Chess calendar: January 2020

by ChessBase
1/1/2020 – A Women's World Championship match and two traditional elite events will keep chess fans busy during the first month of the new year. On the one hand, the Tata Steel Tournament, which has Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Alireza Firouzja among the Masters, and a nice mix of strong talents in the Challengers. On the other, the Gibraltar Chess Festival, with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Wang Hao as top seeds. In parallel, Ju Wenjun and Aleksandra Goryachkina play a match in China and Russia. | You'll find all of these events and more covered in our live games broadcast area and we'll also be providing News coverage.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Firouzja and Carlsen in Wijk aan Zee

These are the major events on the chess calendar for January 2020, with links to their official sites. When live games are available, we'll also add these along with any links to our News page coverage of each tournament.

January 2nd - 6th: Festival Montebelluna (Veneto, Italy)

Montebelluna Cup 2020The 4th edition of the Vergani Cup will once again take place at the small comune of Montebelluna, located approximately 50 kilometres northwest of Venice.

The main event will be a 9-round Swiss open for players rated 2200 or above. The time control will be 90 minutes for the whole game, with 30-second increments from move one. Double rounds are scheduled during the first four days of action.

Three strong grandmasters won the previous editions — namely, Azer Mirzoev, Richard Rapport and Samvel Ter-Sahakyan. Defending champion Ter-Sahakyan is currently the second seed among the registered participants, behind Russian veteran Aleksey Dreev, who arrives as favourite. Youngsters Jose Eduardo Martinez (Peru) and Anton Smirnov (Australia) are seeded third and fourth respectively.


January 3rd - 26th: Women's World Championship 2020 (Shanghai/Vladivostok, China/Russia)

Match logoWomen's World Champion Ju Wenjun and Aleksandra Goryachkina, the winner of Candidates Tournament, face off in a 12-game classical match to determine the next Women's World Champion.

The big picture as to who is the strongest female player in the world is far less clear than it is in the overall World Championship, where Magnus Carlsen is not only the title holder in classical, rapid and blitz simultaneously but also the highest rated by a wide margin in two of three disciplines. Both Ju and Goryachkina skipped the recent World Rapid and Blitz Championships to prepare for their match, which allowed Humpy Koneru and Kateryna Lagno to shine. Just 6 Elo points separate Ju from her challenger and, regardless of the outcome, either winner will still have a 60-80 point gap to world #1 Hou Yifan, who has opted out of women-only competition in recent years. 


January 10th - 26th: Tata Steel Chess (Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands)

Tata Steel Chess 2020The 82nd edition of the traditional Tata Steel Tournament will take place in Wijk aan Zee. The fifth round of the Masters will be played at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven, as part of the Chess on Tour initiative that was introduced some years ago. All rounds are open to the public free of charge.

As usual, a Masters group and a Challengers group will be played simultaneously, each a 14-player single round robin with a nice mix of elite players and young talents.

The Masters will see world champion Magnus Carlsen returning for a sixteenth time, and will also include the latest challenger to the crown, Fabiano Caruana, and 16-year-old prodigy Alireza Firouzja. The full list of participants:

  Name Country Rating
GM Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2870
GM Caruana, Fabiano USA 2822
GM Giri, Anish NED 2776
GM So, Wesley USA 2760
GM Anand, Viswanathan IND 2757
GM Yu, Yangyi CHN 2753
GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof POL 2748
GM Vitiugov, Nikita RUS 2747
GM Artemiev, Vladislav RUS 2731
GM Firouzja, Alireza IRI 2720
GM Xiong, Jeffery USA 2712
GM Dubov, Daniil RUS 2676
GM Kovalev, Vladislav BLR 2674
GM Van Foreest, Jorden NED 2632

Meanwhile, the Challengers will be stronger than those of previous years. These are the fourteen players that will fight for a spot in next year's Masters:

  Name Country Rating
GM David Anton Guijarro ESP 2686
GM Nils Grandelius SWE 2681
GM Pavel Eljanov UKR 2655
GM Rauf Mamedov AZE 2648
GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly IND 2644
GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov UZB 2633
GM Erwin l’Ami NED 2623
GM Nihal Sarin IND 2612
GM Jan Smeets NED 2596
GM Anton Smirnov AUS 2573
GM Lucas van Foreest NED 2531
GM Vincent Keymer GER 2518
GM Dinara Saduakassova KAZ 2505
GM Max Warmerdam NED 2501

January 21st - 30th: Gibraltar Chess Festival (Gibraltar)

Gibraltar Chess Festival 2020The Gibraltar Chess Festival has been held annually since 2003 at the Caleta Hotel in the British Overseas Territory south of Spain. The main attraction is the Masters, a 10-round open tournament that has been four times selected as the best open of the year by the ACP.

The Masters is already closed to new entries this year, with 212 players registered to participate, including nine elite grandmasters with a 2700+ rating. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Wang Hao will arrive as top seeds.

The top fifteen of the entry list:

No. Name Rtg
1 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2780
2 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2772
3 Wang Hao 2756
4 Vitiugov Nikita 2747
5 Topalov Veselin 2737
6 Le Quang Liem 2713
7 Navara David 2707
8 Alekseenko Kirill 2704
9 Adams Michael 2701
10 Matlakov Maxim 2699
11 Ivanchuk Vassily 2690
12 Maghsoodloo Parham 2690
13 Cheparinov Ivan 2687
14 Jones Gawain C B 2683
15 Sarana Alexey 2663

...212 players

The previous edition was won by Vladislav Artemiev.


January 25th - February 2nd: Moscow Open (Moscow, Russia)

Moscow Open 2020The International Chess Cup Moscow Open 2020 will be held in Moscow from January 24th (the first day of arrival) to February 4th (the day of departure) at the Russian State Social University (RSSU). 

The Cup consists of eight separate tournaments, with the main attraction the 9-round Swiss opens for men and women, which usually appeals to a host of strong Russian grandmasters. The time control in both events is 90 minutes for the game plus 30-second increments from move one.

Boris Savchenko and Anastasia Bodnaruk were the winners of the 2019 edition.


January 25th - February 1st: Portugal Open (Lisbon, Portugal)

Portugal Open 2020As stated by Stefan Löffler, the Portugal Open in Lisbon is an excellent chance to explore the Portuguese capital during the period when there are the fewest tourists and air carriers and hotels offer the lowest rates. 

The 9-round Swiss open is included in the Portugal Chess Tour 2019-2020 and will offer the participants a chance to also play in a rapid tournament on February 2nd.

Currently, 15 players with a rating above 2400 have registered to participate, with Russian GM Alexander Motylev the first seed and nine strong grandmasters in the mix.


January 27th - February 1st: Chess Houseboat (Kerala, India)

Chess Houseboat 2020A unique event has been planned in South India at the outset of 2020 — a chess tournament on a floating house boat in the famous Vembanad Lake of Kerala.

The tournament itself will be a 10-round unrated Swiss with a time control of 20 minutes plus five seconds per game, spread over six days — two rounds per day in the mornings in five days with a complete rest day after six rounds, apart from the day of arrival and departure. It is conducted by 'Oriental Chess Moves Trust', an independent chess body of organizers and chess lovers.

The tournament carries a total prize fund of €5,000, with €2,500 in cash and €2,500 'in kind'.

Full tournament preview


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register