Re: GS, YEC, which is harder to win?
Players do care about the YEC. If not for the prize money alone, it does also carry some prestige. Top players give it their all at tier II tournies all the time, which are less prestige and certainly reward much less money than the YEC.
That being said, I think a GS is harder to win with a couple of caveats. First, more people will win GS’s since there are more of them. Second, I think it is much less likely that a random player wins because the format requires consistently beating top players, which you can somewhat avoid in a GS if you are lucky.
For example, you might have a random GS that is considerably easier to win than the YEC due to certain players getting injured/tanking early, lucky draws, strange conditions, etc.
Despite these caveats, top players build their schedules around preparing for GS’s and being in peak condition once they get to them. They are the most motivated and hungry, and therefore those tournaments are, on average, more difficult than the YEC.
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Champion: Cincinnati (2011), Luxembourg (2010), Bayamon (2010), Pozoblanco (2010), Strasbourg (2009)
Finals: Edgbaston (2013), Stanford (2011), Roland Garros (2011), Budapest (2011), Kuala Lumpur (2011), Rome Tiro A Volo (2010), Khanty-Mansiysk (2010), Dothan (2009), Boston (2009), Komoro (2009