Chess calendar: March 2020

by ChessBase
3/1/2020 – There will be plenty of action to keep chess enthusiasts entertained in March. The month will kick off with the third leg of the Women's Grand Prix in Lausanne, and four days after that event comes to an end the long-awaited Candidates Tournament will begin in Yekaterinburg. Team tournaments (Nutcracker and Senior Teams), strong opens (HD Bank and Dubai) and a couple of invitational events in Saint Louis will serve as first-rate complements. | You'll find all of these events and more covered in our live games broadcast area and we'll also be providing News coverage.

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Candidates at the forefront 

These are the major events on the chess calendar for March 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.

March 2nd - 13th: Women's Grand Prix 3rd leg (Lausanne, Switzerland)

Women's FIDE Grand PrixThe third leg of the 2019/2020 FIDE Women's Grand Prix will take place at the Hôtel Mövenpick in the 'Olympic Capital'. It will be the third of four twelve-player single round-robin events which will give out two tickets to play in the 2021 Women's Candidates Tournament.

After two legs, Humpy Koneru is leading the overall standings of the series. The Indian star will skip the third leg though, giving second-placed Aleksandra Goryachkina a chance to take over the lead. 

Zhao Xue from China was supposed to be among the participants in Switzerland, but due to complications related to the Coronavirus outbreak she will be replaced by Zhansaya Abdumalik from Kazakhstan.

Rank Player
1 Aleksandra Goryachkina (RUS)
2 Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS)
3 Ju Wenjun (CHN)
4 Dronavalli Harika (IND)
5 Anna Muzychuk (UKR)
6 Pia Cramling (SWE)
7 Mariya Muzychuk (UKR)
8 Alina Kashlinskaya (RUS)
9 Nana Dzagnidze (GEO)
10 Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL)
11 Marie Sebag (FRA)
12 Zhansaya Abdumalik (KAZ)

March 4th - 9th: 6th Nutcracker Match of the Generations (Moscow, Russia)

Nutcracker Battle of the Generations 2020The "Nutcracker Tournament" returns to Moscow's Central Chess Club, repeating the Kings v Princes format it presented back in 2018. A squad of young talented players from Russia (Princes) face a team composed by older stars from around the globe (Kings) in a Scheveningen match.

From the 4th to the 7th of March, the teams will face each other in classical games, while the last two days of action will feature eight rapid encounters.

Kings: Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Alexei Shirov (Latvia), Evgeniy Najer (Russia).

Princes: Alexey Sarana, Andrey Esipenko, Daniil Yuffa, Semyon Lomasov (all from Russia).


March 6th - 14th: World Senior Team Championships (Prague, Czech Republic)

World Senior Team Chess Championships 2020

The World Senior Team Championships for players over 50 and 65 will take place at the Olympik Hotel in Prague. Both tournaments are nine-round Swiss opens, with each team composed of four members and an optional reserve player.

The time control will be 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with 30-second increments from move one.

Currently, the top seeded team in the 50+ category is the United States: Alexander Shabalov, Gregory Kaidanov, Larry Christiansen, Joel Benjamin and Igor Novikov.

The highest-rated squad in the 65+ section is Russia: Yuri Balashov, Evgeny Sveshnikov, Nukhim Rashkovsky, Evgenij Kalegin and Vladimir Shelnin. 


March 6th - 12th: 10th HD Bank International Tournament (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

HD Bank International Chess Tournament 2020

The HD Bank Open will celebrate its tenth edition at the Rex Hotel Saigon in Vietnam's most populous city and most popular tourist destination, Ho Chi Minh City.

It is a nine-round Swiss open with a time control of 90 minutes for the entire game with an increment of 30 seconds for each move. The Masters category is reserved for players with a rating over 2200 Elo points.

The prize fund for the Masters and Challengers categories amounts to US$70,000, with the top finishers in the Masters taking home $18,000, $9,000 and $6,000 respectively.

