High profile tournaments coming in 2020!

by André Schulz
11/23/2019 – Two major FIDE events will take place in Russia next year. On November 11th, representatives of the organizing bodies signed an agreement for the Candidates Tournament in the magnificent Central Chess Club in Moscow. They announced that the Candidates will be held in Yekaterinburg from March 15th to April 5th. Organizers of other anticipated events have released detailed information in recent weeks, including the Olympiad, the Tata Steel Masters and the TePe Sigeman tournament. | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili

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The tradition lives on in Wijk aan Zee

World champion Magnus Carlsen (pictured, photo by Alina l'Ami) will return to Wijk aan Zee in January. The fact that he will participate in the event for a 16th time proves it is one of his favourites. The Norwegian has won the Masters a record seven times. Three other players from the top ten are also on board: Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Former world champion Viswanathan Anand and 2017 tournament winner Wesley So will also participate.

Magnus Carlsen

The 82nd edition of the Tata Steel Tournament will take place in Wijk aan Zee from the 10th to the 26th of January. 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.

Theo Henrar, chairman of Tata Steel Nederland, specified:

In cooperation with the municipality of Eindhoven, PSV, Brainport and local chess clubs we will organise tournaments and seminars at the Philips Stadium. In doing so we will link professional sports, talent development and physical and mental fitness. For children we will organize a special chess festival weekend in Wijk aan Zee and a big tournament in Eindhoven.

Known for putting forth a lengthy 13-round event — a rather unique feature among the elite — the event is also praised for presenting a distinct line-up. Tournament Director Jeroen van den Berg explained:

With six grandmasters making their debut, the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2020 will be a clash between the establishment and talented young players. Jorden van Foreest, Vladislav Artemiev, Jeffery Xiong, Alireza Firouzja and Jan-Krzysztof Duda are all 21 years old or younger. At 16, Iranian super talent Firouzja is the youngest participant. He is going through a rapid development and is seen by some as a potential heir to Carlsen’s throne. Firouzja will make his debut in the Tata Stel Masters, as will Artemiev, Xiong, Yu, Dubov and Kovalev.

[...] At many tournaments I only see the world’s absolute top players facing off, but I personally prefer a more mixed playing field.

2020 Tata Steel Masters participants

  Name Country Rating
GM Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2870
GM Caruana, Fabiano USA 2822
GM Giri, Anish NED 2776
GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS 2773
GM So, Wesley USA 2760
GM Anand, Viswanathan IND 2757
GM Yu, Yangyi CHN 2753
GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof POL 2748
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

Stronger field of participants in the Challengers

Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg:

The field of participants of the Tata Steel Challengers 2020 will be stronger than those of previous years. With an average rating of 2,600 and 14 participants the group is a full-fledged grandmaster tournament of its own.

The field includes six teenagers: Abdusattorov (15), Sarin (15), Smirnov (18), Lucas van Foreest (18), Keymer (15) and Warmerdam (19), who was promoted from last year’s top group in the nine-round-robins, which will be called Tata Steel Qualifiers from now on. Dinara Saduakassova is the only female participant, currently in the 11th position on the women's world ranking. Anton Guijarro, Mamedov, Abdusattorov, Sarin, Smirnov and Warmerdam are all making their Tata Steel debut.

2020 Tata Steel Challengers participants

  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

Yekaterinburg to host the Candidates

The 2020 Candidates Tournament, in which eight of the strongest players in the world will fight for the right to challenge reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, will take place from March 15th to April 5th in Yekaterinburg. The World Championship match is scheduled for November 2020 and will take place either in Dubai or in Buenos Aires.

On November 11th, an agreement was signed at the Moscow Central Chess Club between FIDE, the Russian Chess Federation and the Sverdlovsk Oblast region. All three partners were represented in the meeting: Arkady Dvorkovich, as the FIDE President; Andrey Filatov, as President of the Russian Chess Federation; and Andrey Simanovsky, Chairman of the Sverdlovsk Region Chess Federation. Anatoly Karpov, 12th world champion and Vice-President of the RCF, was also present. 

Since the Russian Federation will be hosting the event, it has the right to nominate a player as the wildcard participant. Andrey Filatov mentioned that it is likely that they will organize a knock-out tournament to decide who gets the spot. It was also revealed that Kirill Alekseenko, who got third place at the Grand Swiss on the Isle of Man, will be in the line-up.

So far, four players have secured their place in the Candidates: Fabiano Caruana from the United States, Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan, Ding Liren and Wang Hao, both from China. Two will qualify through the Grand Prix series, in which only a miracle would leave Alexander Grischuk out; a spot is reserved for the player with the highest average rating in 2019 — Anish Giri is almost sure to get it; while the eighth participant will be nominated by the organizers, as mentioned above.

Martin Bennedik keeps the numbers permanently updated:

Paralympics in Khanty, Olympiad in Moscow

Originally Khanty-Mansiysk won the bid to host the 2020 Chess Olympiad. The plans have been adjusted though, as it has been agreed that the 44th Olympiad will take place from August 5th to 17th in Moscow, while Khanty-Mansiysk will organize the first Chess Paralympics from July 29th to August 4th.

In recent years, international teams with deaf, visually impaired and physically challenged players have competed at the Chess Olympiad. Now, at the suggestion of FIDE Vice-President Nigel Short, the handicapped competitors will fight over the board at their own Olympiad, the Chess Paralympics. The International Braille Chess Association (IBCA), the International Chess Committee of the Deaf (ICCD) and the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA) are all members of FIDE and will be represented in this historic event.

Both at the Olympiad and the Chess Paralympics, the Russian Chess Federation will organize a series of supplementary events: simultaneous exhibitions, rapid and blitz tournaments for adults and children, lectures, master classes and more. 

2018 IBCA World Team Championship

Russia won the 2018 IBCA World Team Championship | Photo: Sagar Shah

Karpov to play in Mälmo

Another traditional event made a big announcement last month, as the organizers of the TePe Sigeman Tournament booked 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov to participate in the 26th edition of the Swedish event.

The tournament will take place from April 29th to May 5th at the Mälmo Live Conference Centre. The eight-player single round-robin will also include Swedish number one Nils Grandelius, former world number two Alexei Shirov, Czech number one David Navara and Indian prodigy Nihal Sarin. The full starting field will be announced soon.

Only taking into account the names announced so far, the event promises to be a big hit. During the last decade or so, Karpov has mainly played in the Bundesliga and in rapid tournaments, while he will now face a number of strong, ambitious rivals in a top-level classical tournament. Throughout his career, he has won over 150 tournaments of the kind. Will he be able to keep up with the young guns? 

Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson and Carlos Colodro


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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