Thanks to a last-minute intervention by the Ministry of Magic, the final FIDE Grand Prix tournament, much delayed and nearly forgotten, has hastily been arranged to take place near the famous prison of Azkaban from May 9-25. Not being present at the board the moment your clock is started will be punished by the player's soul being sucked out by a Dementor. Wait, what? Astrakhan? Is that near Azkaban? In Russia, you say? No Harry Potter? Well, all right, but I think this was a major missed opportunity.
So, Astrakhan it is, "situated in the Volga Delta, rich in sturgeon and exotic plants" and former home of the Golden Horde. It follows the GP events in the other yaktropolises of Nalchik and Jermuk, the last, way back in August. But the chess has been good to great in most of these events, and there is hot competition for the final qualifying spot in the candidates in this final event. Aronian is already in from the GP and isn't participating. Radjabov and Wang Yue are the frontrunners with Gashimov and Leko close behind. Jakovenko and Ivanchuk are longshots in for a chance if the others all falter. Game on!
Update: As Thomas points out below, since only the top two previous performances are likely to matter for the contenders, the relevant scores going into the final event are: Radjabov 303.3, Wang Yue 273.3, Gashimov 263.3, Ivanchuk 245.0, Jakovenko 243.3, Leko 240.0. He adds that Wang Yue will go through if he's clear first even if Radjabov is second. And that Ivanchuk will be the candidate if he wins clear first and Radjabov is lower than third. Doable. Go Chucky!
The players: Akopian, Alekseev, Eljanov, Gashimov, Gelfand, Inarkiev, Ivanchuk, Jakovenko, Leko, Mamedyarov, Ponomariov, Radjabov, Svidler, Wang Yue.