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FIDE Grand Prix London 2012 (Launch Party)

World Chess Grand Prix London launched in grand style

Supermodel Lily Cole playing a blitz game against Grandmaster Veselin Topalov. Photo ©

Supermodel Lily Cole playing a blitz game against Grandmaster Veselin Topalov. Photo © | http://london2012.fide.com

The 1st FIDE Grand Prix organised by AGON launched with a party on 20th September. Hosted by Andrew Paulson of AGON, attended by FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Guests included Gillian Anderson, the chess-loving supermodel Lily Cole, and the singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov presided at last night's opening ceremony for the World Chess Grand Prix London at Somerset House.

Nakamura vs Gelfand

Nakamura and Gelfand also played an exhibition blitz game at the opening party, a Taimanov Sicilian, which ended in a draw. Photo © http://london2012.fide.com.

The evening was hosted by Andrew Paulson of Agon, the new rights holder to the World Chess Championship Cycle, who thanked Vladimir Palikhata, the president of the Moscow Chess Federation, for supporting the reception.

He added his appreciation to FIDE for according him the commercial rights to the World Chess Championship Cycle.

Mr Paulson, the Director and founder of AGON , said: "I am enormously grateful to FIDE for placing their confidence in me. We are at an inflection point for chess and I have every hope that we are entering a new golden era for the sport."

Last night's reception, which celebrated the start of today's Grand Prix at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, was attended by more than 300 distinguished guests including Ambassadors, stars from the stage and screen, well-known models and patrons of the arts.

Invitees also enjoyed a number of performance ‘blitz' games, where the Grandmasters competing at the Grand Prix London tournament challenged guests such as the Hollywood actress Gillian Anderson, the chess-loving supermodel Lily Cole, and the singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The Grand Prix London is the first fixture in the new World Chess Championship Cycle.

The Grand Prix matches will be played over 11 rounds between 21 September and 3 October, with two rest days on 26 and 30 September. All games will be streamed live at http://london2012.fide.com

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