2020 World Candidates Tournament (Yekaterinburg, Russia)

FIDE

For the past couple of months, the world has been facing a global pandemic dubbed as the “coronavirus.” It has resulted in scores of tournaments being canceled and rendering travel difficult and even impractical. There was a discussion about the fate of the Candidates tournament after the eight players (including two from China) were on their way to Moscow.

Organizers cleared Ding Liren of China after undergoing two weeks of quarantine. That did not alleviate the concerns of the chess community, many called for a suspension of the event. FIDE announced that only the Russian Chess Federation could cancel the event.

After some uneasiness and requests to postpone the tournament, the 2020 World Chess Candidates will officially open this evening. The eight participants will start the process of determining the challenger for the World Championship match against World Champion Magnus Carlsen. It is undetermined whether the championship match will take place this year, given the global outbreak. Still, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich stated he was 99% sure that the United Arab Emirates would be the host.

Like top-seed Fabiano Caruana, China’s Ding Liren will be looking for a shot at Carlsen. Photo by Anastasia Kharlovich (FIDE)

Only three of the players were in the 2018 tournament won by Fabiano Caruana (USA). He will be the top seed, followed by Ding Liren as the most serious challenge. Caruana won the 2018 event and faced Carlsen in London, England. That match ended in a 6-6 tie in the classical segment with Carlsen winning 3-0 in the rapid tiebreaks.

This year’s field will look very different but not less competitive. There are three Russians in the field with Alexander Grishuk, Ian Neopmniachtchi, and the surprise wildcard of Kirill Alekseenko defending home turf. Alekseenko is the only participant without a 2700+ FIDE rating. There was a minor controversy after Russian organizers gave him the nod despite there being many elite players they could have chosen. However, they made clear that they would use the pick on a Russian player. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave made a plea for the wildcard, but it was rebuffed.

In an unexpected turn of events, Teimour Radjabov withdrew from the tournament only two weeks before its opening due to his concerns about the coronavirus. He qualified by winning the 2019 World Cup. In a bit of poetic justice, he was replaced by Vachier-Lagrave, the highest-rated non-qualifier.

Wang Hao, who was traveling from Japan, did not undergo quarantine and is not traveling a team. His seconds are in China, where they are subject to travel restrictions. Both Wang Hao and Ding Liren had to interrupt their training camps due to the situation in China and will be somewhat at a disadvantage. As far as health procedures, FIDE has announced that everyone involved in the tournament will be tested twice a day.

Again, we can look at a book written by participant Anish Giri titled, After Magnus: Who Can Dethrone the World Chess Champion? Four of those he featured in the book are in the tournament: Caruana, Ding, Vachier-Lagrave and, Alexander Grischuk. Giri did not profile himself as a contender, but most certainly will be ready to compete for glory.

With so many tournaments canceled, most of the chess world will be tuning in on various servers and following the coverage on major websites. Official FIDE commentary will be handled by GMs Evgeny Miroshnichenko, Daniel King, and the legendary Judit Polgar! FIDE will also have David Llada as the official photographer on site. The popular chess.com will have exclusive coverage with a star-studded commentary, including GMs Viswanathan Anand, Hikaru Nakamura, and Wesley So. Egypt’s Bassem Amin will also be one of the commentators. The St. Louis Club will feature live commentary with Grandmasters Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley and Alejandro Ramirez.

This tournament will serve as a respite against the dreadful pandemic sweeping across the globe. Many chess players have flocked to following and playing chess online, and some are even under travel restrictions. Since many professional sports leagues have been affected, many will go to the store, grab snacks, and log onto their favorite chess server on March 16th until the closing ceremony on April 3rd. What a wonderful way to pass the time!

