The 2018 GCT Field

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 Leinier Dominguez

4-time Cuban Chess Champion

2018 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz Wildcard

Leinier Dominguez is a Cuban grandmaster and was Cuban Chess Champion (2002, 2003, 2006, 2012). His best tournament result was Barcelona 2006, where he scored 8/9 and finished with a performance rating of 2932. In November 2008, he won the World Blitz Championship, held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Then, in June 2013 he won the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece as a clear first in a field of twelve elite players.

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

2013 World Rapid Chess Champion

He is a two-time World Junior Champion and a three-time European Chess Champion (2009, 2013, 2017). Mamedyarov was World Rapid Chess Champion in 2013. 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.

GM Alexander Grischuk

Three time World Blitz Champion

Wildcard Paris Rapid & Blitz

GM Alexander Grischuk is widely recognised as one of the best blitz chessplayers 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. 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 at the Chess Olympiads. 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 Hikaru Nakamura

2016 Olympiad Gold Medalist

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. Most recently, he was the 2018 Grand Chess Tour winner.

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 two spare ahead of his closest rivals

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

2015 World Blitz Silver Medalist

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).

GM Wesley So

2016 GCT 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. He is a three-time Philippines Chess Champion, 2015 Bilbao Chess Masters Final champion, 2016 Sinquefield Cup, and 2016 overall Grand Chess Tour winner.

GM Sergey Karjakin

2016 World Champion Challenger

Sergey Karjakin was born in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine. He represented Ukraine until 2009, when he changed federations and now represents Russia. Karjakin was a childhood chess prodigy; he still holds the honor of being the youngest player to earn the grandmaster title at 12 years old. Sergey showed in all eight of the Chess Olympiads in which he competed, earning three gold, two silver and two bronze medals. In 2016, Karjakin won the Candidates Tournament and with it, the honor to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen for the title. After a hotly contested November match in New York, Karjakin had a tied score against the world champion, but lost the match on playoffs.

GM Levon Aronian

2009 World Rapid Champion

Aronian was the winner of the Chess World Cup in 2005. 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. 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 has been the leading Armenian chess player since the early 2000’s.

GM Viswanathan Anand

World Champion (2007 – 2013)

The former World Chess Champion and oldest player in the Grand Chess Tour field 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.

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. Giri is a four-time Dutch Chess Champion (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2015) and won the Corus Chess B Group in 2010. He has also represented the Netherlands at four Chess Olympiads, winning two individual bronze medals. In 2016, Giri participated in the Candidates tournament, drawing all of his games.

GM Fabiano Caruana

2018 World Chess Championships 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. In October 2014, he achieved a FIDE rating of 2844, becoming the third highest-rated player in history. In 2018, Caruana won the Candidates tournament giving him the chance to play for the World Chess Championship in November against Magnus Carlsen.