Grand Chess Tour – The Ultimate Battle for Top Grandmasters

Grand Chess Tour

Are you looking for a prestigious chess tournament series that features some of the world’s top Grandmasters competing against each other in multiple events around the world? Let’s take a look at the Grand Chess Tour, with a total prize fund of over $1.2 million, which attracts the best players in the world and provides a platform for intense battles and high-level chess. In this article, we will delve into the history, format, and top players of the Grand Chess Tour, and explore what makes it the ultimate battleground for the top Grandmasters in the world.

History of the Grand Chess Tour

The Grand Chess Tour (GCT) is an annual circuit of chess tournaments featuring the world’s top players. It was founded in 2015 by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, in collaboration with other international chess organizations. The GCT aims to promote the game of chess and provide a platform for the world’s best players to compete against each other in high-level events. The circuit consists of a series of tournaments held in various locations around the world, with players earning points based on their performance in each event.

The history of the Grand Chess Tour can be traced back to the 2013 Sinquefield Cup, an elite invitational tournament held in Saint Louis, which featured some of the world’s top players. The success of the Sinquefield Cup led to the creation of the Grand Chess Tour, which expanded the number of events and locations on the circuit. Since its inception, the Grand Chess Tour has become one of the most prestigious events in the chess world, attracting top players from around the globe. The circuit features both classical and rapid/blitz chess formats, with a total prize fund of over $1.5 million. Some of the most notable events on the Grand Chess Tour include the Sinquefield Cup, the Paris Rapid & Blitz, the Croatia Rapid & Blitz, and the London Chess Classic.

Format and Rules of the Grand Chess Tour


The Grand Chess Tour typically consists of four or five tournaments held in different locations around the world. The tournaments may be classical, rapid, or blitz chess, or a combination of these formats. The number of players in each tournament can vary, but it typically ranges from 10 to 20 players. The winner of each tournament earns points toward the overall Grand Chess Tour standings.


The rules of the Grand Chess Tour are similar to those of other top-level chess tournaments. Players are not allowed to use any outside assistance, and all games are played with a time control that ensures each player has a set amount of time to make their moves. Draws can be agreed upon by the players, but there are often rules in place to discourage excessive drawing.

In addition to these basic rules, there are a few other regulations that apply specifically to the Grand Chess Tour. For example, the tour has a wild card system that allows for the inclusion of additional players who might not otherwise qualify for the tournament. The tour also has a prize fund that is distributed among the players based on their performance in the various tournaments.

Major Tournaments and Events in the Grand Chess Tour

The Grand Chess Tour is comprised of several major tournaments and events held across the world, each attracting top chess players from around the globe.

Paris Rapid & Blitz

The Paris Rapid & Blitz is one of the most highly anticipated events in the Grand Chess Tour. The tournament typically takes place in June and serves as the opening leg of the annual tour. The event features a total of 18 rounds of chess, with nine rounds of rapid chess and nine rounds of blitz chess.

Paris Rapid & Blitz

The Paris Rapid & Blitz is known for its strong field, with some of the world’s top chess players competing each year. The tournament has seen the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, among others, battling it out for the top prize. In addition to the strong field, the Paris Rapid & Blitz is also known for its unique format. The tournament features a combination of rapid and blitz chess, which requires players to be skilled in both types of chess. Rapid chess is played with a time control of 25 minutes per player, while blitz chess has a time control of just five minutes per player. The tournament is held over the course of three days, with the rapid chess games played on the first two days and the blitz chess games played on the final day. The player with the highest combined score from both the rapid and blitz games is declared the winner of the tournament.

The Paris Rapid & Blitz is not only a highly competitive chess tournament, but it also offers fans a unique and exciting viewing experience. The fast-paced action of blitz chess, combined with the strategic play of rapid chess, makes for a thrilling spectacle that draws chess enthusiasts from around the world.

Sinquefield Cup

The Sinquefield Cup is a significant event in the Grand Chess Tour, attracting the world’s top grandmasters to compete for the prestigious title. The tournament is held each year in August or September at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri, USA. It was established in 2013 by the chess philanthropists Rex Sinquefield and his wife Jeanne, who are known for their support of chess in the United States. The Sinquefield Cup is a classical tournament, with each player playing against their opponents in a round-robin format. The event usually consists of 10 players, including a mix of top-rated players and wildcards. The prize fund is typically one of the highest in the world of chess, with a total of $325,000 in 2021, making it a significant event for professional players. Overall, the Sinquefield Cup is a must-watch event for any chess enthusiast, offering high-level competition and exciting games from the world’s best players.

Sinquefield Cup

London Chess Classic

The London Chess Classic is held annually in London, UK, and attracts some of the world’s best chess players who compete in both rapid and classical chess formats. The tournament typically takes place in December and features a prize fund of over $300,000, making it one of the highest-paying events on the chess calendar. The London Chess Classic also includes various side events and activities for chess enthusiasts, such as lectures, book signings, and chess exhibitions.

London Chess Classic

One of the unique features of the London Chess Classic is its emphasis on promoting chess among young people. The tournament includes a strong focus on education and outreach programs, such as the Chess in Schools and Communities charity, which aims to bring chess to children in disadvantaged areas. The London Chess Classic has seen many memorable moments throughout its history, including Magnus Carlsen’s four consecutive victories from 2009 to 2012, and Wesley So’s dramatic win in 2016, where he won all of his games in the tournament. The event continues to be a highlight of the chess calendar, showcasing the best of the sport to fans and enthusiasts around the world.

Croatia Grand Chess Tour

The Croatia Grand Chess Tour is a relatively new addition to the Grand Chess Tour, having been first introduced in 2019. The tournament is held in Zagreb, Croatia, and features both rapid and classical chess formats. It is one of the most exciting events on the Grand Chess Tour calendar and attracts some of the world’s top players. The tournament is organized by the Croatian Chess Federation and features a strong field of players, including previous Grand Chess Tour champions, as well as local talents and rising stars. The event is typically held in June or July and lasts for around 10 days. The Croatia Grand Chess Tour has quickly gained a reputation as a highly competitive and prestigious event on the Grand Chess Tour. In the first edition of the tournament in 2019, it was won by the world champion Magnus Carlsen, who continued his dominance by winning the tournament again in 2021.

Croatia Grand Chess Tour