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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020: Pairings Announced

Today the pairings for the FIDE Candidates Tournament were announced. The tournament will be held March 15-April 5 in Yekaterinburg, Russia and will determine the opponent for Magnus Carlsen in the next title match. At a ceremony in the offices of the Russian Ministry of Sports in Moscow, the drawing of lots for the Candidates…

FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020: Pairings Announced



FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020: Pairings Announced thumbnail

FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020: Pairings Announced

Today the pairings for the FIDE Candidates Tournament were announced. The tournament will be held March 15-April 5 in Yekaterinburg, Russia and will determine the opponent for Magnus Carlsen in the next title match.

At a ceremony in the offices of the Russian Ministry of Sports in Moscow, the drawing of lots for the Candidates Tournament was performed. This led to the following numbers for the players: 1 Teimour Radjabov, 2 Ding Liren, 3 Anish Giri, 4 Alexander Grischuk, 5 Kirill Alekseenko, 6 Ian Nepomniachtchi, 7 Wang Hao, 8 Fabiano Caruana.

This means that the pairings for the first round, on March 17, are: Radjabov-Caruana, Ding Liren-Wang Hao, Giri-Nepomniachtchi, and Grischuk-Alekseenko. (Full pairings are given below.)

As the regulations stipulate, players from the same country are facing each other in the early rounds. The two Chinese players meet in rounds 1 and 8, and the three Russians play each other in rounds 1-3 and 8-10.

Present at the ceremony were Oleg Matytsin, Russia’s responsible Minister of Sports; Anastasia Myskina, a highly successful Russian tennis player and winner of Roland Garros in 2004; Arkady Dvorkovich, the FIDE President; and Anatoly Bykhovsky, a legendary Russian coach.

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich: “We’re glad that Russia, a long-time partner of FIDE, is hosting the #FIDECandidates, the key leg of the WC cycle. There will be players from China, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, USA & Russia and we welcome all #chess lovers to visit Yekaterinburg”

— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) February 14, 2020

“Before we started here, we discussed with Anastasia Myskina that a lot of great sports are called ‘chess in motion.’ Football is ‘chess in motion,’ tennis also, but the great game of chess is always there as the game itself, and the best chess players are admired all over the world,” said Matytsin, adding:

“Russia is known for its chess traditions, and we’re happy to host such a great tournament. We can guarantee that the organizational level will be top-notch as always for the events hosted by Russia.”

The FIDE Candidates Tournament is one of the most important events of 2020. Eight players will fight for a chance to play Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship later in the year. Here’s all of the information currently available.


Results will be available here during the match.

Watch on

  • You can watch the games live at with computer analysis, live chat and video commentary by GM Robert Hess, IM Danny Rensch and special guests, including super-grandmasters. Our live broadcast will also be available on

  • Daily news recaps will be posted on the news pages with in-depth grandmaster analysis of the games.
  • Further recap videos will be published on YouTube with more GM analysis.
  • On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we’ll provide the latest news, photos, rumors and more from the tournament.


The tournament runs between March 15 and April 5, 2020. The opening ceremony and technical meeting for the players take place on March 16, and the first round is on March 17. After every three rounds, there is a rest day. The 14th and last round is scheduled for April 3, and a possible tiebreak and the closing ceremony is a day later.


Date Event
March 15 Arrivals
March 16 Opening Ceremony & Technical Meeting
March 17 Round 1
March 18 Round 2
March 19 Round 3
March 20 Free Day
March 21 Round 4
March 22 Round 5
March 23 Round 6
March 24 Free Day
March 25 Round 7
March 26 Round 8
March 27 Round 9
March 28 Free Day
March 29 Round 10
March 30 Round 11
March 31 Round 12
April 01 Free Day
April 02 Round 13
April 03 Round 14
April 04 Tie-breaks & Closing Ceremony
April 05 Departures


The venue for the tournament is the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Yekaterinburg, Russia. This is also where the players will be staying.

Hyatt Regency Hotel in Yekaterinburg, Russia
The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Yekaterinburg, Russia.


2020 Candidates Tournament | Participants

# Fed Name Rating Rank B-Year
1 Caruana, Fabiano 2842 2 1992
2 Ding Liren 2805 3 1992
3 Grischuk, Alexander 2777 4 1983
4 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2774 5 1990
5 Radjabov, Teimour 2765 10 1987
6 Giri, Anish 2763 11 1994
7 Wang Hao 2758 14 1989
8 Alekseenko, Kirill 2704 35 1997

Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana (2842, USA) qualified as the runner-up in the 2018 World Championship. He won the Candidates Tournament in 2018 and eventually lost to Carlsen in the title match. Caruana came second in the 2016 Candidates Tournament behind Sergey Karjakin.