Main Site: https://en.candidates-2020.com/
Regulations: https://www.fide.com/
Schedule: https://en.candidates-2020.com/about
Video Coverage (FIDE): YouTube, Twitch

2020 Candidates Chess Championship
March 15th- April 5th, 2020 (Yekaterinburg, Russia)
Participants
#
Name
Title
Federation
Flag
Rating
1 Caruana, Fabiano GM USA
2842
2 Ding Liren GM China
2805
3 Grischuk, Alexander GM Russia
2777
4 Nepomniachtchi, Ian GM Russia
2767
5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime GM France
2767
6 Giri, Anish GM Netherlands
2763
7 Wang Hao GM China
2762
8 Alekseenko, Kirill GM Russia
2698
Main Site

Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

14 Comments

  1. 2020 Candidates Chess Championship
    March 15th- April 5th, 2020 (Yekaterinburg, Russia)
    Date
    Russia
    Europe
    Eastern U.S.
    Event
    March 15
    Arrivals
    March 16
    Opening Ceremony
    March 17
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 1
    March 18
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 2
    March 19
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 3
    March 20
    FREE
    DAY
    March 21
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 4
    March 22
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 5
    March 23
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 6
    March 24
    FREE
    DAY
    March 25
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 7
    March 26
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 8
    March 27
    4:00pm
    12:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 9
    March 28
    FREE
    DAY
    March 29
    4:00pm
    1:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 10
    March 30
    4:00pm
    1:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 11
    March 31
    4:00pm
    1:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 12
    April 1
    FREE
    DAY
    April 2
    4:00pm
    1:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 13
    April 3
    4:00pm
    1:00pm
    7:00am
    Round 14
    April 4
    Tie-breaks & Closing Ceremony
    April 5
    Departures

  2. Round 1 – Tuesday, 17 March 2020, 4:00 pm

    The tournament begins… Nepomniachtchi spurns Karpov’s shake

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave ½–½ Fabiano Caruana
    Ding Liren 0-1 Wang Hao
    Anish Giri 0-1 Ian Nepomniachtchi
    Alexander Grischuk ½-½ Kirill Alekseenko

    The 2020 Candidates tournament has begun and there was already a subtext to the coronavirus. There was a photo circulating showing the audience of the opening ceremony and there was a question of whether the organizing committee was taking heed to halting the global pandemic by allowing more than 1000 people to attend in close quarters.

    FIDE stated,

    Please note that the players were not present. With just 93 cases registered in Russia, this kind of public gatherings (up to 5.000 people) were still allowed in Russia. But we understood that seen from other countries, this image may cause alarm, so we opted for taking it down.

    Ian Nepomniachtchi refused Anatoly Karpov’s ceremonial handshake and was seen wearing a mask the previous day. It’s obvious that Nepo is trying to minimize complications of a two-week marathon. Nepo proceeded to beat Anish Giri in a fascinating ending which had guest commentators enthralled, including Viswanthan Anand (chess.com). The Indian legend is currently self-quarantined in Frankfurt, Germany after playing in the Bundesliga.

    Anish Giri
    Photo by Lennart Ootes (FIDE)

    Many may remember Giri drawing all 14 games in the 2016 Candidates and becoming the butt of jokes. Of course, Giri is an elite player, but sometimes has trouble converting advantages. In his game against Nepomniachtchi, he went into the Four Knights English which quickly turned unbalanced. Giri sacrificed the exchange and Nepo immediately gave it back to avoid Giri’s initiative.

    After skirmish, black was a pawn up, but with an exposed king. At a critical moment, white decided to bail out and sacrifice the queen after 31.Bxe6!? There was a thought from commentators (including GM Nigel Short) that the ensuing position would lead to a fortress draw. Nepo had other ideas.

    An interesting discussion had begun about the queen versus rook and pawns and how black can use the king to break the coordination. Interestingly enough, the positioning of white’s h-pawn makes the difference. After 42…h4! black creates a winning idea. If there is a white pawn on h3 instead of h4, the position is a “tablebase draw.” However, with the black king able to capture the pawn on h4, it effectively destroyed the rook’s mobility. Nepo ended the game with the snappy 70…Qd3!

    The two Chinese players would face each other in a “forced pairing” and it would have a lot of viewers in the beleaguered nation. While the two are not friends, they are compatriots and it would be a game to watch. In an English, Wang Hao essayed an interesting setup obtaining a comfortable position. Ding Liren played 17.Ra3 and wasted critical time. An exchange sacrifice by Wang established a mass of passed pawns combined with the black rooks pending invasion on d4. Ding had seen enough.

