The Candidates 2020

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  • The Candidates 2020

    The Candidates 2020

    December 24, 2019

    From ChessTalk:

    The Candidates tournament, in which eight top grandmasters will contest for the right to challenge the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway), will take place in Yekaterinburg from March 15 till April 5. Four participants are already known: Fabiano Caruana (USA), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan), Ding Liren and Wang Hao (both China). Two other participants will be determined following the results of the Grand Prix Series; one slot will be granted to the player with the best average rating in 2019. The eighth participant will be nominated by the organizers.

    Updating the list of candidates:
    No Name Rating Rank Qualified as
    1 Fabiano Caruana 2822 2 2018 World Championship runner-up
    2 Ding Liren 2801 3 2019 World Cup runner-up
    3 Alexander Grischuk 2777 5 2019 Grand Prix series winner
    4 Anish Giri 2769 8 Highest average rating for 2019
    5 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2767 9 2019 Grand Prix series runner-up
    6 Teimour Radjabov 2765 10 2019 World Cup winner
    7 Wang Hao 2756 16 2019 Grand Swiss winner
    8 Kirill Alekseenko 2704 37 Organizer Wild Card


    Ian Nepomniachtchi's victory yesterday over Wei Yi meant that he clinched qualification for the Candidates Tournament by finishing in overall second in the series, behind fellow Russian Alexander Grischuk. There was no controversy there, but the fate of the one remaining wild card spot in the tournament wasn't immediately clear.

    Today that led to an open letter from Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's manager:

    Open Letter to the Russian Chess Federation

    Qualification for the Candidates Tournament to be held in Yekaterinburg, March 2020, concluded yesterday in Jerusalem. Congratulations to Ian Nepomniatchi for winning the tournament, and for taking the 7th qualifying spot. The 8th and last place will be awarded by the organizers to a player eligible according to FIDE rules ("wild card"); a questionable privilege that we hope will disappear for the next world championship cycle.

    On November 11th, in a press conference announcing the Russian international chess events of 2020, the President of the Russian Chess Federation (RCF), Andrei Filatov, had stated that he was pleased with the organization of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg, because it "guaranteed the presence of a Russian player".

    The situation has changed since then, as Sacha Grischuk and Ian Nepomniatchi both qualified via the FIDE Grand Prix. The RCF could therefore choose to give the wild card to the only eligible Russian player, Kirill Alekseenko, for his third place at the Grand Swiss that took place on the Isle of Man. But on a purely sporting level, it could legitimately pick Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (MVL), three times eligible and first non-qualified player by 2019 average rating, 2019 World Cup, and 2019 FIDE Grand Prix!

    Whether it opts for a third Russian player or for the most obvious sporting choice, the RCF remains sovereign in its decisions. However, we suggest it takes into consideration the possibility of organizing a MVL-Alekseenko match in order to earn the wild card spot. It would have the merit of preserving sporting equity and would, I believe, meet the wishes of a vast majority of chess enthusiasts throughout the world.

    Laurent Vérat,

    MVL Manager

    The letter was published this morning, but even before it circulated the Russian Chess Federation seem to have extinguished any remaining French hopes. RCF President Andrey Filatov is quoted as follows:

    I would also like to mention a young grandmaster from Saint Petersburg Kirill Alekseenko, who took the first non-qualifying place in the FIDE Grand Swiss. According to the FIDE Regulations, he (the only one from the Russian players) can be nominated by the organizer of the Candidates Tournament. I'd like to thank the head of the Sima-Land company, President of the Sverdlovsk Region Chess Federation Andrey Simanovsky. His company has become the main sponsor of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg and thanks to it another Russian player got an opportunity to get a wild card.


    From the English Chess Forum:

    Filatov confirms Alekseenko gets the wild card place despite the growing pressure for an MVL-Alekseenko play-off match for it.

