The tournament features six chess grandmasters in its Group A category which will be a double-round robin event. These players have an average rating of 2631, making it a Category 16 tournament. This is the highest-rated international round robin tournament held in the United States.
This is the first time that SPICE Cup included a second group consisting of 10 players playing a single round robin contest.
The tournament commenced on Saturday, September 19th at 1:00 p.m. in the Matador Room of the Student Union Building on the Texas Tech University campus.
Here is the list of invited participants in both groups.
SPICE Cup A Group – Category 16 (6-player double round robin) - Average rating: 2631 – Average age: 20
- Grandmaster Dmitry Andreikin, Russia, 2659, 18 years old (Top-rated Russian Junior and reigning Russian Junior Champion)
- Grandmaster Wesley So, Philippines, 2644, 15 years old (Top-rated Filipino and member of the 2008 Filipino Olympiad team)
- Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian, United States, 26 years old, 2636 (2008 SPICE Cup Co-Champion and 2-time Olympiad Bronze Medalist)
- Grandmaster Yuriy Kuzubov, Ukraine, 2636, 19 years old (2nd ranked Ukrainian Junior and 8th in the world)
- Grandmaster Rauf Mamedov, Azerbaijan, 2626, 21 years old (5th ranked Azerbaijani and member of the 2008 Azerbaijani Olympiad team)
- Grandmaster Jon Ludvig Hammer, Norway, 2585, 19 years old (2nd ranked Norwegian and member of the 2008 Norwegian Olympiad team)
SPICE Cup B Group – Category 11 (10-player single round robin) - Average rating: 2503
- International Master Gabor Papp, Hungary, 2562, 22 years old (Texas Tech student and member of the TTU Knight Raiders)
- International Master Davorin Kuljasevic, Croatia, 2547, 22 years old, (Texas Tech student and member of the TTU Knight Raiders)
- Grandmaster Eugene Perelshteyn, United States, 2542, 29 years old (2007 SPICE Cup Champion and former winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship)
- International Master Ray Robson, United States, 2527, 14 years old (Reigning U.S. Junior Champion and winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship)
- Grandmaster Andre Diamant, Brazil, 2526, 19 years old (Top rated Brazilian Junior and Reigning Brazilian National Champion)
- International Master Ben Finegold, United States, 2515, 40 years old (2-time U.S. Open Champion, 2-time National Open Champion and former winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship)
- International Master Gergely Antal, Hungary, 2486, 24 years old (Texas Tech student and member of the TTU Knight Raiders, 2009 National Collegiate Champion)
- Grandmaster Vinay Bhat, United States, 2474, 25 years old (2007 USCL MVP and former winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship)
- International Master Dean Ippolito, United States, 2459, 30 years old, (Former winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship and 11-time All-American)
- FIDE Master Danny Rensch, United States, 2388, 23 years old (Former National Elementary, Junior High, and High School Champion and 6-time All-American)
All ratings listed are from the September 2009 FIDE rating list.