The Women's Grand Prix series returns in 2024 with more tournaments and a significantly increased prize fund
The FIDE Women's Grand Prix is a series of tournaments exclusively for women players where the top two qualify for the Candidates Tournament. The 2024-25 series will introduce several notable format changes following consultations between FIDE and renowned women players. These changes are designed to provide more opportunities and more favorable conditions for women in chess.
Key changes for 2024:
1. Increased number of tournaments: The number of Grand Prix tournaments in the series will rise from four to six.
2. Higher prize fund: The overall prize fund for the Women's Grand Prix Series will increase from 80,000 Euros to 120,000 Euros. The winner of the Grand Prix series will now receive 30,000 Euros (up from 20,000 Euros), and the runner-up will be awarded 22,000 Euros (compared to the previous 16,000 Euros). Notably, the prize for first place in individual tournaments will rise from 15,000 to 18,000 Euros.
3. Increased number of participants: In the 2024-25 edition of the Grand Prix, 20 players will be participating, as opposed to the 16 in the previous season.
4. Updated qualification process: While the tournaments that serve as qualification events for the Grand Prix remain the same, the number of qualifying spots from each tournament has changed. Here's a look at the new qualification format and the players who have already secured their spots:
Despite the increase in the number of players as well as in the number of tournaments, each player will still play in three tournaments, as in the previous edition.
Updated tournament format: Instead of 12 there will be 10 players in each tournament. While the tournaments will still be played under a round-robin format, there will be nine instead of the previous 11 rounds.
Scoring adjustments: The overall scoring system remains unchanged, but due to the increase in tournaments and adjustments to player participation, the points awarded per tournament have decreased from 850 to 600 points. The two players with the highest cumulative points in the WGP Series will qualify for the FIDE Women Candidates Tournament in 2026.
Change in the draw rules: The number of moves required before a draw can be agreed upon has increased from 30 to 40, while the time control remains the same (90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the remainder of the game with a 30-second increment per move from move one).
Grandmaster Pavel Tregubov, Secretary of FIDE's Global Strategy Commission, says that the changes were made based on inputs from the players who are most likely to take part in the next WGP cycle.
"The greatest number of top events for women is organized by FIDE, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve the conditions. With regards to the WGP series, the players have noted that the previous tournament format was too long", says Tregubov.
In order to assess this properly, FIDE sent out an email to the players – either those who have already qualified for the next WGP series or those who are most likely to qualify, based on their rating – and asked them to list their preferred format type and share any other thoughts they have.
"We asked the four semi-finalists of the most recent Women's World Cup and the top-rated players. Altogether, 17 players were asked to take part in a poll, and 14 of them provided their replies. The round-robin with 12 players came on top together with the double round-robin for 16 players with a knockout for the final four, but other choices were close. In the interest of transparency, the results of the poll were shared with all the players, and everyone saw what everyone else voted for," said Tregubov.
Photo: Lennart Ootes
Humpy Konery, currently ranked fourth in the world and India's top-rated female player, has been a regular participant in the Women's Grand Prix. She has finished as the runner-up in five out of the six WGP Series events, which have been held since 2009. Humpy was one of the players in favor of the round-robin: "I voted to stick with the round-robin format as it gives the opportunity for the best player to win".
"The increase in the number of tournaments is good news for female chess players - while every player will still be playing three tournaments, they will have more choice of events. The prize fund has also increased, and it's also good that we will have more players in the circuit as new stars in women's chess are coming up, and they need more opportunities. For women's chess, this is very important as there are not that many tournaments for women, and FIDE is the driving force to improve this," Tregubov said.
The new regulations for the 2024-2025 Women's Grand Prix can be found - here.