    Beating Ding Liren was a big accomplishment for someone who was a long shot to qualify. On the other hand Ding had been unsettled by the events in China and the fact that he was unable to train properly with his team. Let’s hope he is able to settle down. Wang Hao gave a very poignant interview about his game, but more importantly his thoughts about the coronavirus and the environment.

    Video by FIDE

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is very happy to be playing in the Candidates despite the circumstances. He had missed the tournament a couple of times and wanted to show that he belonged. Playing Fabiano Caruana is no short order, especially on two weeks of preparation. The game had rich theoretical content and both were into their preparation well into the middlegame.

    Commentary teams were unsure on who was better but there was some discussion on the St. Louis broadcast of 30.Bd4 Qxe2 31.Nxe2 Rxe2 32.Rxf6! Of course this line isn’t forced because 31…h6 is equal. MVL opted for 30.Qd2. There was a brief skirmish, but nothing tangible. According to the engines, both played with 90% accuracy. A draw was a just result and a great start for the Frenchman.

    In the Russian derby, Alexander Grischuk got a powerful center but could not make use of his space. His extra pawn was negated by his precarious king’s position. The game ended in a repetition after move 40. Great start for Kirill Alekseenko, the wildcard nominee.

    Main Site: https://en.candidates-2020.com/
    Regulations: https://www.fide.com/
    Schedule: https://en.candidates-2020.com/about
    Video Coverage (FIDE): YouTube, Twitch

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  3. Round 2 – March 18, 2020

    Fabiano Caruana (½) Kirill Alekseenko (½) 1–0
    Ian Nepomniachtchi (1) Alexander Grischuk (½) ½–½
    Wang Hao (1) Anish Giri (0) ½–½
    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (½) Ding Liren (0) 1–0

    Ding Liren had once set a record for going 100 games without a loss (later broken by Magnus Carlsen), but has lost his second in a row. In fact, during the 2018 Candidates tournament, Ding recorded 13 draws and a single win! In this tournament he has already suffered two consecutive losses. This time Maxime Vachier-Lagrave delivered a crushing defeat. Many attribute Ding’s poor performance to the unsettling situation he endured leading up to the tournament. Things don’t get any easier as he faces Fabiano Caruana next.

    Fabiano Caruana overwhelmed Kirill Alekseenko in a match between the top and bottom seeds. The game was an attacking gem as Caruana explained that his superior piece mobility gave his piece the advantage over the three pawns. The American felt that his opponent mixed up his lines and fell into unfavorable complications. The game ended with a crushing attack.

    After the game, Fabi was interviewed by the St. Louis Chess Club broadcast and discussed the conditions there. He stated that there was almost panic because his temperature reached 98.7 degrees. They called politicians and officials and he took another reading which registered the same result. Although he was less candid that Wang Hao about the conditions in Russia, he stated some discomfort after his tortuous trip to Russia. He also came into the defense of Ding an the impact of the situation.

    In the Wang Hao-Giri game, the Chinese was on the verge on winning again before Giri was able to get counterplay and blockade the extra pawn. In Nepomniachtchi-Grischuk, the game was a Berlin and went down familiar lines and the game never really had a pull in either direction and ended rather placidly. The “forced pairings” are put in place to minimize the chances that compatriots would have a conflict of interest as the tournament wears on. All Russian games have been drawn thus far.

    Main Site: https://en.candidates-2020.com/
    Regulations: https://www.fide.com/
    Schedule: https://en.candidates-2020.com/about
    Video Coverage (FIDE): YouTube, Twitch

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  4. Round 3 – March 19, 2020

    Ding Liren bounces back toppling Caruana

    Ding Liren (0) Fabiano Caruana (1½) 1–0
    Anish Giri (½) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (1½) ½–½
    Alexander Grischuk (1) Wang Hao (1½) ½–½
    Kirill Alekseenko (½) Ian Nepomniachtchi (1½) ½–½

    Ding Liren has been a headliner in the Candidates tournament thus far, but in a very ignoble way. The usually unflappable Ding lost his first two games (Wang Hao and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave) and was in danger of being eliminated as a contender. Having -3 would be too great of a hole to climb out of. However, he started his comeback by beating the top-seed Fabiano Caruana despite falling into preparation.

    Fabiano Caruana uncorks 9…e5!? and after 10.Nxe5 then 10…Bc2!? Was this preparation?

