FIDE postponed the Candidates: first reactions on Twitter

by Arne Kaehler
3/26/2020 – After Russia closed down air traffic from and to Russia the FIDE announced this morning that it will cancel and postpone the Candidates Tournament 2020 to allow players to get home. It did not take long before the first reactions followed on Twitter. Here is a small selection.

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The Ruy Lopez is one of the oldest openings which continues to enjoy high popularity from club level to the absolute world top. In this video series, American super GM Fabiano Caruana, talking to IM Oliver Reeh, presents a complete repertoire for White.


Stopping the Candidates

This morning the tournament came to a sudden end.

Good luck and see you soon!

This shouldn't take more than 80 minutes...I meant days!

The great chess photographer has an easier way home than Caruana and will probably share a flight with Anish Giri.

That's a great wish!

At least it didn't happen in the middle of a game.

Many people start to wonder how this decision affects Teimour Radjabov.

Other's seem to be more angry.

An emotional post by Pentala Harikrishna

What do you think, dear reader?

This was Teimour Radjabov's response to Magnus Carlsen, pointing out that Radjabov could have played at the tournament, if he wanted to play.

The World Champion is not done yet

This escalated quickly

One of many possible solutions

Valid points

Well, you can always play chess online.

Sometimes things are just too dangerous.


Arne Kaehler, a creative thinker who is passionate about board games in general was born in Hamburg and learned how to play chess at a very young age. Through teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess content on YouTube, Arne was able to extend this passion onto others and has even made an online chess course for anyone who wants to learn how to play this game. Currently, Arne blogs for the English news page of ChessBase and focuses on creating promotional and entertaining articles.
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SunriseK SunriseK 3/31/2020 04:53
Still you are not showing me your fonts, Mr. Mxyzptlk. Not able to give even just a couple of links confirming what you are telling?
And btw coughing or telling "I feel not well" are all, but not sure evidence he could have coronavirus (in fact those two things are not even evidence one has an illness)! Do you know he was diagnosed with such illness for sure? If so, show me the link, please. Until that moment, I will assume the chance of Nepo having covid19 are around 1 over a million. ;-)
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 3/31/2020 01:37
@SunriseK, you should follow the event more, and do some reading on covid-19, before making comments. Nepo was coughing a lot at the last press conference before the event was cancelled and said he had been feeling terrible for the last few days and that he was "not well." Those were his words.

The incubation period of covid-19 is up to 2 weeks, maybe longer. That means that ppl are asymptomatic for up to 2 weeks, meaning no fever, meaning the temperature checks at the Candidates is not going to detect anything while anyone in the vicinity could be infected, shedding virus, and infecting others.

It has been widely reported, from within Russia itself, that Russia has been falsely reporting lower numbers of covid-19 than are actually the case.
SunriseK SunriseK 3/30/2020 11:06
- Nepo is not healthy? How do you know Mr. StrangeNick? Show me your fonts, please.
- Maybe he has covid?? How would be possible, with all the health cares about the virus? If you are right, then all other players and a lot of other people should have already got the virus since many days before!
- Who knows how many cases in Russia? Very simple to know that! For example:
- How do you think is possible to re-start the tourney without transforming it into a crazy farce??? Two players are leading now (Nepo and MVL) and you suggest to completely ignore this fact? And even to devise the possibility to restart without one of the 2 leaders??? Don't you think it would be very ridiculous?
Anyway I agree with you about Radjabov being right and about Carlsen.
- How do you think is possible to include Radjabov having him playing his first 8 games without this being unfair?
It's certainly very different than to play from start: he already knows about all the other results of the 7 rounds already played for instance! And how do you think it would be acceptable for the other 8 players? Not to mention the very naif idea to make Radja play his 8 games online! Suppose for example he plays very well and gets 5 points or more, becoming the new leader: don't you think it would be impossible to prevent a lot of other people to forever suspect he could have had some unfair assistance (especially in the case of online playing!), even if he played absolutely fair? Apart the fact that going ahead with 9 player is very annoying because it requires one player at a time to wait, adding also another unfair thing to the circus.
At least FIDE clearly stated that Candidates will restart from the exact point where it was suspended, that is just the minimum IMHO!
Only thing we can do now to somehow compensate for Radja, is to include him in next cycle. He will have 2 years to prepare and this is a very good chance for him.
RuhrPirat RuhrPirat 3/28/2020 08:29
The appropriate compromise would be to include Radjabov as 9th player, meaning
- first, Radjabov's 8 games from the first half of the CT become played (e.g. online);
- then, the second half of the CT takes place later in the year.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 3/27/2020 10:30
Nepo is not healthy. Maybe he has covid-19. Maybe another player would have gotten infected or died if the tournament continued. Even young people without medical comorbidities are dying from covid-19. Obviously Radjabov was correct that the tournament should have been postponed from the start. The face that it was stopped because of covid-19 (which is the reason for the air closures) vindicates Radjabov. Who knows how many cases there are in Russia?

Giving Radjabov the next wildcard in 2022 is not acceptable. He won the World Cup this year (including beating MVL) and is in form now. There is no telling how good he will be in 2 years. The Candidates should re-start as a 9-player field (or 8-player without MVL) with Radjabov.