    Sutovsky's take on it for FIDE via FB:

    "I feel there is a gross misunderstanding about the wild-card to Candidates. FIDE is not selecting a player to be awarded with the wild-card. Organizers are. And while there are several brand names that could be selected, it is just natural that the Russian organizers want to have a Russian player. And yes, I agree that the practice of providing a wild-card into the Candidates shall be abandoned altogether, and I will do my utmost to get rid of it - as was already done with Women's Candidates earlier this year."

  • #2
    I feel the idea of the organizer choosing a player is flawed and overtly biast


    • #3
      The Candidates 2020

      February 2, 2020

      FIDE Candidates 2020

      The FIDE Candidates 2020 will take place in Yekaterinburg, Russia from March 15 until April 5. Eight top grandmasters will contest in a double round-robin tournament for the right to challenge the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway).


      Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2842) – qualified as the Challenger of the World Championship match 2018

      Teimour Radjabov (AZE, 2765) – qualified as the winner of the FIDE World Cup 2019

      Ding Liren (CHN, 2805) – qualified as the finalist of the FIDE World Cup 2019

      Wang Hao (CHN, 2758) – qualified as the winner of the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2019

      Alexander Grischuk (RUS, 2777) – qualified as the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix 2019

      Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS, 2774) – qualified as one of two top finishers in the FIDE Grand Prix 2019

      Anish Giri (NED, 2763) – qualified by rating as the player with the highest average rating for 12 rating periods from February 2019 to January 2020

      Kirill Alekseenko (RUS, 2704) – was given a wild card by the organizers


      Day 1 – Arrivals
      Day 2 – Opening Ceremony & Technical Meeting
      Day 3 – Round 1
      Day 4 – Round 2
      Day 5 – Round 3
      Day 6 – Free day
      Day 7 – Round 4
      Day 8 – Round 5
      Day 9 – Round 6
      Day 10 – Free day
      Day 11 – Round 7
      Day 12 – Round 8
      Day 13 – Round 9
      Day 14 – Free day
      Day 15 – Round 10
      Day 16 – Round 11
      Day 17 – Round 12
      Day 18 – Free day
      Day 19 – Round 13
      Day 20 – Round 14
      Day 21 – Tie-breaks & Closing Ceremony
      Day 22 – Departures

      Players from the same federation play each other in earlier rounds: Ding Liren and Wang Hao will play each other in rounds 1 and 8; Alexander Grischuk, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Kirill Alekseeko – in rounds 1, 2, 3 and 8, 9, 10.

      The Regulations for the Candidates Tournament 2020 can be found at:


      • #4
        The Candidates 2020

        February 8, 2020

        There are questions about the participation of Ding Liren and Wang Hao in the tournament due to the new virus in China. Geoff Chandler in the English Chess Forum suggested today:

        They might have to play the games on line (Fischer playing in Cuba in 1965 style).

        What a splendid idea! It would be unfair to field substitutes for the two Chinese should it come to that. Everyone plays on line these days anyway. So why not?

        There may be some who forget Fischer’s ‘Cuban’ tournament in 1965, so I have attached coverage of the first round of that event:

        Teletype Chess Begun By Fischer

        Harold C. Schonberg

        In The New York Times, Thursday, August 26, 1965

        Bobby Fischer’s participation in the Cuban Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament finally came to pass last night. Playing the black pieces in a closed room of the Marshall Chess club, he answered Heinz Lehmann’s first move cable from Havana shortly after 8 o’clock. Fischer won in 35 moves.

        The main room of the club at 23 West 19th Street was filled with chess lovers, noisy ones, many of them listening to a move-by-move analysis delivered by Dr. Milton Hanauer, a well-known player. But very little noise penetrated the playing room.

        Mr. Fischer leaned back in his chair his jacket on, his eyes closed to mere slits, studying the board.

        He set up a Sicilian Defense to Mr. Lehmann’s first move, Pawn to King 4. He will be sitting in that chair or another at the Manhattan Chess Club, 353 West 57th Street for almost a month, until the 21 games are finished.

