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Mariya Muzychuk and Yifan Hou take the lead after the first round
europe echecs (1)
A panoramic of Salon Touzet, a private hall of Casino Montecarlo (Photo: Europe Echecs)

The first round of the Grand Prix tournament in Monaco got under way on the 3rd of October 2015, after the Director of Casinos of Montecarlo, Mr. John Galvani, made the honorary move 1.e4 in the game between current World Champion Mariya Muzychuk and former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova.

John Galvani makes the first move with the advice of FIDE President Kirsan Ilumzhinov

The first round was quite peaceful at the beginning, with three fast draws. The quickest one was Zhukova-Dzagnidze in a positional theoretical short battle. Another draw came a few minutes later between the young Iranian Khademalsharieh Sarasadat, who played solidly against elder Muzychuk’s sister. After two hours local player Almira Skripchenko forced a draw with former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, after a short but sharp fight. The last three remaining games provided more emotions. World’s number one Yifan Hou won with black against Pia Cramling, who played a bit passive with the White pieces, got under pressure and eventually made a big blunder.
Opening ceremony of Women's Grand Prix in Monaco
The opening ceremony of the first leg of the Women's Grand Prix 2015-2016 took place at the Casino of Montecarlo, in one of the most luxurious private rooms of this centenary institution, next to the playing hall. The event was attended by such honorable guests as Mr. Jacques Boisson, Secretary of State of Prince Albert II of Monaco, the president of FIDE Kirsan Ilumzhinov, the president of Monaco chess federation, Jean Michel Rapaire, and Mr. Andrey Filatov, President of Russian chess federation, amongst other important personalities of Monaco and the chess world.


His Excellency Jacques Boisson welcomed the participants and spoke about the beauty of Monaco and the chess tradition of Montecarlo. He wished good luck to the players and promised further support to chess.


Jean Michel Rapaire went into detail of the rich chess tradition in Montecarlo, and thanked FIDE for bringing this fantastic tournament to Monaco: “The dream came true”, he said. He also expressed his gratitude to Mrs. Van Osteroom, present at the ceremony, for her continued support to chess in Monaco and for donating the beauty prize to the best game. 


Afterwards, FIDE President Kirsan Ilumzhinov welcomed the participants and thanked local authorities, particularly to His Royal Highness Prince Albert II for his support to the event. Ilumzhinov remarked as well that this event will be the strongest female tournament in chess history, and finally declared the event oficially started with the FIDE lema: "Gens una sumus". 

After listening the anthems of Monaco and FIDE, it came the drawing of lots to set up the pairings, where each girl had to open a box, within which a medal with the number was to be found.

GM Yifan Hou drawing her number with Chief Arbiter Anastasia Sorokina

A cocktail followed for all attendees, with a nice and friendly atmosphere. 
Later, the technical meeting took place in the playing hall. The main referee Anastasia Sorokina explained the most important tournament rules, for example, it will not be allowed to offer a draw before move 30. She also mentioned important developments in anti-cheating rules, like the one recently adopted at the World Cup in Baku, by which the players are not allowed to come to the game wearing their own watch or using their own pen, in order to prevent any help from outside.

After a long day, everything is ready to enjoy the games of the strongest tournament ever in female chess history.

Opening Ceremony
Technical Meeting

The Monaco Chess Tradition
The Monaco Chess Tradition

Monaco will host the first leg of the Women’s Grand Prix Series 2015 - 2016

From 2nd to 16th of October 2015, the city of Monte Carlo will host the first tournament of the new Women’s Grand Prix 2015-2016. 

The event will be held at the famous Casino of Monte Carlo. Prize fund is 60.000 euros, with 10.000 for the winner. A further 15,000 euros goes towards an accumulated fund for the overall best placed women.

The line-up is very impressive, and includes the current Women World Champion Mariya Muzychuk  (Ukraine) and  former World Champions Hou Yifan (China), Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) and Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia).

Not to mention, of course, other top players such as Humpy Koneru (India), Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine) and Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia). With an average rating of 2517, it will be probably one of the strongest tournament in the history of women’s chess.

FIDE Womens Grand Prix Monaco 2015
official flyer
Download Official Programme of Monaco Grand Prix 2015 which will take at Casino of Monte-Carlo.
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