The 2017 GCT Field

GM Magnus Carlsen

World Champion (2013 – Current)

Carlsen is a Norwegian chess grandmaster, and the current World Chess Champion. Carlsen was a child chess prodigy who became a chess grandmaster in 2004, at the age of 13 years and 148 days, making him the third-youngest grandmaster in history. In November 2013,  Carlsen became World Champion by defeating Viswanathan Anand. On the May 2014 FIDE rating list, Carlsen reached his peak rating of 2882, which is the highest in history. After defeating Caruana in their 2018 World Championship Match, Carlsen ended the year by winning the World Blitz Championship, his 10th World Championship title in total. He’s been having a phenomenal showing in 2019, winning Tata Steel and Shamkir Chess with a round to spare ahead of his closest rivals

GM Hikaru Nakamura

2018 Grand Chess Tour winner

Nakamura is a five-time United States Chess Champion who also won the 2011 edition of the Tata Steel Group A. He has represented the United States at six Chess Olympiads, winning two team bronze medals and the first team gold in 40 years at the 2016 Olympiad. In May 2014, when FIDE began publishing its official rapid and blitz chess ratings, Nakamura was ranked number one in the world on both lists. In 2015, the American GM won the Gibraltar Chess Masters tournament, captured his fourth U.S. Championship, place first at the Millionaire Chess Open, and propelled his classical FIDE rating to a career high of 2814. 2016 also proved to be a fruitful year for Naka as he repeated first place finishes at the Gibraltar Chess Festival and the Zurich Chess Challenge. In 2017, Hikaru won his third consecutive Gibraltar Chess Festival. He is the 2018 Grand Chess Tour winner.

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

2017 Sinquefield Cup winner

Often referred to as MVL, he came to prominence in 2009 after winning the title of World Junior Chess Champion. He is currently the No. 1 ranked player in France as well as a three-time French champion (2007, 2011, shared in 2012). He is also a four-time winner of the Biel Grandmaster Tournament (2009, 2013, 2014, 2015) and a former World Junior Champion (2009). His biggest tournament victory to date has been the 2017 Sinquefield Cup, where he finished first ahead of Magnus Carlsen. He won Sharjah Grand Prix in the same year and the 2018 Shenzhen Masters. MVL has been part of the Grand Chess Tour since 2015 and finished second in the 2018 edition after losing in the finals to Hikaru Nakamura. 

GM Fabiano Caruana

2018 World Championship Challenger

The No. 2 ranked player in the world, Caruana became a grandmaster at the age of 14 years, 11 months, 20 days. He was the youngest grandmaster in the history of the United States until his record was beaten in 2009 by Ray Robson. After winning the 2014 Sinquefield Cup with a score of 8.5/10 and a performance of over 3000, he achieved a FIDE rating of 2844, becoming the third highest-rated player in history. Caruana has represented the United States in two Olympiads, winning team gold in 2016 and team bronze as well as individual bronze in 2018. He had a phenomenal showing in 2018 winning the Grenke Chess Classic, Norway Chess, and tying for first in the Sinquefield Cup with Carlsen and Aronian. Caruana won the 2018 Candidates tournament thus becoming the first American to challenge the World Champion in a unified match in 46 years. After drawing all classical games, Caruana lost the match in rapid tiebreaks.

GM Levon Aronian

2017 World Cup Winner

Aronian has been the leading Armenian chess player since the early 2000’s. He has also led the Armenian national team to three gold medals in Chess Olympiads (Turin 2006, Dresden 2008, Istanbul 2012) as well as to gold at the World Team Chess Championship in 2011. His peak rating of 2830 is the fourth highest in history and put him in the number two spot in the world behind Magnus Carlsen. He won the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010. He was also World Rapid Chess Champion in 2009 and World Blitz Chess Champion in 2010. Aronian was the winner of the Chess World Cup in 2005 and then again in 2017, the only player to have won it twice. He is the 2015 Sinquefield Cup winner and tied for first with Carlsen and Caruana in 2018. He is also the winner of the inaugural Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz. Aronian is one of the most well liked chess players in the world and is considered a hero and a celebrity in his home country. A 2006 CNN article referred to him as the David Beckham of chess.


GM Wesley So

2016 Grand Chess Tour Cʜᴀᴍᴘɪᴏɴ

So is a former chess prodigy who became the youngest player to pass the 2600 threshold in October 2008, breaking the record previously held by Magnus Carlsen. In February 2015 he entered the world top-10 after tying for second place at the 2015 Tata Steel Chess Tournament. The following year he returned and tied for second place, just a half-point behind Magnus. 2016 saw the American GM earn first place in the Grand Chess Tour by winning the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic. He represented the US in the 2016 Olympiad, winning team gold and individual gold on board three. In 2017, Wesley won the Tata Steel Masters tournament and became the eleventh player in history to surpass 2800 FIDE. He was crowned the 2017 US Champion after defeating Alexander Onischuk in the playoffs.

