The fourth stage of Grand Prix was opened in Thessaloniki
The opening ceremony of the 4th stage of FIDE Grand Prix Series 2012-2013 took place in the Amphitryon hall of Makedonia Palace Hotel in Thessaloniki (Greece) on the 21st of May.
The players and guests were greeted by the Tournament Director Theodoros Tsorbatsoglou, President of the Greek Chess Federation Georgios Makropoulos, General Secretary of Sports Kiriaki Gianakidou, Minister of Macedonia & Thrace Theodoros G. Karaoglou, Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas, and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
Chief Arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos then proceeded with drawing of lots. He called up the players to come to the table and pick of the rooks in the shape of White Tower, the famous landmark of Thessaloniki. Pictures
Veselin Topalov approached first and picked number 1. Next was Alexander Grischuk who chose number 12 and immediately the first match-up was known. Full pairings are available here. http://thessaloniki2013.fide.com/en/component/turnuva/?task=fileview&kid=1
Also attending the opening ceremony were MP of the Greek Parliament and former Minister of Health Andreas Loverdos, FIDE Vice-President Ali Nihat Yazici, Head of the Appeals Committee Zurab Azmaiparashvili, AGON Chief Andrew Paulson, FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg, consuls of USA and Bulgaria, and other distinguished guests.
The technical meeting for players, arbiters and organizers took place at 20:30. The players were briefed about the playing room and facilities and about the most important regulations - time control with increment only after move 60, no draw offers, zero tolerance rule, dress code.
Participants include three former World Champions Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan). GM Teimur Radjabov has withdrawn from the Thessaloniki Grand Prix for personal reasons and has been replaced by GM Etienne Bacrot from France.
There will be a systematic renewal of images, reports, as well as live commenting (English, Greek) and press-conferences with the players. Official commentators are GM Ioannis Papaioannou and GM Stelios Halkias.
Time control: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then each player will be allotted 15 minutes after the second time control and an increment of 30 seconds per move will be allowed from move 61 onwards.
The Grand Prix Series consists of six tournaments to be held over two years (2012-2013). 18 top players participate in 4 of these 6 tournaments. The winner and second placed player overall of the Grand Prix Series will qualify for the Candidates Tournament to be held in March 2014.
Regulations for the 2012 - 2013 FIDE World Chess Grand-Prix Series