The inaugural Grand Chess Tour was held in 2015 as a circuit of three classical events in which the format and conditions of each tournament were identical. In 2016, the tour was enhanced by adding rapid and blitz events and the tour has expanded every year since. To date, GCT tournaments have been held in Norway, France, Belgium, USA, UK, Cote d’Ivoire, India, Romania and Croatia.

The 2021 Grand Chess Tour will feature two classical and three rapid & blitz events, picking up after the cancellation of the 2020 season. Tour participants will compete for a total prize fund of $1.275 million, including $325,000 per classical tournament and $150,000 in prizes for rapid & blitz events. In addition, a bonus prize fund totaling $175,000 will be awarded to the top three overall GCT finishers.