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi

2015 World Rapid Silver Medallist

At just 28 years old, Nepo is in the prime of his career entering the top 10 for the first time, reaching his peak rating to date of 2773 and thus becoming the highest rated Russian player. He earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 17 in 2007 and won the prestigious Aeroflot Open the next year, thus qualifying to 2008 Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting. In 2010 he won the European individual championship as well as the Russian Superfinal after defeating Sergey Karjakin in a play off. He has won two silver medals in World Rapid Championships and one in World Blitz Championship. He won the 2018 Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting and was part of the Russian team which won the 2019 World Team Championship.

GM Viswanathan Anand

World Champion (2007 – 2013)

The former World Chess Champion became India's first grandmaster in 1988. He held the FIDE World Chess Championship title from 2000 to 2002 and became the undisputed World Chess Champion in 2007. He defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010 and Boris Gelfand in 2012 before finally losing the title to Magnus Carlsen in their World Chess Championship match in 2013. He won the Candidates Tournament the following year thus earning the right the challenge Carlsen. He is also a two-time World Rapid Champion. In 2006, he became the fourth player in history to cross 2800. He has been ranked No. 1 in the world for 21 months. Anand is considered a hero in India and Anand was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India's highest sporting honour. In 2007, he became the first sportsman to receive the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award.

GM Garry Kasparov

World Champion (1985-2000)

Garry Kasparov is a Russian Grandmaster who is coming out of retirement for the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament. Kasparov became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at age 22 by defeating then-champion Anatoly Karpov. As world champion, he was known for his aggressive attacking style. In 1996 and 1997, Kasparov played the IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue, in a series of highly publicized matches. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked World No. 1 and is considered by many to be the greatest chess player in history.

GM Leinier Dominguez

2008 World Blitz Champion

Wildcard Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz

Leinier Dominguez is a 5 time Cuban Chess Champion who completed his transfer to the United States Chess Federation in December 2018. He is currently the 4th highest rated player in the US and placed joint-second behind Hikaru Nakamura in his first US Chess Championship in May 2019. Leinier is a former World Blitz Champion having won the title in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2008. In June 2013 he won the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece while in 2016 he earned an individual silver medal playing on board 1 for Cuba in the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku. His 2019 accomplishments include winning second in the 2019 U.S. Chess Championship and becoming the co-winner of the Netanya Masters in Israel. 

GM David Navara

7-time Czech Chess Champion

David Navara is currently the highest rated Czech Grandmaster and has been the national champion 7-times. Navara also won the European Blitz Championship in 2014 and then achieved his highest Elo rating in May 2015.

GM Le Quang Liem

2013 World Blitz Champion

Wildcard Superbet Rapid & Blitz

Quang Liem Le is a Vietnamese Grandmaster who has competed for his home nation in seven Chess Olympiads. He won the U14 World Youth Championship in 2005 and the 2013 World Blitz Championship.


He is currently the No 1 ranked player in Vietnam and is the reigning Asian continental champion, a title he won in Xing Tai, China in July 2019. He has recently returned to full time professional chess after graduating (Summa Cum Laude) from Webster University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management.

GM Peter Svidler

Seven-time Russian Champion

Svidler is a 7 time Russian Chess Champion (1994, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2008, 2011, 2013.)  He also has represented the Russian Olympiad team 10 times helping his team win the gold medal in his first five appearances.  By winning the 2011 Chess World Cup, he qualified for Candidates stage of the 2013 World Championship cycle.  In that event, Peter soundly defeated the eventual World Champion, Magnus Carlsen. Svidler is also world-renowned chess commentator.  

GM Vladimir Kramnik

Fᴏʀᴍᴇʀ Wᴏʀʟᴅ Cʜᴀᴍᴘɪᴏɴ

Paris GCT Wildcard

The Russian Grandmaster was the Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, and the undisputed World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007. He has won three team gold medals and three individual medals at Chess Olympiads.

GM Anish Giri

4 Time Dutch Chess Champion

The Russian-born Dutch Grandmaster achieved the grandmaster title at the age of 14 years and 7 months, which made him the youngest grandmaster in the world at the time. Giri is a four-time Dutch Chess Champion (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2015). He won the Corus Chess B Group in 2010, thus qualifying to Tata Steel in 2011, where he defeated Magnus Carlsen in 22 moves. Giri has also represented the Netherlands at five Chess Olympiads, winning three individual bronze medals (2010, 2014, 2018). He was one of the members of Anand’s team during the World Championship Match against Topalov, which Anand won. In 2018 he tied for first with Magnus Carlsen in Tata Steel and finished second behind the World Champion in 2019 in the same tournament.

