The first International Women’s Grad-Prix made history. The champion is Pia Cramling of Sweden, one of 14 female grandmasters, and the third rated women player in the world.
Grand-Prix Finale Standings:
1. GM Pia Cramling (2533) of Sweden
2. WGM Lela Javakhishvili (2460) of Georgia
3. WGM Jovanka Houska (2401) of England
4-5. WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (2418) of Georgia
4-5. WGM Iweta Rajlich (2406) of Poland
6-7. WGM Irina Krush (2479) of USA
6-7. WGM Cristina Adela Foisor (2372) of Romania
8. Myriam Roy (1975) of Canada , FQE Selection, supporting talent
Top rated women players from over 30 countries participated in the Grand-Prix.
Grand-Prix Finale was followed on monroi.com by over 111,000 web-site visits from 120 countries.
Media coverage of the Grand-Prix: CTV News in Montreal, Radio Canada, TV WCN in Sweden, TV Vojvodina, chess news webpages such as Chessbase, Susan Polgar blog, USCF webpage by Jennifer Shahade, ICC homepage, TWIC, Robin Lindsay chess blog, among other chess news sites, as well as local magazines containing the chess columns.
It is estimated that about 5 million chess fans learned about MonRoi Women’s Chess Grand-Prix.
Grand-Prix Host Countries: Gibraltar, France, Croatia, Germany, Liechtenstein, Italy, USA and Canada.
Matches were live at www.monroi.com and are available for replay.
Tournament web-pages featured live games, results, photos, news and sponsor logos on each page.
On-line spectators were following live games, and stayed connected for hours to the webpage. They also browsed through photo and result sections.
In July 2007 alone MonRoi’s webpage had over 35 million hits and 30 million file downloads, some of which were used for publishing in chess magazines.
Grand-Prix qualifiers had on average 40,000 unique Internet visitors.
Qualifier prize funds ranged between $15,000 to $300,000, which accounts for over $1M invested in those tournaments.
In addition to advertising, in-kind contributions in chess tournaments are high. Some events had as many as 80 volunteers, such as the European Individual Chess Championship.
Qualifier sponsors were: telecommunication firms (like GibTelecom), banks, accounting companies (Deloitte), festivals (Game Festival in Cannes ), private donors (for example S.H. Alois Philipp Maria, Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein ), electronic component firms (ZMD), hotel venues, chess federations & clubs.
Overall, about 5,000 chess players from over 70 countries attended the qualifiers.
Grand-Prix Finale was sponsored by: MonRoi, chess organizations (ECU, FQE, Chess’N Math), festival (Just For Laughs), companies (Galazzo Jewelers, Spa Eastman, Loto Quebec).
Some of the finalists went to as many as 4 out of 7 qualifiers to improve their rating performance.
Spectators who followed Women's Grand-Prix Finale come from
Americas - USA, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Costa Rica, Aruba, Guatemala, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Western Europe - Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Luxemburg, Monaco.
Northern Europe - UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland , Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
Southern Europe - Italy, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, BiH, Macedonia, Andorra, Malta, Greece.
Eastern Europe - Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova.
Transcontinental Eurasia - Russian Federation (77 % of territory in Asia), Turkey (97 % in Asia), Georgia (97 % in Asia), Azerbaijan (92 % in Asia).
Asia - India, Singapore, Israel, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mynamar, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thaliand, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
Africa - South Africa, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, Seychelles, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Oceania - Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia, French Polynesia.
Over 50 % of on-line spectators come from North America.
Qualifiers were selected using the following tournament criteria
Priority was given to open tournaments
Tournaments with a successful track record
Min 100 players
Min 10 grandmasters
Min 5 titled women players
Top 20 players average rating 2,400 or higher
Chief organizer – executed min 3 tournaments
Accommodations- min 4 star hotel
Min prize fund - $15,000 USD
Available Internet connection
Min 7 rounds, FIDE rated
Benefits to Qualifying Tournaments
Continuous publicity, prestige, increased sponsorship levels.
Some attracted 50 % more participants than in the previous years.
