Magnus Carlsen, Vlad Kramnik, Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So are all absent and the organisers may struggle to sell pay-per-view packages. Sharjah has its closing rounds this weekend (11am start). The €130,000 chess tournament in the United Arab Emirates is the first of four legs of the Fide Grand Prix, which also visits Moscow, Geneva and Palma de Mallorca later this year, and will qualify its overall top two for the 2018 candidates and a possible shot at Magnus Carlsen’s world title. Three rounds from the end France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave shared the lead on 4/6 with the Azeri Shak Mamedyarov, half a point in front of the England No1, Michael Adams, and others. Sharjah has had its share of problems for its organiser Agon, the commercial partner of the world chess body, Fide. Most of the biggest names in chess turned down …

Source: GameKnot online chess news