GM Vassily Ivanchuk

Vassily Ivanchuk

World Rapid Champion (Current)

YNM GCT Wildcard

Ivanchuk is a Ukrainian Grandmaster who has been ranked No. 2 in the world on three different occasions. Throughout the years, Ivanchuk has won Linares, Wijk aan Zee, Tal Memorial, Gibraltar Masters and M-Tel Masters titles, 2007 World Blitz Chess Championship, Melody Amber rapid in 1992 and shared the combined event in 2010. Last year, Ivanchuk won the World Rapid Chess Championship in Doha, Qatar by defeating the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

GM Baadur Jobava


2016 Olympiad Gold Medalist

YNM GCT Wildcard

Jobava is a Grandmaster from Georgia and won the Georgia Chess Championship on three different occasions (2003, 2007, 2012).  Jobava has won several tournaments including the Dubai Open in 2003, gold medal at the 2004 36th Chess Olympiad, Jobava won the Railyaway Hotel Cup and the prestigious Aeroflot Open (2006), Lake Sevan tournament (2011), 32nd Edoardo Crespi Trophy (2011), European Rapid Chess Championship (2011), 19th HZ Chess Tournament (2015).  He has also taken part in the Chess Olympiads of 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2016.

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

2013 World Rapid Chess Champion

Mamedyarov is the No.1 player in Azerbaijan and was the third highest rated player in the world in September 2018. He is a two-time World Junior Champion (2003 and 2005) and a three-time European Team Champion (2009, 2013, 2017) with Azerbaijan. Mamedyarov was World Rapid Chess Champion in 2013, scoring 11.5/15. He represented his country at the 2012 Chess Olympiad and received a gold medal on the third board. GM Mamedyarov is also a two-time winner of the Tal Memorial (2010 and 2014) and Shamkir Chess (2016 and 2017) tournaments. In 2018, he won the Biel Chess Festival after defeating Magnus Carlsen and tied for second place in the Candidates Tournament. His peak rating of 2820 is the sixth highest in chess history.

GM Alexander Grischuk

Three time World Blitz Champion

Wildcard Paris Rapid & Blitz

GM Alexander Grischuk is widely recognised as one of the best blitz chess players in the world having been crowned World Blitz Champion in 2006, 2012 and 2015. He has also competed in four Candidates Tournaments and was a semi-finalist in the FIDE World Championship in 2000. Grischuk is a former Russian Champion and has won the Linares super tournament.In November 2014, Grishchuk crossed the elite 2800 ELO rating mark when he took clear first place with 5/7 points in the Tashir Chess Tournament in Memory of Tigran Petrosian. He is a veteran of 9 chess Olympiads and has won two team gold, three team silver and a team bronze medal while representing Russia. He narrowly missed out on selection as a full GCT tour participant in 2019 and will be a significant threat as a wildcard at the Paris Rapid & Blitz.

GM Veselin Topalov

2005 FIDE World Champion

Cote D’Ivoire Wildcard

A chess prodigy, Topalov earned the title of Grandmaster at the age of 17 in 1992 and ascended the world rankings in the next ten years, being invited to elite tournaments as early as 1996. The Bulgarian No. 1 became the FIDE World Chess Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2005. He lost his title in the 2006 World Chess Championship unification match against Vladimir Kramnik and was also narrowly defeated by Vishy Anand in their match for the World Chess Championship title in 2010. Topalov has competed at nine Chess Olympiads (1994-2000, 2008-2016), winning the gold medal on board one, with the second best overall tournament performance of 2872 in the 2014 Olympiad in Tromso. Topalov has won countless super tournaments including in Linares, Corus, Dortmund, Stavanger and Pearl Spring. His most recent super tournament win was the 2015 Norway Chess, ahead of Carlsen, Caruana and Anand.

GM Etienne Bacrot

Etienne Bacrot

7 Time French Champion

Paris GCT Wildcard

Bacrot was the French champion from 1999-2003, winning the title first at age 16 making him the youngest French champion ever. In 2005, Bacrot became the first French Grandmaster to enter the top 10 chess players in the world. Bacrot qualified for the Candidates tournament in 2005 after finishing third in the FIDE World Cup. In 2011, he won the 2011 Poikovsky Karpov tournament ahead of Sergey Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana, Dimitry Jakovenko.