The strongest Swiss event of the year is around the corner. In the scenic Isle of Man, the first round starts on 25 October and in the next 12 days we will witness a magnificent chess spectacle full of fierce battles. The Grand Swiss is a pivotal part of the FIDE World Championship cycle. Its democratic nature attracts players from all over the world, giving them a chance to qualify for the Candidates Tournament.
Two coveted top spots in the open event and two in the women’s tournament lead to Toronto, where next spring the FIDE Candidates Tournament and the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament will take place. This is a chance to write one’s name in chess history, a chance that in the past was available only to selected few.
114 players will be playing in the open section.
The list of favourites includes Fabiano Caruana, who already has qualified for Toronto from the World Cup in Baku, Hikaru Nakamura, who will seek a return to the Candidates that went so well for him (except for the last round) last year in Madrid, Alireza Firouzja, the winner of the previous Grand Swiss in Riga 2021, Anish Giri, who desperately wants another shot at the title after his last Candidates appearance in 2020/21 in Yekaterinburg, Gukesh D, who at 17 entered the top 10 and became India’s number one after 37 years of Anand’s domination. These are only the top five on the starting list, but you should check the full list and pick your favourites, though you’ll have a hard time with such a wide choice!
The Grand Swiss is also a part of the FIDE Circuit and it adds an additional twist to the tournament intrigue. The winner of the FIDE Circuit will qualify for the Candidates Tournament and there is an intense battle underway for the top spot. The current leader of the Circuit, Fabiano Caruana, has already qualified, so second placed Gukesh D and third placed Anish Giri, the two players who have a reasonable chance of winning it, will try to do their best in this event.
There are 50 registered players in the women section.
Former candidates and World Champions top the starting list: Aleksandra Goryachkina, the current holder of the World Cup, winner of the Candidates Tournament in 2019 and runner-up of the World Championship match in 2020; 12th Women’s World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, also winner of the World Cup in 2021, 15th Women’s World Champion Mariya Muzychuk, 16th Women’s World Champion Tan Zhongyi and World Championship runner-up and World Rapid and Blitz Champion Anna Muzychuk (pictured below).
Both tournaments will have record-breaking prize funds. In the open section the prize fund is $460,000 while in the women section it amounts to $140,000.
Get ready for a remarkable display of chess prowess at the Isle of Man and may the best players win!
Written by GM Alex Colovic
Photos: Lennart Ootes, David Llada