The European Grand Prix is a series of tournaments held during the calendar year. Those participants who take the top places in these competitions collect so-called ‘bonus points’. At the beginning of the next year, the Grand Prix Final is organised by the EGF. The players who have won at least one Grand Prix tournament, plus several players who have a top score in the bonus points list, fight for the title of the winner of the Grand Prix. Besides, the two players who have the top score in the bonus points list are automatically qualified for the Grand Slam – the most prestigious competition in Europe with a main prize of €10,000.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak almost all the Grand Prix tournaments were cancelled. The Grand Prix Final had to take place online. The winner was Ilya Shikshin 4p.
As the situation with the coronavirus doesn’t seem to get much better at the beginning of 2021, the EGF introduced several changes to the Grand Prix:
- From now online and mixed competitions are officially allowed to be a Grand Prix tournament, with a condition of applying strict anti-cheating measures.
- New level of Grand Prix tournament appeared – Level D. Level D tournaments provide half as many bonus points as Level C, and the winner gets ‘half of the seat’ in the Grand Prix Final – he has to win one more Level D competition in order to qualify. At the same time, it’s twice cheaper for the organisers to apply for the Level D event. This is the way to stimulate the organisers of relatively small online tournaments to apply for the Grand Prix – bonus points attract strong European players to participate, which in turn motivates the weaker players to take part as well.
- Grand Prix tournament organisers have to provide prize money for each bonus point won by the participants. The amount of the prize money depends on the level of the event.
Even though the pandemic restrictions are not getting better, this year there are several tournaments in the Grand Prix Calendar already.
Report by Artem