        It took about 10 seconds for the moves to be transmitted from the Havana Libre Hotel to the Marshall Chess Club. The Teletype clattered the move and was notated by William Lombard, the American grand master. Then he transcribed it onto a strip of paper and gave it to a runner, who carried it to the game room. Mr. Reinhardt made the move on the board and punched the absent White player’s clock, setting Fischer’s in motion.

        In most tournament play, each player has two and a half hours to make 40 moves. On each move he punches a clock with two dials. At each punch his clock is stopped and the opponent’s is started.

        If a player takes more than the stipulated time, a flag on his clock falls, and his game is forfeit. Many games of course, end before that happens. And if both players complete the 40 moves before the flag falls, the game is adjourned.

        There have been previous cable and telephone matches but this as the first time that 21 players participated in a tournament with the 22nd more than 1,000 miles away.

        The State Department refused permission for Mr. Fischer to go to Havana, and the present compromise was worked out with the Cuban Government. Nobody was prepared to say how much it was paying for the open lines.

        Before the game, the Marshall Chess Club was overrun with reporters, cameramen and television crews. Mr. Fischer was asked whether he had been disturbed by the State Department ruling. “No,” he said.

        Did he consider this a propaganda victory for Mr. Castro? “I really hadn’t considered it. If I win the tournament, It’s a propaganda victory for us. Anyway, I have my own reputation to worry about.”

        The game started five yours late because of difficulties wetting up Teletype communications. There also was a bit of controversy about the referee.

        Arthur Bisguier, the American grand master, had been named, and his selection was agreeable to the Cubans. But Mr. Fischer felt that two American grand masters should not be together in a closed room on the ground that somebody might accuse him of accepting advice.

        In lieu of Mr. Bisguier, Joe Reinhardt, business manager of the United States Chess Federation was pressed into service in an ex officio capacity. Mr. Reinhardt admits to being a Class A player, which is far below master or grand master level.

        The results of all the other games played at the Havana Libre Hotel in the 22-player, 21-round robin follow:

        Victor Ciocaltea-Francisco Perez 0.5-0.5
        Georgi Tringov-Ratmir Kholmov 0-1
        Bruno Parma-Jan Donner 0.5-0.5
        Karl Robatsch-Istvan Bilek 0.5-0.5
        Ludek Pachman-Borislav Ivkov 0.5-0.5
        Eleazar Jiminez-Laszlo Szabo 0.5-0.5
        Efim Geller-Robert Wade 0.5-0.5
        Zbigniew Doda-Alberic O’Kelly 0-1
        Wolfgang Pietzsch-Vassily Smyslov 0-1
        Gilberto Garcia-Eldis Cobo (adjourned)

        The tournament will last through September 26.

        Capablanca Memorial 1965
        Havana CUB
        Lehmann, Heinz – Fischer, Robert James
        B84 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Classical, Nd7 System

        1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.O-O e6 8.f4 b5 9.Bf3 Bb7 10.e5 Bxf3 11.Nxf3 dxe5 12.fxe5 Ng4 13.Qe2 b4 14.Ne4 Ngxe5 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.Ng5 Qb6+ 17.Kh1 Qb5 18.Qe1 Be7 19.b3 O-O 20.a4 Qc5 21.Qe2 Rac8 22.c4 bxc3 23.Ba3 Qc7 24.Bxe7 Qxe7 25.Qxe5 Rc5 26.Qe2 Rxg5 27.Qxa6 Qb4 28.Rfb1 Rd8 29.a5 h6 30.Qc4 Qxc4 31.bxc4 c2 32.Rc1 Rxa5 0-1

        Tournament Results

        Vasily Smyslov 15.5
        Borislav Ivkov 15
        Evfim Geller 15
        Robert Fischer 15
        Ratmir Kholmov 14.5
        Ludek Pachman 13
        Karl Robatsch 12.5
        Jan Hein Donner 12
        Istvan Bilek 11.5
        Bruno Parma 11 etc.


