Ian Nepomniachtchi won the first Grand Prix of the year on Wednesday by beating his compatriot, Alexander Grischuk, in the final in Moscow.
The match was decided by two rapid tie-breaker games after the regulation, or slow, games were both drawn.
The first rapid tie-breaker game, which had a time control of 25 minutes per player with 10 seconds added after each move, and in which Nepomniachtchi was Black, was drawn in 37 moves.
In the second game, Grischuk misplaced a knight on the side of the board, allowing Nepomaniachtchi to build up an overwhelming advantage. He eventually won a pawn as Grischuk ran short on time. After several errors by Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi was able to force an easily winning endgame.
The win netted Nepomniachtchi 24,000 euros as well as vaulting him into first place in the series of four Grand Prix tournaments to select two players for next year’s Candidates tournament. The winner of that tournament will become the challenger for the 2020 World Championship match to be held in November.
Grischuk earned 14,000 euros and is also in good shape in the Grand Prix as he is in second place in the series.
There are 21 players in the Grand Prix, with each playing three of the four tournaments.
The prize fund for each competition is 130,000 euros with an additional 280,000 euros allocated among the top 10 finishers in the series, for a total of 800,000 euros.
The principal sponsors of the series are PhosAgro, a giant Russian fertilizer company, and Kaspersky Lab, a worldwide leader in data security. The series is being organized and broadcast by World Chess on its Web site under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, which is better known as FIDE, the game’s governing body.
The tournaments are being broadcast live and free on worldchess.com.
The Grand Prix now shifts to Riga, Latvia, followed by Hamburg, Germany, before it will conclude in Tel Aviv, Israel.