Seven Qualifying Chess Tournaments
1. GibTelecom Chess Festival, Gibraltar, January 23 - February 1, 2007
2. Cannes Open Chess Tournament, France, February 18-25, 2007
3. Zagreb Open Chess Tournament, Croatia, March 17-25, 2007
4. European 2007 Individual Chess Championship, Dresden, Germany, April 2-15, 2007
5. Liechtenstein Open Chess Tournament, Liechtenstein, May 11-19, 2007
6. EU Individual Chess Tournament, Arvier, Italy, June 15-24, 2007
7. World Open Chess Tournament, Philadelphia USA , June 28 - July 4, 2007
MonRoi International Women’s Grand-Prix Finale
The MonRoi International Women’s Chess Grand-Prix Finale took place in the heart of Montreal, July 21-28 2007 at the Hilton Doubletree. Women’s Chess Grand-Prix Finale (Category 5) was followed by more unique Internet visitors than some Category 20 tournaments. Creative matches and quality event drew media attention.
7 participants were qualified by the top rating performances. One participant was selected by the Finale’s federation, who was in this case the Quebec Chess Federation. If the players participated at more than one tournament, only the best performance counted. Maximum 4 players could qualify from the same event.
8-player Round Robin system was played in accordance with the FIDE Laws of Chess. Time control was 40 moves in 90 minutes plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one. No draws in the first 30 moves were allowed. The finale prize fund was $15,000 USD in addition to the Galazzo diamond watch for the Champion.
Women Chess Players are True Chess Ambassadors
The women chess players handled media presence well, presented professional image and fair play at all times. They also appreciated the Grand-Prix which recognizes women in chess. The Finale was a real drama, it was not clear until the last hours of the last round who would be the champion.
MonRoi International Women’s Grand-Prix Program is very important and I am honored to be the Champion. living legend, GM Pia Cramling of Sweden.
Thank you for making my dreams come true. WGM Cristina Adela Foisor of Romania.
The Finale is extremely well organized because it is organized by women for women.
WGM Iweta Rajlich of Poland.
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to play some of the top world chess players. 12-year old Myriam Roy of Canada
Montreal featured the Just For Laughs Festival, July 8-29. The world's largest comedy event includes gala performances, theater and club shows. The festival celebrated its 25th anniversary this year and provided substantial media support to the Montreal ’s Chess Festival. On the 21st the finalists had a tourist guide showing them one of a kind world metropolis. The finalists received relaxation massages and hand beauty treatments at the Spa-Eastman on Saturday, July 21st. For the third year in a row, Spa Eastman is listed in 100 Best Spas in the World authored by Bernard Burt and Pamela Joy Price.
On Saturday, July 28th at 10pm Grand-Prix Finalists attended the closing ceremony of the Montreal International Fireworks Competition at La Ronde. Courtesy of Loto- Quebec . During the most prestigious event of its kind, pyrotechnicians display their daring talent. L'International des Feux Loto-Quebec was founded in 1985 at La Ronde, Quebec 's largest amusement park, which was created for Expo '67. Montreal 's nightlife offers something for everyone. Every night the city is an adventure waiting to happen.
The Finalists qualified as per rating performances
WGM Irina Krush, USA, RP- 2554, GibTelecom
GM Pia Cramling, Sweden, RP- 2522, GibTelecom
WGM Iweta Rajlich, Poland, RP – 2521, Euro 2007
WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Georgia, RP- 2519, World Open
WGM Jovanka Houska, England, RP- 2512, GibTelecom
WGM Lela Javakhishvili, Georgia, RP- 2490, Euro 2007
WGM Cristina Adela Foisor, Romania, RP- 2489, Liechtenstein
Myriam Roy, Canada, FQE Selection
GM Zhu Chen of Qatar qualified but was not available to play in July in Montreal.
Criteria for qualifiers: Boris Kutin & Horst Metzing, ECU.
Chess rules and regulations: Werner Stubenvoll and Dirk De Ridder, ECU.
Rating performance calculations: Sava Kizova, ECU Grand-Prix Director.
Equipment shipment: Guido Feldmann, Berlin (100 MonRoi PCMs).
Live game and website services: Zeljka Malobabic & technical support of MonRoi.
Tournament organizers: Internet connection, printer, accommodations.
Grand-Prix finale venue: Daniel Rousseau & Richard Berube, FQE.
PR and project management: Brana Giancristofaro, MonRoi.