    Caruana is known as one of the world’s top theoreticians and he showed why. Out of a Queen’s Gambit, Caruana had prepared an incredible novelty with 9.e5!? He later sacrificed another pawn and white’s king was taking an uncomfortable walk. Having gotten the position he wanted, Caruana started taking chances and made some overzealous moves swinging the position in Ding’s favor.

    It appeared that the American didn’t want to admit to overpressing and ended up showing a knight sacrifice. While he threw more wood on the fire, there was no “fire on board” happening. Black was completely lost for 20 moves before he resigned. This win would be a relief for Ding who earned good tiebreaks points in this match.

    While Ding had rebounded from two consecutive loss, his compatriot was on the ropes out of a Petroff. For some reason, Wang was unable to fully equalize. The Petroff was once trotted out as an antidote to 1.e4 and competed with the Berlin for top honors. Alexander Grischuk actually got a slight edge as Wang was struggling to keep the position under control. The ensuing rook ending was still dangerous of the Chinese player as he crept into time pressure. Wang was able to hold and keep a share of the lead with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ian Nepomniatchi.

    Although it appeared that Grishcuk would torture Wang,
    here is visual evidence of relief.
    Photo by Lennart Ootes

    Nepomniachtchi almost saw disaster when Kirill Alekseenko missed a golden opportunity after 25…g6? On the surface is simply looks like prophylactic move to shore up the kingside, but 26.Bxg6! would’ve resulted in a crushing attack after 26…fxg6 27.Qxe6+ Qe7 28.Qc6+! Kf7 29.h5! keeping the lines open on the black king. With this missed chance, Nepo tucked his king to safety with a late castle, got his forlorn bishop into play. After a brief skirmish, white ended up with a three-fold repetition.

    Anish Giri and MVL entered the predictable Grunfeld, but there was novelty with 15…Nd7. This didn’t turn out so well and gave Giri a slight pull with his superior bishop versus a clumsy black knight. It was not enough to get a tangible advantage and they repeated moves reaching move 30.

    Main Site: https://en.candidates-2020.com/
    Regulations: https://www.fide.com/
    Schedule: https://en.candidates-2020.com/about
    Video Coverage (FIDE): YouTube, Twitch

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  5. Round 4 – March 21, 2020

    Fabiano Caruana (1½) Ian Nepomniachtchi (2) ½–½
    Wang Hao (2) Kirill Alekseenko (1) ½–½
    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2) Alexander Grischuk (1½) ½–½
    Ding Liren (1) Anish Giri (1) ½–½

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  6. Round 5 – March 22, 2020

    Anish Giri (1½) Fabiano Caruana (2) ½–½
    Alexander Grischuk (2) Ding Liren (1½) ½–½
    Kirill Alekseenko (1½) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2½) ½–½
    Ian Nepomniachtchi (2½) Wang Hao (2½) 1–0

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  7. Round 6 – March 23, 2020

    Alexander Grischuk (2½) Fabiano Caruana (2½) ½–½
    Kirill Alekseenko (2) Anish Giri (2) 0–1
    Ian Nepomniachtchi (3½) Ding Liren (2) 1–0
    Wang Hao (2½) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (3) ½–½

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  8. Round 7 – March 25, 2020

    Fabiano Caruana (3) Wang Hao (3) ½–½
    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (3½) Ian Nepomniachtchi (4½) 1-0
    Ding Liren (2) Kirill Alekseenko (2) ½–½
    Anish Giri (3) Alexander Grischuk (3) ½–½

    Video by GM Daniel King

  9. FIDE

    Candidates 2020 postponed halfway through
    29 March 2020

    The players competing for the berth to challenge Magnus Carlsen will be playing the “COVID Gambit” during the second-half of the 2020 Candidates tournament. A decision was made by Russian organizers to hold the event since the government was still allowing mass gathering. Less than a month later, the organizers and FIDE agreed that the tournament would be cancelled due to Russia’s newly-imposed flight restrictions.

    Here was the announcement by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich:

    Today, the government of the Russian Federation announced that starting March 27, 2020, Russia interrupts air traffic with other countries without indicating any time frames.

