Candidates Tournament 2020

The 2020 Candidates Tournament is an eight-player chess double round-robin tournament to decide the challenger for the World Chess Championship 2021. The winner will earn the right to challenge the defending world champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

Candidates Tournament 2020
LocationYekaterinburg, Russia
Dates17–26 March 2020, TBD
Competitors8 from 5 nations
← 2018
2022 →

The first half of the tournament was played in Yekaterinburg, Russia, from 17 March to 25 March 2020.[1] It was suspended at the halfway point due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[2] with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave sharing the lead. The second half tournament is expected to be played later in 2020.

ParticipantsEdit

The qualifiers for the Candidates Tournament are:[3][4]

Qualification method Player Age Rating World
Ranking
(March 2020)[5]
2018 World Championship runner-up   Fabiano Caruana 27 2842 2
The top two finishers at the Chess World Cup 2019   Teimour Radjabov (winner). Withdrew.[6][7] 33 2765 9
  Ding Liren (runner-up) 27 2805 3
The top finisher in the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2019   Wang Hao (winner) 30 2762 12
The top two finishers in the FIDE Grand Prix 2019   Alexander Grischuk (winner) 36 2777 4
  Ian Nepomniachtchi (runner-up) 29 2774 5
Highest average rating   Anish Giri 25 2763 11
  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (replacement for Radjabov)[6][7] 29 2767 8
Wild card chosen by organizer, subject to eligibility criteria   Kirill Alekseenko[8] (highest non-qualifier in Grand Swiss) 22 2698 39

The regulations stated that if one or more players declined the invitation to play in the Candidates Tournament, the players with the next highest average ratings would qualify. On March 6, this rule was used to select Vachier-Lagrave, after Radjabov withdrew.

Compared to previous cycles (2014, 2016, 2018), the Grand Swiss was a new addition, and the number of qualifiers by rating was reduced from two to one. The format of the Grand Prix tournament was also changed.

Qualifier by ratingEdit

The qualifier on rating was the player with the highest average rating for the 12 ratings periods from February 2019 to January 2020, who did not qualify by another method. To be eligible, a player must have played at least 30 games during the 12 ratings periods, and at least 18 in the final 6 ratings periods.[4]

The following table shows the ratings of the players with the top average ratings from February 2019 to January 2020.[9] It includes the first eleven players except for world champion Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana (who qualified as the 2018 challenger), Ding Liren (who qualified as a finalist of the 2019 World Cup), Alexander Grischuk and Ian Nepomniachtchi (the winner and runner-up of the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix). All of the players in the table met the above game count requirements.

The qualifier by rating was Anish Giri.

R Player Feb 2019 Mar 2019 Apr 2019 May 2019 Jun 2019 Jul 2019 Aug 2019 Sep 2019 Oct 2019 Nov 2019 Dec 2019 Jan 2020 Average
Rating
4   Anish Giri 2797 2797 2797 2787 2779 2779 2779 2780 2780 2776 2769 2768 2782.33
5   Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2780 2775 2773 2780 2779 2775 2778 2774 2774 2777 2780 2770 2776.25
6   Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2790 2790 2793 2781 2774 2765 2764 2767 2767 2772 2772 2770 2775.42
9   Viswanathan Anand 2779 2779 2774 2774 2767 2764 2756 2765 2765 2757 2757 2758 2766.25
10   Levon Aronian 2767 2761 2763 2762 2752 2756 2765 2758 2758 2772 2775 2773 2763.50
11   Wesley So 2765 2762 2762 2754 2754 2763 2776 2767 2767 2760 2760 2765 2762.91

Wild cardEdit

One wild card was selected by the organizer. This player must have participated in at least two of the three qualifying tournaments (World Cup, Grand Swiss and Grand Prix) and also must have met one of the following conditions: highest non-qualifier in the World Cup and also in the final 4 of the World Cup; highest non-qualifier in the Grand Swiss or Grand Prix; or in the top 10 by average rating from February 2019 to January 2020.