        • #5
          The Candidates 2020

          February 14, 2020

          The pairings for the tournament were announced today at a ceremony at the Russian Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation.

          The FIDE Candidates 2020 will take place in Yekaterinburg, Russia from March 15th until April 5th. Eight top grandmasters will contest in a double round-robin tournament for the right to challenge the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway).

          FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020 pairings

          Round 1 (March 17, 2020)
          Radjabov – Caruana
          Ding Liren - Wang Hao
          Giri - Nepomniachtchi
          Grischuk - Alekseenko

          Round 02 (March 18, 2020)
          Caruana – Alekseenko
          Nepomniachtchi - Grischuk
          Wang Hao - Giri
          Radjabov – Ding Liren

          Round 03 (March 19, 2020)
          Ding Liren - Caruana
          Giri - Radjabov
          Grischuk - Wang Hao
          Alekseenko - Nepomniachtchi

          Round 04 (March 21, 2020)
          Caruana - Nepomniachtchi
          Wang Hao - Alekseenko
          Radjabov - Grischuk
          Ding Liren - Giri

          Round 05 (March 22, 2020)
          Giri - Caruana
          Grischuk - Ding Liren
          Alekseenko – Radjabov
          Nepomniachtchi - Wang Hao

          Round 06 (March 23, 2020)
          Grischuk - Caruana
          Alekseenko - Giri
          Nepomniachtchi - Ding Liren
          Wang Hao - Radjabov

          Round 07 (March 25, 2020)
          Caruana - Wang
          Hao Radjabov - Nepomniachtchi
          Ding Liren - Alekseenko
          Giri - Grischuk

          Round 08 (March 26, 2020)
          Caruana - Radjabov
          Wang Hao - Ding Liren
          Nepomniachtchi - Giri
          Alekseenko - Grischuk

          Round 09 (March 27, 2020)
          Alekseenko - Caruana
          Grischuk - Nepomniachtchi
          Giri - Wang Hao
          Ding Liren - Radjabov

          Round 10 (March 29, 2020)
          Caruana - Ding Liren
          Radjabov - Giri
          Wang Hao - Grischuk
          Nepomniachtchi - Alekseenko

          Round 11 (March 30, 2020)
          Nepomniachtchi - Caruana
          Alekseenko - Wang Hao
          Grischuk - Radjabov
          Giri - Ding Liren

          Round 12 (March 31, 2020)
          Caruana - Giri
          Ding Liren - Grischuk
          Radjabov - Alekseenko
          Wang Hao - Nepomniachtchi

          Round 13 (April 02, 2020)
          Wang Hao - Caruana
          Nepomniachtchi - Radjabov
          Alekseenko - Ding Liren
          Grischuk - Giri

          Round 14 (April 03, 2020)
          Caruana - Grischuk
          Giri - Alekseenko
          Ding Liren - Nepomniachtchi
          Radjabov - Wang Hao


          • #6
            The Candidates 2020

            March 3, 2020

            International Chess Federation

            We can confirm now that Ding Liren has been admitted through the Russian border control and his delegation is now on its way to a “dacha” on the outskirts of Moscow.

            Ding Liren and his team are currently flying from Shanghai to Moscow, where they are expected to land at 16:45 local time.

            As planned, they have been provided with a place to stay for the next 14 days, with a doctor at their disposal.

            #FIDECandidates Tournament 2020 will take place from March 15 to April 4.

            Don't miss our live broadcasts:

            English - GM Judit Polgar, GM Daniel King, and GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko

            Russian - GM Sergey Shipov

            Chinese - GM Hou Yifan





            • #7
              The Candidates 2020

              March 6, 2020

              From FIDE:

              Teimour Radjabov to be replaced by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the Candidates Tournament

              Lausanne, March 6, 2020

              Teimour Radjabov has informed FIDE about his decision to withdraw from the Candidates Tournament, citing personal reasons.