Carlsen should not be making comments after dropping out of a previous cycle.
SunriseK SunriseK 3/27/2020 10:13
I was among those who were thinking it would have been wiser not to start the Candidates at all.
So I judged an error FIDE's decision not to postpone the start of the tournament.
But now... they were lucky that all the involved people were healthy and they already played 50% of games, so... why to stop now? All people were still healthy and the players could have continued without problems. Then the decision to stop halfway the tournament seems to me even a bigger error than the previous one!
Who knows if they will be able to resume the tournament in the future with the same 8 players? Nobody!
And btw, even if they will do, the conditions will be rather different. For example, I have a little "innocent" question: should have Nepo won the last game, would have FIDE nevertheless suspended the tournament? ;-)
Let me at least have some doubts, because it recalls to me the somehow similar fact happened in 1984... even if maybe I can be wrong and in fact I hope to be wrong in this case.
The only problem about going ahead is the decision of Russia to block air traffic, ok.
Not a little problem, but... was it really impossible at the end of tournament to allow just a couple of special flights to bring all the people back home? I don't think so.
About the poor Radjabov, I agree with Raymond Labelle: best option would be to give him the next wildcard of the Candidates 2022. So at least it will not be the usual unfair choice! And then for 2024 let's finally get rid of this absurdity, please.
kenneth calitri kenneth calitri 3/27/2020 05:44
I like the idea of adding Radjabov as an additional player to the next candidates tournaments in 2020. 9 player tournament. Current tournament should resume with same players and scores.
Ajeeb007 Ajeeb007 3/27/2020 12:47
FIDE acted properly all the way along, given the time line of events. After he qualified Radjabov was undecided whether to play or not and he eventually decided not to. There is no solution that will address all of the issues raised by the present circumstances but the best FIDE can do now is to continue the tournament later.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/26/2020 08:20
To include Raja in this cycle is not a good idea, even assuming that not postponing the tournament was a mistake. It has begun, the players accepted to play, they previously agreed that if it had to be suspended, the results at the time of suspension be maintained for the continuation at a later date.

However, I think Raja should have the place normally given to the wildcard at the following Candidates tournament (the one which normally should occur in 2022). If Fide does not impose this, let's hope that organizers of that tournament will choose him as a wildcard. Also, that would remove the discretionary aspect of the wildcard choice.
Federer17 Federer17 3/26/2020 07:47
Do not speak for 'entire chess community', you have no right to do that. I'm a chess player and fan myself and I disagree with your opinions. And I really hate when someone speaks for me.
I was in favor of playing the tournament and it is a pity that Russia closed the borders, but I'm on the site of FIDE here. And I'm definitely against including Radjabov in the Candidates, half-way through the tournament. That is just crazy.
So please, speake for yourself.
rehsupdoow rehsupdoow 3/26/2020 07:26
The best solution is to cancel and restart with 9 players when a vaccine has been released and the worldwide curve has been well flattened. Cancelling is necessary because all the players have been distracted and stressed with worry. Think about Caruana who has family and friends in two afflicted countries; he likely spent a quarter of his clock time thinking about each. Similarly for all the other players. Playing online just doesn't work; players would still be distracted if the virus is still raging by family concerns and playing in such strange circumstances. It might be necessary to move the whole championship forward a year and play in the odd-numbered years!
renzogm renzogm 3/26/2020 06:54
Finally and happily this circus is over! Russia's decision to close its borders ended by postponing a Candidates tournament that should never have started. How much lack of sensitivity and political sense on the part of Fide to avoid this embarrassment. Now? Well now I hope you hear the clamor of so many chess fans in the world and go out to apologize, cancel this tournament and have another one with Radjabov. And what do we do with MVL? Well two options, either get it out or include it but without taking out Radjabov because he and Vladimir Kramnik earned all the respect in the world by postponing their activities regarding the tournament. Vice President Martha Fierro, please, the entire chess community is crying out for the cancellation of this tournament, which should not have been played and whose level was clearly affected by the events occurring worldwide with respect to covid-19. Please President Arkady, let another Candidate be rescheduled from the start and with the inclusion of Radjabov, that is what the chess community is asking for. regards
ramonhimera ramonhimera 3/26/2020 06:52
The players could play from home. In each of their resident countries there will be arbiters who could be tested and if virus free could sit in the same room as the player during the game.
All the technology exists to do this.
Drabble Drabble 3/26/2020 04:04
Strange decision by the Kremlin.

Echoes of the 1984 World Championship Match in Moscow, Russia, between Kasparov and Karpov?

We all knew what was coming down the tracks from the news and evidence of China, South Korea, Italy and so on, in January and February.

With all of this in mind they made the decision to proceed with the 2020 Candidates in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

On the plus side it has been a welcome distraction for those quarantined at home.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) certainly makes us all realise that we are far more ‘gens una sumus’ than we ever could have imagined…
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 3/26/2020 03:39
" I say we restart the whole thing now with Radjabov in it. " That's right.
bumbumshot bumbumshot 3/26/2020 02:30
I say we restart the whole thing now with radjabov in it.
geraldsky geraldsky 3/26/2020 01:26
Radjabov should be given an automatic slot for the next candidate.
geraldsky geraldsky 3/26/2020 01:21
The action only tells that Radjabov was right and FIDE was wrong .