“I fully support Brana and MonRoi on the initiative of the Women's Grand Prix. I have worked hard for years to try to bring more recognition for women chess players worldwide and I am very happy to see strong backing by a prestigious company like MonRoi. The Women’s Grand Prix is truly a historic event!” Susan Polgar, December 24 2006
“The Association of Chess Professionals is extremely glad to welcome the MonRoi International Women's Grand Prix on the chess scene! Women's chess has been lacking tournaments for many years now. MonRoi brings all elements necessary for its revival. There's no question that the ACP will do anything possible to support this event.” December 15th 2006, The ACP Board
“The agreement between ECU and MonRoi is an important step for marketing of chess. ECU has supported woman chess for many years (first time woman competed on four boards at the ECU Club Cup). We are working on multiple initiatives which further chess development, its image and status.” Boris Kutin, President ECU, December 20 2006
“I am very pleased to know that, due to the initiative of MonRoi, an international Grand Prix is happening. This will aid the development of chess considerable. Recording games on a scoresheet and then transferring the information by hand to a computer is nothing more than Neandertec. ” Stewart Reuben, December 2006
THERE ARE ONLY 14 female GRANDMASTERS IN THE WORLD
Reference: Susan Polgar Chess Blog, July 2007
Earned GM titles in tournaments
Susan Polgar, USA
Judit Polgar, Hungary
Pia Cramling, Sweden
Chen Zhu, Qatar
Anoaneta Stefanova, Bulgaria
Humpy Koneru, India
Tran Thanh Hoang, Hungary
Kateryna Lahno, Ukraine
Awarded GM titles by FIDE, World Chess Federation
Nona Gaprindashvili (WWC), Georgia
Maia Chiburdanidze (WWC), Georgia
Jun Xie (WWC), China
Yuhua Xu (WWC), China
Alexandra Kosteniuk (EWC), Russia
Zhaoqin Peng (EWC), Netherlands
Grandmaster title is a top achievement in chess. There are over 1000 male grandmasters.
International Grand-Prix initiatives which are to be launched after the first MonRoi International Women’s Grand-Prix
Silvio Danailov (director of M-Tel Masters), Martin Batkov (M-Tel CEO), Juan Fernandez (the Mayor of Linares), Linares Pedro Almansa (director of Linares tournament), Jeroen van den Berg (director of the tournament in Wijk aan Zee), and Hiquingari Carranza (the director of the tournament in Morelia ) established the Grand-Slam. The Chess Grand Slam first edition (2008) features five closed Category 19 and over tournaments: Corus Wijk aan Zee (The Nederlands, January 11-27th), Linares (Spain, February 15th – March 9th), M-Tel Masters Sofia (Bulgaria, May 6-18th), Mexico City (June 21st – July 6th) and the Final Masters in Bilbao (Spain, September 15-27th). The Bilbao Final Masters will host the winners of the other four Grand Slam tournaments. The total prize fund of the Final Masters in Bilbao is projected at 400.000 euros.
The ASEAN Chess Confederation and its deputy president Ignatius Leong (Singapore Chess Federation) is organizing a new $25,000 Grand Prix of open tournaments starting with the Philippines international tournament in November of 2007. Players must participate and complete at least 3 or 50% minus one of the total number of tournaments. For each qualifying tournament, Grand Prix points are awarded only to ASEAN players. There will be two qualifiers in Philippines (in November and in February), Singapore (in December), Indonesia (in January). More tournaments to be confirmed.
Global Chess BV
Global Chess BV is financed (4.5 million - 10 million Euros in seed capital) and privately owned company by Kirsan Ilymzhinov of Russian Federation . Chairman is Bessel Kok and CEO Geoffrey Borg of Malta. As per Bessel Kok, who lives in Eastern Europe , Global Chess BV will be focused primarily on marketing of the World Championships and will receive such a mandate from FIDE, World Chess Federation headed by Ilymzhinov. Bessel Kok announced plans to introduce the Grand-Prix series into the world championship program.
International Chess Management Inc.
International Chess Management Inc. is currently preparing for the launch of a new international chess league which they claim will reinforce the viability of chess as an attractive international sport. The company is managed by Grandmaster Maxim Dlugy, former USCF President, who manages Diversified Property Fund, an investment fund with holdings throughout the world. Robert Hamilton of Canada , former WCN CEO is assisting with the chess league launch. WCN was recently acquired by ICC (Internet Chess Club), an on-line chess company.
ACP Tour for Women
The 1st ACP Women Series is starting together with the 4th ACP Tour on July 1st 2007. Female members of the ACP will be able to gather points at tournaments chosen by the ACP Board. At the end of the season, the best players will take part in a Final Event organized by the ACP.