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World Chess Championship 2020

The World Chess Championship 2020 will be a chess match between the reigning World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and a challenger to determine the World Chess Champion. It will be held in the latter half of 2020, under the auspices of FIDE, the world chess federation, with the organisation rights belonging to World Chess, its commercial partner.[1]

Defending champion Challenger
Magnus Carlsen
 Magnus Carlsen (NOR) TBD
Born 30 November 1990
28 years old
Winner of the World Chess Championship 2018 Winner of the Candidates Tournament 2020
Rating: TBD Rating: TBD
2018 2022 →

Candidates TournamentEdit

The challenger will be the winner of a Candidates Tournament, which will be an eight-player tournament played in Yekaterinburg, Russia, from 15 March to 5 April 2020.[2]

The qualifiers for the Candidates Tournament will be:[3][4]

Qualification method Player
2018 World Championship runner-up   Fabiano Caruana
The top two finishers at the 2019 World Chess Cup   Teimour Radjabov (winner)
  Ding Liren (runner-up)
The top finisher in the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2019 (who does not qualify by one of the above methods, and is not Carlsen).   Wang Hao (winner)
The top two finishers in the FIDE Grand Prix 2019 (who do not qualify by one of the above methods). In progress: ends 2019-12-24

Current leaders:   Maxime Vachier-Lagrave,   Alexander Grischuk

Highest average rating (who does not qualify by one of the above methods, and is not Carlsen). Current leader:   Anish Giri
Wild card chosen by organizer, subject to eligibility criteria. Organizers have indicated it will be a Russian player.[2]

If one or more players decline the invitation to play in the Candidates Tournament, the players with the next highest average ratings will qualify.

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

Qualifier by ratingEdit

The qualifier on rating is the player with the highest average rating for the 12 ratings periods from February 2019 to January 2020, who does not qualify by another method. To be eligible, a player must have played at least 30 games during these 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 November 2019.[5] It includes the first eleven players except for world champion Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana (who qualifies as the 2018 challenger) and Ding Liren (who qualifies as a finalist of the 2019 World Cup). All of these players have already met the above game count requirements. The current leader for this qualification path is Anish Giri.

Rank Player Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan 2020 Total Average
4   Anish Giri 2797 2797 2797 2787 2779 2779 2779 2780 2780 2776 27851 2785.1
5   Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2780 2775 2773 2780 2779 2775 2778 2774 2774 2777 27765 2776.5
6   Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2790 2790 2793 2781 2774 2765 2764 2767 2767 2772 27763 2776.3
7   Ian Nepomniachtchi 2771 2771 2773 2773 2775 2775 2774 2776 2776 2773 27737 2773.7
8   Viswanathan Anand 2779 2779 2774 2774 2767 2764 2756 2765 2765 2757 27680 2768.0
9   Alexander Grischuk 2771 2771 2771 2772 2775 2766 2759 2759 2759 2764 27667 2766.7
10   Wesley So 2765 2762 2762 2754 2754 2763 2776 2767 2767 2760 27630 2763.0
11   Levon Aronian 2767 2761 2763 2762 2752 2756 2765 2758 2758 2772 27614 2761.4

Wild cardEdit

One wild card is selected by the organizer. This player must participate in at least two of the three qualifying tournaments (World Cup, Grand Swiss and Grand Prix) and must also meet 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 top 10 by average rating from February 2019 to January 2020.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave came third in the World Cup and participated in the Grand Prix. Kirill Alekseenko was the highest qualifier in the Grand Swiss (he came third, but the runner-up Fabiano Caruana was already qualified) and also participated in the World Cup. These two players are thus eligible for the wild card if they do not qualify by another method.

All other players in the above table except for Viswanathan Anand took part in both the World Cup and the Grand Prix and would thus be eligible to be picked as the wild card player if they end up in the top ten by average rating and do not qualify by another path. Viswanathan Anand only participated in the Grand Swiss and thus is 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 [...]."[2] Alekseenko is currently the only eligible Russian, though Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexander Grischuk are likely to be eligible on average rating if they do not qualify via the Grand Prix.

Eligible for wild card nomination Player
The highest non-qualifier in the World Cup   Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
The highest non-qualifier in the Grand Swiss   Kirill Alekseenko
The highest non-qualifier in the Grand Prix TBD
Other non-qualifiers in the top 10 by average rating from February 2019 to January 2020. TBD. Currently in the eligible positions:   Anish Giri,   Shakhriyar Mamedyarov,   Ian Nepomniachtchi,   Alexander Grischuk,   Wesley So

Championship matchEdit


The match will be a best-of-14 match, with tie breaks. This was increased from best-of-12 (in place for every world championship match since 2006), after all 12 regular games were drawn in the previous match in 2018.[6]


Bids were to be presented no later than on 1 March 2019 to World Chess, with an inspection at the proposed venues to be made between 1 July and 15 August 2019.[7]

In 2018, Monaco and Vienna expressed intention to bid for the event, [8] as has Saint Petersburg.[citation needed]

Stavanger, Norway announced a bid in March 2019, but withdrew its bid in June 2019, after Carlsen expressed reluctance to play the match in Norway.[9][10]

In November 2019, at the Hamburg Grand Prix Opening Ceremony, FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich announced that FIDE had received bids from UAE and Argentina to host the match.[11]


  1. ^ "Bidding opens to Host the 2020 World Chess Candidates Tournament". FIDE. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Candidates Tournament to Take Place in Yekaterinburg from March 15 till April 5, 11 November 2019, Chess Federation of Russia
  3. ^ Bidding Procedure for the FIDE Candidates' Tournament 2020, FIDE, 8 March 2020
  4. ^ a b Regulations for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020, FIDE
  5. ^ FIDE Top 100 lists for 2019: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
  6. ^ FIDE updates and the World Championship cycle, Chessbase, April 26 2019
  7. ^ "Championship Match 2020 - The Bidding Procedure" (PDF). WorldChess. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Vienna vies for 2020 World Championship". 13 September 2018.
  9. ^ Norway not to bid for the 2020 World Chess Championship, Norway Chess press release, June, 27 2019
  10. ^ "Stavanger, Norway Withdraws 2020 World Champs Bid After Carlsen Pressure". 9 July 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  11. ^ Hamburg GP starts as Candidates race heats up,, 5 November 2019