              The Grandmaster from Azerbaijan had qualified for the Candidates by winning the 2019 World Cup, held in Khanty-Mansiysk.

              Radjabov will be replaced following the procedure described in the Article 2.1.E of the tournament regulations:

              "One place is reserved for the player with the highest average FIDE rating. For the purpose of deciding the qualifier, the average ELO rating from the twelve (12) FIDE Standard Rating Lists from February 2019 to January 2020 is used (...)".

              Therefore, the French player Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will be Radjabov's replacement, since he has the highest average rating during the aforementioned period of twelve months. The player has already been informed and he is ready to take part in the tournament. His travel arrangements are being made at the time of this announcement.



              From the English Chess Forum:

              Chris Rice: Radjabov said: It is not correct, I have no personal reasons to withdraw from the tournament. I will come up very soon with the statement and with letters that were sent to FIDE and their answers.

              Mike Norris: Radjabov's statement has now been posted on Here it is translated into English:

              "From March 15 to April 5, 2020, I was supposed to participate in the Candidates Tournament in Russia in the city of Yekaterinburg. As you know, there is currently an increase in the epidemic of the coronavirus worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the highest epidemic - red. Many competitions and significant events in the world are canceled or postponed to a later date, based on the development of the situation.

              "The International Chess Federation has implemented a number of preventative measures [against the coronavirus - PD] but not all. It was stated that the Chinese players, their coaches and accompanying persons will be quarantined for 14 days in Russia. One of the Chinese chess players [Ding - PD], coaches and the delegation are indeed quarantined. However, the second participant from China [Wang - PD] will not be quarantined and will arrive at the beginning of the tournament from a country where the epidemic of coronavirus is growing every day [Japan - PD].

              "In addition, there is no explanation from FIDE how the tournament will proceed in the event that any participant or coaches or accompanying persons, journalists, interviewers, arbiters have signs of a cold or influenza, or, God forbid, a coronavirus is determined. Will participants will be quarantined, how much time and steps are needed to analyze and determine the exact presence or absence of the virus?

              "The Candidates Tournament is a chess marathon, consisting of 14 rounds over 22 days. Nobody will explain how the tournament will develop in the conditions of the global epidemic, what measures will be taken in case of detection of the virus and what measures will be taken in relation to the sick participant, no one explains. Due to the complexity of all these points, I turned to FIDE with a proposal to postpone the tournament to a later date. I was refused this offer of mine. In connection with the above, I considered that such conditions can greatly affect the necessary level of concentration and mood required for the maximum level of play in such an important competition as the Candidates Tournament, and a possible health hazard. As a result, I was replaced with another participant."

              Chris Rice: It's not clear to me from that whether Radjabov has withdrawn or whether he's been thrown out of the tournament. The discussion on the FIDE and Sutovsky's feeds run along the lines that FIDE have a Medical Commission who recommended a course of action and it’s not really up to Radjabov to dictate policy. However, there are also a large number of chess players who completely agree with what Radjabov wrote for Azeri Sport and are none too pleased about MVL taking advantage.



              • #8
                The Candidates 2020

                March 7, 2020

                From FIDE’s official site:

                Health and safety measures at the FIDE Candidates Tournament

                6th March 2020 FIDE

                The outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), which has affected events globally, has led to concerns and questions whether the FIDE Candidates Tournament - due to take place between 15th March and 5th April in Yekaterinburg, Russia - should be postponed.

                The postponement of the tournament, however, is not legally and practically feasible. Without the introduction of an official ban by the state authorities of the Russian Federation, a unilateral transfer or postponement by FIDE is not possible. However, FIDE is closely following the developments regarding the Coronavirus as well as the situation in Russia and the steps taken by Russian authorities.

                It also should be noted that contrary to other large chess opens that have been canceled over the past few days, the Candidates Tournament is not a mass event. Being an elite, 8-player tournament, the reduced number of participants allows us to monitor their personal circumstances, health status, and provide them personal attention.