Four players were eligible:[10] Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (third in the World Cup, third in the Grand Prix, fifth in the rating list); Kirill Alekseenko (highest non-qualifier in the Grand Swiss and also played in the World Cup); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (sixth in the rating list, played in the World Cup and Grand Prix) and Levon Aronian (tenth in the rating list, played in the World Cup and Grand Prix). Viswanathan Anand was ninth in the rating list but only participated in the Grand Swiss, and thus was ineligible to be picked as the wild card player.

On 11 November 2019, Andrey Filatov, the president of the Russian Chess Federation, announced the intention to use the wild card to choose a Russian player, stating: "The decision to host this event in Russia guarantees that there will be a Russian player participating. We’re still considering different options how we’ll choose a Russian wild-card but it will probably be a match or match-tournament with Kirill Alekseenko [...]."[1] At the time of the announcement no Russian had qualified for the Candidates; and Alekseenko, Grischuk and Nepomniachtchi were sure to be eligible for the wild card, although the latter two also had a chance to qualify via the Grand Prix.

On 22 December 2019, the Grand Prix results were finalised, with Grischuk and Nepomniachtchi qualifying, meaning Alekseenko was the only Russian eligible for the wild card.[11][12]

On 23 December 2019, the Russian Chess Federation officially nominated Kirill Alekseenko as the wild card.[8]

On the same day, managers of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave expressed their concern with the current FIDE rules in an open letter to the Russian Chess Federation, asking to organize a match between Vachier-Lagrave and Alekseenko for their wild card placement,[13] on the basis that Vachier-Lagrave was eligible for the wild card in three different ways.[14] However, Alekseenko was confirmed as the wild card. Alekseenko himself encouraged the abolishment of the wild card in a later interview.[15]

OrganizationEdit

The tournament is an eight player, double round-robin tournament, meaning there are 14 rounds with each player facing each other twice: once with the black pieces and once with the white pieces. The tournament winner qualifies to play Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship late in 2020.

RegulationsEdit

The time control is 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 1.

In the event of a tie, tie breaks are applied in the following order: 1) head-to-head score among tied players, 2) total number of wins, 3) Sonneborn–Berger score (SB), 4) rapid chess tie-break games (for first place only). If more than two players are tied for first after the first three tie-break methods, then the two players to play the tie-break are decided by lot.[4]

ScheduleEdit

FIDE announced the pairings on February 14, 2020.[16] All games begin at 4pm local time (11:00 UTC), except Round 14, which begins at 3pm local time (10:00 UTC).[17]

Players from the same country must play each other in the earlier rounds: Ding Liren and Wang Hao play each other in rounds 1 and 8; while Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi and Alekseenko play each other in rounds 1 to 3 and rounds 8 to 10.[4]

Date Day Event
16 March Monday Opening ceremony
17 March Tuesday Round 1
18 March Wednesday Round 2
19 March Thursday Round 3
20 March Friday Rest day
21 March Saturday Round 4
22 March Sunday Round 5
23 March Monday Round 6
24 March Tuesday Rest day
25 March Wednesday Round 7
Date Day Event
TBD TBD Round 8
TBD TBD Round 9
TBD TBD Rest day
TBD TBD Round 10
TBD TBD Round 11
TBD TBD Round 12
TBD TBD Rest day
TBD TBD Round 13
TBD TBD Round 14
TBD TBD Tie breaks (if required)
Closing ceremony

The original schedule had the final round on April 3 and the closing ceremony on April 4.

Impact of coronavirus on the tournamentEdit

Ding Liren and Wang HaoEdit

The COVID-19 pandemic, which was mainly confined to China in January and early February 2020, affected the preparation of the Chinese players, Wang Hao and Ding Liren. On February 10, both players admitted that they cancelled their training camps and had to prepare online with their assistants: Ding Liren was training in his home city of Wenzhou; while Wang Hao was out of China, and planned to only briefly return to China before the Candidates.[18][19] Wang Hao later decided to not return to China at all before the tournament.[20]

On February 19, Russia announced a partial ban on Chinese nationals entering the country due to the coronavirus outbreak in China.[21] FIDE announced that the Chinese delegation was travelling on humanitarian visas and therefore would be permitted to enter Russia, but they were advised to come "well in advance" before the tournament.[20]

On March 2, Ding Liren and his team passed the Russian border control in Moscow and went to an isolated cottage house at the outskirts of Moscow, for two weeks of medical quarantine and observation before the start of the tournament.[22]

