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Monday, 15 Feb 2021 18:04
FIDE resumes the Candidates Tournament

The Candidates Tournament, the biennial 8-player event that decides who will be the Challenger for the World Chess Championship title, will resume on the 19th of April in Yekaterinburg, Russia. 

This double round-robin tournament kicked off on March 16, 2020. However, it had to be abruptly stopped 11 days later when the Russian government announced the closure of air traffic with other countries, amid a rapidly escalating coronavirus pandemic. 

The sudden crisis left hanging this prestigious event, one of the oldest traditions in the world of sports. Since half the rounds had already been played, this interruption created an unprecedented situation, as the regulations stipulate that the results obtained until that point must stand - rather than having the tournament re-started from scratch. When the tournament was interrupted, the French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi were in the lead with 4½ points after seven games. Fabiano Caruana (USA), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Wang Hao (China) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia) are in the chasing pack, all with 3½ points. 

After a long wait, the challenger to Magnus Carlsen's throne will be finally known by the 28th of April. 

This is the detailed schedule for the second half of the tournament, to which all players have agreed on and expressed their readiness to take part in:   

19th April 2021, Round 8
20th April 2021, Round 9
21st April 2021, Round 10

(22nd April 2021, rest day)
23rd April 2021, Round 11
24th April 2021, Round 12
(25th April 2021, rest day)
26th April 2021, Round 13
27th April 2021, Round 14
28th April 2021, tie-breaks (if required) 

The eyes of the entire chess world will be on this tournament, which is expected to receive massive coverage. The recent surge of interest towards chess and the special circumstances around the event guarantees the biggest number of spectators for any Candidates Tournament in chess history. 

Standings after Round 7: 

 

Player

Points

Rating

1

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

2767

2

Ian Nepomniachtchi

2774

3

Fabiano Caruana

2842

4

Anish Giri

2763

5

Wang Hao

2762

6

Alexander Grischuk

2777

7

Liren Ding

2805

8

Kirill Alekseenko

2698


Pairings for round eight:

Fabiano Caruana (USA) – Maxime Vachier-Lagr. (FRA)

Hao Wang (CHN) – Liren Ding (CHN)

Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) – Anish Giri (NED)

Kirill Alekseenko (RUS) – Alexander Grischuk (RUS)


About the Candidates Tournament 

The current format of the Candidates Tournament was established in 1950 as the best way to determine who should be the World Champion Challenger. Currently, it is fought under the format of a double round-robin tournament (14 rounds), with the eight best players on the planet- except the champion himself. 

The selection process from which the World Chess Challenger emerges is probably one of the toughest of any sport. The scarcity of opportunities to ascend this summit makes any mistake more tragic, increasing the epic nature of the struggle. 

About the World Chess Championship 

The winner of the Candidates Tournament will be Carlsen's rival in the World Championship Match, a face-off between two contenders where they play to the best of 14 games. The 2021 World Championship match will take place 24 November – 16 December 2021 as one of the highlights of the Expo 2020 Dubai. The two players will compete for a prize fund of 2 million euros.