                In light of the concerns which have been raised, FIDE would like to inform all the participants of the upcoming Tournament as well as the public about the health and safety measures which will be in force:

                1. A check-point with a qualified nurse will be created for all participants of the tournament, and officials and visitors in the auditorium. At this point, visitors will be checked for symptoms of Covid-19 before entering the game room, including checking their body temperature.

                2. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be available at all times.

                3. N95 face-masks will always be available in the required quantity. Depending on the assessment of the situation, the wearing of masks may become mandatory for visitors in the auditorium.

                4. The distance between the first rows of spectators and players will be at least 15 meters.

                5. Handshakes before and after the game are optional.

                6. Preventive measures (masks, disinfectants) must also be provided in all hotel rooms where participants and officials will be staying, as well as in all vehicles used for the tournament.

                FIDE is closely following the developments on the ground and steps taken by Russian authorities. We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of participants and spectators at the event.



                • #9
                  The Candidates 2020

                  March 9, 2020


                  Kramnik & Short to commentate on the Candidates

                  Vladimir Kramnik will commentate live for chess24 on the first eight rounds of the 2020 FIDE Candidates Tournament. The 14th World Chess Champion will be joined by Jan Gustafsson and Lawrence Trent, while former World Championship Challenger Nigel Short will then step in for Vladimir for the final six rounds.



                  • #10
                    The Candidates 2020

                    March 16, 2020

                    The official website is:


                    March 15

                    Arrival Day

                    March 16

                    1:00 PM Press Conference
                    7:00 PM Opening Ceremony

                    March 17

                    4:00 Round 1

                    4 PM in the Sverdlovsk Oblast is 7 AM Toronto/Montreal time.

                    Lawrence Trent and Jan Gustafsson will be in the studio with Vladimir Kramnik calling in from Switzerland. Magnus Carlsen may call in too.


                    You can watch the games live at with computer analysis, live chat and video commentary by GM Vishy Anand, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Wesley So, GM Robert Hess, IM Danny Rensch and other special guests. Their live broadcast will also be available on

                    Judit Polgar, Daniel King and Evgeny Miroschnichenko are commentating live on the official site.

                    Last edited by Wayne Komer; Monday, 16th March, 2020, 11:41 AM.


                    • #11
                      Russia's Ministry of Sport has just banned all international sporting competitions. Although it has not yet been confirmed whether this applies to the Candidates, this is the contingency that was mentioned in the pre-tournament information:


                      The Ministry of Sports on March 16 cancels all international competitions in Russia
                      March 16, 2020, 17:07
                      Football / Other Tournaments
                      The Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation decided on March 16 to cancel all international sporting events in the country, RIA Novosti reports.

                      “To cancel from March 16, 2020, until further notice, the holding of all international sports events on the territory of the Russian Federation, including the participation of foreign athletes (coaches, specialists) in all-Russian sports events previously planned with foreign participation. All-Russian and regional sports federations by sports, executive authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation should ensure control over the implementation of the decision, ”the document says.

                      The reason for the cancellation is the threat of the spread of COVID-19.


                      • #12
                        The Candidates 2020

                        March 16, 2020

                        The first press conference has now taken place at The Candidates. From the FIDE site:

                        Arkady Dvorkovich: Safety is our priority

                        A pre-press event for the 2020 Candidates took place earlier today at the Sverdlovsk Journalists' Union, where the organisers, local officials, the public and Russian media were introduced to the programme and the organisation of the upcoming tournament.

                        Present at the conference were the Sverdlovsk Region Deputy Governor Alexey Orlov, the president of the International Chess Federation Arkady Dvorkovich, the former World Champion Anatoly Karpov and the President of the Chess Federation of the Sverdlovsk Region Andrey Simanovsky. They were joined by the Regional Corporate Sales Head at Kaspersky Marina Usova, as well as one of the participants of the Candidates, Russian GM Kirill Alekseenko.