Radjabov withdraws, replaced by Vachier-LagraveEdit

On March 6, citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, Teimour Radjabov withdrew from the tournament. His place was filled by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, as he was next on the qualifier by rating list.[6][7]

Radjabov had asked FIDE to postpone the event due to the coronavirus outbreak.[23] FIDE responded that this could not be done "legally and practically",[24] and gave Radjabov until March 6 to confirm his participation; Radjabov responded by formally withdrawing.[24]

FIDE's new regulations on playing conditionsEdit

On March 7, FIDE announced that the tournament could only be postponed by order of the Russian authorities,[25] and stated this again on March 14: ″It is not the responsibility of FIDE to cancel FIDE-rated tournaments in any given Federation. Each Federation may take their own decisions ...″[26]

FIDE also announced health and safety measures, including screening of visitors for body temperature, and making handshakes optional.[25][27]

If one of the players would test positive for COVID-19, the tournament would be stopped immediately and resumed later in the year, with points counting from games already played.[28]

FIDE suspends the tournamentEdit

On March 26, the Russian government announced an interruption of air traffic with foreign countries taking effect on March 27. This prompted FIDE to suspend the tournament as the organization could not guarantee players' and officials' return upon the completion of the tournament. Under the terms and conditions, the first seven rounds will be retained. The tournament will continue from round eight after the pandemic.[29]

ReactionsEdit

As a consequence of the postponement, Radjabov called for his reinstatement in the tournament, as well as considering legal action under the circumstances he is not reinstated. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich indicated that Radjabov will be given wildcard for the next cycle in 2022, subject to approval from FIDE Council. [30] [31]

ResultsEdit

StandingsEdit

Standings of the 2020 Candidates Tournament
Rank Player Score H2H Wins SB MVL IN FC Giri Wang AG Ding KA
1–2   Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) 4.5 / 7 1 2 15.25 1    ½    ½ ½ ½    1    ½
1–2   Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) 4.5 / 7 0 3 14.25 0 ½ 1 1    ½    1    ½
3–6   Fabiano Caruana (USA) 3.5 / 7 1.5 1 12.25 ½ ½    ½ ½    ½ 0 1   
3–6   Anish Giri (NED) 3.5 / 7 1.5 1 11.25 ½    0    ½    ½ ½    ½ 1
3–6   Wang Hao (CHN) 3.5 / 7 1.5 1 11.25 ½    0 ½ ½    ½ 1 ½   
3–6   Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 3.5 / 7 1.5 0 12.25 ½ ½ ½    ½ ½    ½    ½   
7–8   Ding Liren (CHN) 2.5 / 7 0.5 1 8.25 0 0 1    ½    0    ½ ½   
7–8   Kirill Alekseenko (RUS) 2.5 / 7 0.5 0 9.25 ½    ½    0 0    ½ ½ ½
Updated to match(es) played on 25 March 2020. Source: Official website Chess.com
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) head-to-head score among tied players; 3) total number of wins; 4) Sonneborn–Berger score (SB); 5) tie-break games.[4]

Note: Numbers in the crosstable in a white background indicate the result playing the respective opponent with the white pieces (black pieces if on a black background).

OverviewEdit

Nepomniachtchi took an early lead with wins in rounds 1, 5 and 6, but was caught by Vachier-Lagrave, who defeated him in round 7. The tournament was halted at the halfway point, with every player having played each other once. Vachier-Lagrave and Nepomniachtchi shared the lead on 4½/7, with Vachier-Lagrave's win in their individual game putting him provisionally ahead on tie-breaks. A point behind on 3½ were Caruana, Giri, Grischuk and Wang Hao. Ding Liren, who was one of the pre-tournament favourites, started the tournament badly with two consecutive losses, and shared last place on 2½ with Alekseenko.

Results by roundEdit

First named player is white. 1–0 indicates a white win, 0–1 indicates a black win, and ½–½ indicates a draw. Numbers in parentheses show players' scores prior to the round.

