while keeping tabs on the other leaders. Significantly this tournament had no rules concerning draw offers, which is where some players are point the finger at, although I personally am still not a fan of such measures. A slightly more inventive points and prize structure is probably a better solution, with wins scoring bonus GP points on top of normal GP points being one idea.
The next event is in Moscow in May, and the organisers may make some tweaks to the format to encourage more interest.

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