The fifth edition of the Grand Chess Tour (GCT) will see the tour expand to eight tournaments and increase the number of full tour participants to twelve. The tour will also welcome fourteen event level wildcards in 2019. Tour participants will fight for a record prize fund of $1.75 million as the GCT expands its reach to four continents to include tournaments in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. The prize money on offer for the classical tournaments has been increased to $325,000 per event ($90,000 for 1st place and $60,000 for 2nd) while the prize fund for the GCT Finals in London will also be raised to $350,000 ($150,000 for 1st place and $100,000 for 2nd).
The new tournaments will be in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire), Kolkata (India), Bucharest (Romania) and Zagreb (Croatia). Major sponsors already confirmed for the 2019 season include Vivendi SA, Colliers International, Tata Steel India, St Louis Chess Club and Superbet Group. Gameplan Sports have been appointed as the official sponsorship and branding partner of the tour.
Croatia GCT and the Sinquefield Cup will be classical tournaments with five rapid and blitz tournaments to be held in Abidjan, Paris, St Louis, Bucharest and Kolkata. The GCT Finals will once again be held in London as part of the 2019 London Chess Classic.
The twelve full tour participants will play in both classical events as well as in three of the five rapid and blitz tournaments. The classical events will be expanded to eleven-rounds while the rapid and blitz events will all use the GCT’s traditional ten player formats.
The full schedule for the 2019 regular season (including arrival and departure days) is as follows:
- Cote d’Ivoire Rapid & Blitz, May 6 - 13, 2019, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
- Croatia GCT (Classical), June 24 - July 8, 2019, Zagreb, Croatia
- Paris Rapid & Blitz, July 26 - August 2, 2019, Paris, France
- St Louis Rapid & Blitz, August 8 - 15, 2019, St. Louis, Missouri USA
- Sinquefield Cup (Classical), August 15 - 30, 2019, St. Louis, Missouri USA
- Superbet Rapid & Blitz, November 4 - 11, 2019, Bucharest, Romania
- Tata Steel India Rapid & Blitz, November 20 - 27, 2019, Kolkata, India
The top four players by cumulative score will qualify for the 2019 GCT Finals which will be held during the London Chess Classic in London, UK between November 30 and December 10, 2019.