Round 1 – 17 March 2020
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (0) Fabiano Caruana (0) ½–½
Ding Liren (0) Wang Hao (0) 0–1
Anish Giri (0) Ian Nepomniachtchi (0) 0–1
Alexander Grischuk (0) Kirill Alekseenko (0) ½–½
Round 2 – 18 March 2020
Fabiano Caruana (½) Kirill Alekseenko (½) 1–0
Ian Nepomniachtchi (1) Alexander Grischuk (½) ½–½
Wang Hao (1) Anish Giri (0) ½–½
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (½) Ding Liren (0) 1–0
Round 3 – 19 March 2020
Ding Liren (0) Fabiano Caruana (1½) 1–0
Anish Giri (½) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (1½) ½–½
Alexander Grischuk (1) Wang Hao (1½) ½–½
Kirill Alekseenko (½) Ian Nepomniachtchi (1½) ½–½
Round 4 – 21 March 2020
Fabiano Caruana (1½) Ian Nepomniachtchi (2) ½–½
Wang Hao (2) Kirill Alekseenko (1) ½–½
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2) Alexander Grischuk (1½) ½–½
Ding Liren (1) Anish Giri (1) ½–½
Round 5 – 22 March 2020
Anish Giri (1½) Fabiano Caruana (2) ½–½
Alexander Grischuk (2) Ding Liren (1½) ½–½
Kirill Alekseenko (1½) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2½) ½–½
Ian Nepomniachtchi (2½) Wang Hao (2½) 1–0
Round 6 – 23 March 2020
Alexander Grischuk (2½) Fabiano Caruana (2½) ½–½
Kirill Alekseenko (2) Anish Giri (2) 0–1
Ian Nepomniachtchi (3½) Ding Liren (2) 1–0
Wang Hao (2½) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (3) ½–½
Round 7 – 25 March 2020
Fabiano Caruana (3) Wang Hao (3) ½–½
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (3½) Ian Nepomniachtchi (4½) 1–0
Ding Liren (2) Kirill Alekseenko (2) ½–½
Anish Giri (3) Alexander Grischuk (3) ½–½
Round 8 – TBD
Fabiano Caruana (3½) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (4½) TBD
Wang Hao (3½) Ding Liren (2½) TBD
Ian Nepomniachtchi (4½) Anish Giri (3½) TBD
Kirill Alekseenko (2½) Alexander Grischuk (3½) TBD
Round 9 – TBD
Kirill Alekseenko (TBD) Fabiano Caruana (TBD) TBD
Alexander Grischuk (TBD) Ian Nepomniachtchi (TBD) TBD
Anish Giri (TBD) Wang Hao (TBD) TBD
Ding Liren (TBD) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (TBD) TBD
Round 10 – TBD
Fabiano Caruana (TBD) Ding Liren (TBD) TBD
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (TBD) Anish Giri (TBD) TBD
Wang Hao (TBD) Alexander Grischuk (TBD) TBD
Ian Nepomniachtchi (TBD) Kirill Alekseenko (TBD) TBD
Round 11 – TBD
Ian Nepomniachtchi (TBD) Fabiano Caruana (TBD) TBD
Kirill Alekseenko (TBD) Wang Hao (TBD) TBD
Alexander Grischuk (TBD) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (TBD) TBD
Anish Giri (TBD) Ding Liren (TBD) TBD
Round 12 – TBD
Fabiano Caruana (TBD) Anish Giri (TBD) TBD
Ding Liren (TBD) Alexander Grischuk (TBD) TBD
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (TBD) Kirill Alekseenko (TBD) TBD
Wang Hao (TBD) Ian Nepomniachtchi (TBD) TBD
Round 13 – TBD
Wang Hao (TBD) Fabiano Caruana (TBD) TBD
Ian Nepomniachtchi (TBD) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (TBD) TBD
Kirill Alekseenko (TBD) Ding Liren (TBD) TBD
Alexander Grischuk (TBD) Anish Giri (TBD) TBD
Round 14 – TBD
Fabiano Caruana (TBD) Alexander Grischuk (TBD) TBD
Anish Giri (TBD) Kirill Alekseenko (TBD) TBD
Ding Liren (TBD) Ian Nepomniachtchi (TBD) TBD
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (TBD) Wang Hao (TBD) TBD

Points by roundEdit

For each player, the difference between wins and losses after each round is shown. The players with the highest difference for each round are marked with green background. The players with no more chance of advancing to the title match, in each round, are marked with red background.