    FIDE can not continue the tournament without guarantees for the players’ and officials’ safe and timely return home. In this situation and on the basis of clause 1.5. Rules of Candidates Tournament, the FIDE President decided to stop the tournament. It will be continued later, with the exact dates to be announced as soon, as the global situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic will allow. As it was stipulated by the special rules agreed with the players before the start of the event, the results of the 7 rounds played remain valid, and the tournament will be resumed in the same composition starting with the games of the 8th round. FIDE is grateful to the players, officials, volunteers and the entire team of organizers, including the Chess Federation of Russia and the main partner of the tournament – SIMA-Land.

    Sincerely,
    Arkady Dvorkovich,
    FIDE President

    Candidates’ tournaments have always been very intense given the high stakes. The growing threat of the coronavirus makes the logistical execution even more intense. While the organizers had procedures in place, there were constant reminders about the virus as the news cycle was dominated by its rapid spread.

    Events of major leagues had been canceled so that left everyone in the world with few options for sporting entertainment. The Candidates tournament stood alone. There was a binge on live broadcasts at FIDE, chess.com, chess24, and St. Louis Chess Club.

    There were also large audiences on Twitch, Internet Chess Club and lichess. Of course Facebook was buzzing. So there was success as far as reaching a critical mass, but as the virus rapidly spread, there was more ambivalence about the tournament continuing.

    For the players, they were rather insulated, but they could not escape the thought that they (and their families) may be in danger. Morale had also deteriorated among some of the players. Russia’s Alexander Grischuk had this reaction:

    Even during the Candidates, there was some inconsistency on the precautions and some players shook hands, while others nodded. Ian Nepomniachtchi and Grischuk gave and “elbow bump” before their game. Nepomniachtchi had initially refused to shake the hand of Anatoly Karpov during the ceremonial first move before his game against Anish Giri. Giri obliged Karpov and later derided the elbow bump as being a bit silly.

    Most understood Nepomniachtchi’s refusal of Karpov, but the moment was indeed awkward. What is most ironic is that Nepomniachtchi seem to come down with a bad cough during the tournament and didn’t look well. “I’m definitely not feeling OK today,” he said during the interview after his win over Ding. There were also others coughing in the area. Take a listen…

    Video by FIDE

    Even the thought that Nepomniachtchi could have been infected was also alarming since he was sharing the environment with many others. He was tested and, fortunately, tests were negative. In the final analysis, it was a very risky decision to hold the tournament with a dangerous virus blanketing the globe. FIDE Director-General GM Emil Sutovsky made a statement to clarify FIDE’s decisions:

    FIDE does its utmost both to minimize the risk and not to overwhelm grandmasters who are already under the pressure with all sorts of check-ups. FIDE really takes it all very seriously.

    These comments give little solace since the players’ interactions were inconsistent. Nepomniachtchi declined shaking hands with Anatoly Karpov, elbow bumped Alexander Grischuk and later shook hands with Ding Liren. The fact that two Chinese players had to constantly have thoughts of home on their minds had to be unsettling. This was mentioned by Wang Hao who had recommended postponed the tournament in the beginning. He told chess.com:

    I think it’s like a joke. From the start, it shouldn’t have been held. It shouldn’t be started just to be postponed. Not like this, this is just a big mess. They could have known it would cause a lot of different problems. Of course, they cannot control everything. There were a lot of reasons to postpone.

    During the whole tournament, I felt I was distracted. I was worrying about flights, seeing bad news about China… Now if we enter China, we will be quarantined for two weeks. I could just have arrived from Tokyo to Beijing and quarantine at home, now I don’t think that is possible.

    Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov had withdrawn from the tournament because he could not convince FIDE to postpone the event. He had full intention of participating despite rumors that he may not have the motivation. After the tournament was postponed, questions emerged on whether Radjabov should somehow be inserted or given an automatic spot in the next cycle.

    Many fans and high-level players agreed with Radjabov including Hikaru Nakamura who admonished those questioning Raja’s decision to withdraw. It was a very prudent decision since the virus was in its initial growth stage and doctors had not completely figured out how to contain it. As of today, the cases exceed 700,000 with China’s cases having largely been stabilized. Meanwhile, the U.S. cases have soared given the lack of initiative conveyed by the Trump administration.