                        Speaking on behalf of the regional authorities, Deputy Governor Alexey Orlov said that it is a “great honour for Sverdlovsk to be hosting the Candidates Tournament”. He added that the Sverdlovsk Region has “thoroughly prepared for the event” and that they are “putting a lot of effort into ensuring that all competitive events are organised to the highest safety standards necessary today”.

                        FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich thanked the regional government as well as the Chess Federation of Russia on organising the tournament: “This is a big event not just for the chess world but, possibly, for the whole sporting community since almost all international competitions have been cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus”.

                        Dvorkovich added that the International Chess Federation put special emphasis on minimising all health risks for the participants and everyone involved in the event: “We cleared all the health safety issues including medical screenings and tests with the Federal Service for Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor), and the Ministry of Public Health. We took precautionary measures, following recommendations by WHO, IOC, and Rospotrebnadzor. The participants, media, organizers, and spectators will be separated, and the latter will not be permitted to enter the playing hall. We expect these measures to be sufficient for the players' safety, bearing in mind that this is not a mass event.”

                        Dvorkovich added that, due to the concerns, all additional mass events (tournaments, simuls) planned for the Candidates have been cancelled. Despite the spectators not being able to attend the playing hall, Dvorkovich pointed out that there will be live commentary, in English, Russian and Chinese, which will be streamed online.

                        Andrey Simanovsky, who heads the Chess Federation of the Sverdlovsk Region, emphasized there has never been an event of such magnitude in Yekaterinburg, adding that this will be “a good impulse to promoting chess in the region”.

                        “I became a president of the regional chess federation rather recently, but already I recognize how exciting the chess world is, and how many extraordinary people are here. In my opinion, chess is the most peaceful, intelligent, and prestigious sport”, he added.

                        Afterwards, Simanovsky showed medals which will be awarded to the top three players of the Candidates Tournament.

                        Anatoly Karpov: “Energy, health and calm nerves”

                        The 12th World Champion and one of the key people in the Sverdlovsk chess federation, Anatoly Karpov also spoke at the pre-press event.

                        He shared his thoughts and advice to the players: “In order to win such tournament, one needs energy, health, and steady nerves. Tournament-specific preparation and general opening knowledge as well. The participants of this event won many tournaments during their careers – they are truly cream of the chess world.”

                        Karpov also reflected on the history of chess development in the Urals. “We have never had such a high-level competition in Sverdlovsk Region or in Yekaterinburg. However, the Ural chess school has been developing rapidly in recent years, and the Chess Federation of the Sverdlovsk Region is now one of the most active in Russia. I believe this tournament will be held at the highest level. The players have ideal conditions and they will live and play in the same hotel”.



                        • #13
                          Arthur Kogan on Facebook opines that this may mean the tournament is still on. It is not clear whether the statement "...since almost all international competitions have been cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus” refers to the Ministry of Sport announcement. In any event, I agree with the whole sentence and hope it proves true. ADDED: FIDE Director General and GM Emil Sutovsky, onsite, says it is still on. ADDED: Statement from FIDE:
                          Last edited by Kenneth Regan; Monday, 16th March, 2020, 05:43 PM. Reason: Adding new information, clearly marked as such.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Henri Hughes View Post
                            I feel the idea of the organizer choosing a player is flawed and overtly biast
                            The organizer spends a lot of money to organize this tournament. Sometimes you need to throw them a bone if you want them to continue to support your events.


                            • #15
                              The Candidates 2020

                              March 16, 2020

                              From chess24:

                              The 2020 Candidates Tournament was officially opened today in Yekaterinburg, though all 8 players exercised their right not to attend the ceremony to avoid any coronavirus risk. 14th World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik pulled out of commentary on chess24, telling us tonight, “I strongly believe the Candidates Tournament should have been postponed considering the nowadays disastrous humanitarian situation in the world.” The event will go on for now, however, and we have Magnus Carlsen and Peter Svidler joining for Round 1.