Last year's edition was won by Wang Hao.

Update: Postponed, for now, according to the official Facebook page:


March 17th - April 3rd: FIDE Candidates Tournament (Yekaterinburg, Russia)

FIDE Chess

The eight-player double round robin will determine who will become Magnus Carlsen's challenger in the next World Championship match. Starting Monday March 17th, three rounds will be played in consecutive days and will be followed by a rest day. The time control will be 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game; plus a 30-second increment per move starting from move one.

In order to prevent players from the same country from colliding against their opponents, they will face each other in the earlier rounds. This will apply to the three Russian contestants and the two Chinese representatives.

After a ban to Chinese citizens travelling for "private, educational, working and tourist purposes" was issued on February 20th, the International Chess Federation announced Ding Liren and Wang Hao were given humanitarian visas, which will allow them to participate.

All the pairings were announced in mid-February

  Player Federation Rating Qualification means
1 Fabiano Caruana USA 2822 Lost the previous WCh match
2 Ding Liren China 2801 World Cup (runner-up)
3 Alexander Grischuk Russia 2777 Grand Prix (winner)
4 Anish Giri Netherlands 2769 Best rating average of 2019
5 Ian Nepomniachtchi Russia 2767 Grand Prix (runner-up)
6 Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan 2765 World Cup (winner)
7 Wang Hao China 2756 Grand Swiss (winner)
8 Kirill Alekseenko Russia 2704 Wildcard (*)

March 18th - 26th: Spring Chess Classic (Saint Louis, United States)

Spring Chess Classic 2020

The 2020 Spring Chess Classic is the first of four yearly tournaments featuring international chess professionals. It is comprised of two ten-player round robin tournaments. Over the course of ten days, these competitors will battle for $36,000 in prize money and gain valuable experience in top-level events.

The Classic chess series are the strong tournaments held quarterly at the Saint Louis Chess Club. These tournaments were created to give international masters and grandmasters a chance to participate in strong round robin tournaments in order to test their skill against similar level players.

The 2019 edition was won by Jeffery Xiong (group A) and Bai Jinshi (group B).

Group A participants:

Rank Name Fed. Rating
1 GM Xiong, Jeffery USA 2709
2 GM Robson, Ray USA 2673
3 GM Sevian, Samuel USA 2660
4 GM Donchenko, Alexander GER 2650
5 GM Bruzon Batista, Lazaro CUB 2644
6 GM Fridman, Daniel GER 2625
7 GM Gledura, Benjamin HUN 2620
8 GM Akobian, Varuzhan USA 2614
9 GM Hansen, Eric CAN 2606
10 GM Lupulescu, Constantin ROU 2653

Group B participants:

Rank Name Fed. Rating
1 GM Rambaldi, Francesco ITA 2571
2 GM Mista, Aleksander POL 2569
3 GM Meshkovs, Nikita LAT 2566
4 GM Gordievsky, Dmitry RUS 2559
5 IM Theodorou, Nikolas GRE 2554
6 GM Burke, John M USA 2538
7 IM Bjerre, Jonas Buhl DEN 2530
8 GM Repka, Christopher SVK 2488
9 IM Yoo, Christopher Woojin USA 2430
10 GM Prohaszka, Peter HUN 2592

March 29th - April 7th: 22nd Dubai Open (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Dubai Chess Open 2020

The Dubai Open is an international chess tournament that is organized and hosted annually by the Dubai Chess & Culture Club since 1999. Over the years, it has become one of the strongest open tournaments in the world and is known for attracting top-class chess players and grandmasters.

The tournament is a nine-round Swiss open with a time control of 90 minutes for the whole game and 30-second increments from move one. 

The total prize fund amounts to USD$50,000, with $13,000 reserved for the winner. The 2019 edition saw eight players (all from different countries) tying atop the standings on 7 out of 9 points. Russian Maxim Matlakov was declared the champion on tiebreak criteria.

Update: The event has been cancelled.


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