    How would they treat the second half of the tournament
    if one of the players became ill and could not continue?


    Now there is a question when the second-half of the Candidates tournament will be played. With the Candidates tournament and Chess Olympiad being postponed, it will delay other events until 2021, most notably the World Chess Championship. The other question is how long this crisis will last. No one knows, but several of the players live in countries with the highest number of cases.

    Many argued that the players were safer in Russia (1500+ cases) than in their home countries. Others like Viswanathan Anand thought the tournament should have been completed. Of course, these are understandable thoughts, but without guaranteed charter flights, it would put players in a situation of being stuck in Russia weeks after the tournament. It does present a quandary. How would they treat the second half of the tournament if one of the players became ill and could not continue?

    Someone suggested that the classical tournament finish online. During the outbreak, many activities have moved online, so it is an interesting suggestion, but probably not desirable. Perhaps that may be considered in the future as over-the-board chess is slowly being affected by Internet gaming. Perhaps we also will see some changes in health standards at chess tournaments. The coronavirus notwithstanding, they were long overdue.

  10. FIDE

    After COVID year, FIDE Candidates resumes!
    17 April 2021

    On April 19th, the 2020 World Candidates tournament will resume after being postponed to due the COVID-19 pandemic that swept the globe. There is optimism and relief that over-the-board chess will resume this season after the world essentially hibernated to ride out the pandemic.

    Early last year, it appeared that the tournament would be in jeopardy after Teimour Radjabov pulled out and others were concerned about the looming threat of the virus. Ding Liren had to quarantine two weeks prior to the tournament’s beginning due to his leaving the virus epicenter. Wang Hao expressed his objection to continuing the event. Despite these concerns, FIDE and the Russian hosts decided to continue with the tournament with added precautions.

    Neither Grischuk, nor Wang Hao enjoyed the first half.
    Photo by Lennart Ootes

    As the tournament wore on, anxiety increased as reports of rapidly spreading infection. Grischuk weighed in on the experience by saying, “I have a clear opinion that the event should be stopped. The atmosphere is very hostile.” Midway through after the 7th round, officials decided to postpone the tournament due to the inevitable closing of borders.

    Wang Hao praised the decision.

    During the whole tournament, I felt I was distracted. I was worrying about flights, seeing bad news about China… Now if we enter China, we will be quarantined for two weeks. I could just have arrived from Tokyo to Beijing and quarantine at home, now I don’t think that is possible.

    The second half will be hotly-contested as only two points separate the field. After seven rounds of play, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France shares the lead with Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi with points. Fabiano Caruana (USA), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Wang Hao (China) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia) are all in joint second with points. Ding Liren and Kiriil Alekseenko round out the field with points.

    2020/2021 Candidates Chess Championship
    April 19th-April 28th, 2021 (Yekaterinburg, Russia)
    Participants
    #
    Name
    Title
    Federation
    Flag
    Rating
    1 Caruana, Fabiano GM USA
    2842
    2 Ding Liren GM China
    2805
    3 Grischuk, Alexander GM Russia
    2777
    4 Nepomniachtchi, Ian GM Russia
    2767
    5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime GM France
    2767
    6 Giri, Anish GM Netherlands
    2763
    7 Wang Hao GM China
    2762
    8 Alekseenko, Kirill GM Russia
    2698
    Main Site

    For the chess world, the pandemic has had a silver lining. Chess actually blossomed during the pandemic as players streamed to the online platform (pun intended). Streaming chess had been called the “second boom” as players around the world competed in all types of tournaments. Apart from the activity was the fact that communities were built and new friendships and alliances were formed.

    That being said, the sentiment is spreading that while online chess filled a void, players were longing for the social interaction that is the foundation of chess competition. Playing on a vertical screen with a digital chessboard and a mouse isn’t the same as the OTB experience. The online platform can be a stop-gap for any interruption of tournament play, but will never replace the very thing that attracted us to the game. Which of us learned chess playing blitz? OTB classical is here to stay and glad it is back!

    Main Site: https://en.candidates-2020.com/
    Regulations: https://www.fide.com/
    Schedule: https://en.candidates-2020.com/about
    Video Coverage (FIDE): YouTube, Twitch

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