Andrew Paulson, the Chief Executive and Founder of Agon, the company that has been awarded the commercial rights to the World Chess Championships, created a very different opening ceremony for the FIDE London Grand Prix, held last night.
The occasion took place in the beautiful neo-classical building Somerset House which is an arts and cultural centre, and home to London Fashion Week.
Instead of a longwinded ceremony, official protocol was kept to a minimum at what was described as an "opening party".
Andrew Paulsen welcomes FIDE President Kirsan Illyumzhinov
The players joined Andrew Paulsen, waiting for the drawing of lots
The players each chose a London Monopoly card to decide their place in the draw
Top seed Hikaru Nakamura of the USA makes his choice
The opening party in full swing with many special guests
Andrew Paulsen with actress Gillian Anderson and English Junior Joshua Altman
The players gave blitz demonstrations for the party guests (Michael Adams v Anish Giri)
Boris Gelfand (left) and Hikaru Nakamura
Leinier Dominguez Perez (left) versus Veselin Topalov
Wang Hao (left) and Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (right) faced Alexander Grischuk
Model and actress Lily Cole challenged Veselin Topalov!
The official poster for the London Grand Prix
The full line-up for the first Grand Prix in London is:
|Leinier Dominguez Perez
The tournament starts today. See our preview here. Who is your pick to win?
All photos by Ray Morris-Hill.