Current
Rank
Player Rounds
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1–2   Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) = +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
1–2   Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) +1 +1 +1 +1 +2 +3 +2 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
3–6   Fabiano Caruana (USA) = +1 = = = = = TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
3–6   Anish Giri (NED) −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 = = TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
3–6   Wang Hao (CHN) +1 +1 +1 +1 = = = TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
3–6   Alexander Grischuk (RUS) = = = = = = = TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
7–8   Ding Liren (CHN) −1 −2 −1 −1 −1 −2 −2 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
7–8   Kirill Alekseenko (RUS) = −1 −1 −1 −1 −2 −2 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Candidates Tournament to Take Place in Yekaterinburg from March 15 till April 5, 11 November 2019, Chess Federation of Russia
  2. ^ "Breaking News: FIDE stops the Candidates Tournament!". Chess News. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  3. ^ Bidding Procedure for the FIDE Candidates' Tournament 2020, FIDE, 8 March 2020
  4. ^ a b c d e Regulations for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020, FIDE
  5. ^ Top 100 Players March 2020 - Archive, FIDE
  6. ^ a b c "Teimour Radjabov to be replaced by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the Candidates Tournament". FIDE. 6 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "MVL to play the Candidates instead of Radjabov". chess24.com. 6 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b “Ruchess - Statement of the CFR President:"Andrey Filatov: Kirill Alekseenko to Get Wild Card from Organizer of FIDE Candidates Tournament (23 December, 2019)”
  9. ^ FIDE Top 100 lists for 2019: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December; January 2020
  10. ^ Chess: France’s top player clings to a slender hope of Candidates place, Leonard Barden, The Guardian, 20 Dec 2019
  11. ^ Chess: France’s top player clings to a slender hope of Candidates place, Leonard Barden, The Guardian, 20 December 2019
  12. ^ Ian Nepomniachtchi wins Jerusalem Grand Prix, qualifies to Candidates, Chessbase, December 23, 2019
  13. ^ Vachier-Lagrave appeals for Candidates wild card, Chessbase, December 23, 2019
  14. ^ Doggers (PeterDoggers), Peter. "Alekseenko's Candidates Participation Confirmed As MVL Appeals With Open Letter". Chess.com. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  15. ^ McGourty, Colin (9 February 2020). "Alekseenko: "The Candidates wild card should be abolished"". chess24.
  16. ^ FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020: Full pairings announced, FIDE, 14 Feb 2020
  17. ^ About, FIDE Candidates 2020, FIDE
  18. ^ Coronavirus Affecting Chinese Candidates Preparation, chess.com, Feb 10 2020
  19. ^ Corona virus threatening the Candidates: Can Ding Liren and Wang Hao make it?, Perlen vom Bodensee – das Schachmagazin, Feb 4 2020
  20. ^ a b Statement regarding the Chinese delegation for the Candidates tournament, FIDE, 19 Feb 2020
  21. ^ https://apnews.com/53807043ed9717cef57be773c181b60d Russia to let in Chinese with business visas amid entry ban, Associated Press, February 20, 2020
  22. ^ FIDE announcement, Twitter, March 3, 2020
  23. ^ Radjabov withdraws from Candidates, Vachier-Lagrave to jump in, Chessbase, March 6, 2020
  24. ^ a b Regarding my withdrawal from the tournament..., Teymur Rajabov, Instagram, March 7, 2020
  25. ^ a b Health and safety measures at the FIDE Candidates Tournament, FIDE, 7 March 2020
  26. ^ FIDE Qualification Commission: Coronavirus Announcement, FIDE, 14 March 2020
  27. ^ FIDE Candidates Tournament starts in Yekaterinburg on March 16, FIDE, 13 March 2020
  28. ^ The #Candidates2020 protocol for coronavirus is as follows:, Ian Rogers, Twitter, March 18, 2020
  29. ^ "FIDE stops the Candidates Tournament". FIDE. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  30. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWIdsKzu1DQ&feature=youtu.be&t=2604. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ Doggers (PeterDoggers), Peter. "Teimour Radjabov: "I should consult a lawyer"". Chess.com. Retrieved 30 March 2020.

External linksEdit