Ding Liren

Ding Liren (2805, China) qualified as the runner-up in the 2019 FIDE World Cup. This is his second time he will play a Candidates Tournament; in 2018, the Chinese GM came fourth with 13 draws and one win.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk (2777, Russia) qualified as the winner of the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix. He played Candidates Matches in both 2007 and 2011. In both the 2013 and 2018 tournaments, he tied for fifth place with 6.5/14.

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi (2774, Russia) qualified as the runner-up of the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix. He is playing his first Candidates Tournament.

Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov (2765, Azerbaijan) qualified as the winner of the 2019 FIDE World Cup. In 2011 he was eliminated by Vladimir Kramnik in the first round of the Candidates Matches. In 2013, he came eighth and last in the tournament.

Anish Giri

Anish Giri (2763, Netherlands) qualified as the player with the highest average rating for 12 rating periods from February 2019 to January 2020. It’s the second Candidates Tournament for the Dutchman; he tied for fourth place in 2016 with 14 draws.

Wang Hao

Wang Hao (2758, China) qualified as the winner of the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss. He is playing his first Candidates Tournament.

Kirill Alekseenko

Kirill Alekseenko (2704, Russia) is the wildcard. He was eligible to be selected as a wildcard due to placing third in the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss. He is playing his first Candidates Tournament.


Round 1 17.03.20 Time Round 8 26.03.20 Time
Radjabov Caruana Caruana Radjabov
Ding Liren Wang Hao Wang Hao Ding Liren
Giri Nepomniachtchi Nepomniachtchi Giri
Grischuk Alekseenko Alekseenko Grischuk
Round 2 18.03.20 Time Round 9 27.03.20 Time
Caruana Alekseenko Alekseenko Caruana
Nepomniachtchi Grischuk Grischuk Nepomniachtchi
Wang Hao Giri Giri Wang Hao
Radjabov Ding Liren Ding Liren Radjabov
Round 3 19.03.20 Time Round 10 29.03.20 Time
Ding Liren Caruana Caruana Ding Liren
Giri Radjabov Radjabov Giri
Grischuk Wang Hao Wang Hao Grischuk
Alekseenko Nepomniachtchi Nepomniachtchi Alekseenko
Round 4 21.03.20 Time Round 11 30.03.20 Time
Caruana Nepomniachtchi Nepomniachtchi Caruana
Wang Hao Alekseenko Alekseenko Wang Hao
Radjabov Grischuk Grischuk Radjabov
Ding Liren Giri Giri Ding Liren
Round 5 22.03.20 Time Round 12 31.03.20 Time
Giri Caruana Caruana Giri
Grischuk Ding Liren Ding Liren Grischuk
Alekseenko Radjabov Radjabov Alekseenko
Nepomniachtchi Wang Hao Wang Hao Nepomniachtchi
Round 6 23.03.20 Time Round 13 02.04.20 Time
Grischuk Caruana Wang Hao Caruana
Alekseenko Giri Nepomniachtchi Radjabov
Nepomniachtchi Ding Liren Alekseenko Ding Liren
Wang Hao Radjabov Grischuk Giri
Round 7 25.03.20 Time Round 14 03.04.20 Time
Caruana Wang Hao Caruana Grischuk
Radjabov Nepomniachtchi Giri Alekseenko
Ding Liren Alekseenko Ding Liren Nepomniachtchi
Giri Grischuk Radjabov Wang Hao

Prize fund

The total prize fund is 500,000 euros ($542,158). The amount is net and cleared of any local taxes. All prize money is divided equally between players who have the same score after 14 rounds.


The official regulations can be found in PDF here. These are the most important things to know:

  • The eight players play a double round-robin tournament (14 rounds). The winner qualifies for the 2020 FIDE World Chess Championship Match.
  • The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves, then 15 minutes to finish the game with a 30-second increment starting from the first move.
  • The players cannot draw a game by agreement before Black’s 40th move. A claim for a draw before Black’s 40th move is permitted only through the Chief Arbiter or his Deputy in case of threefold repetition.
  • If two or more players score the same number of points, the tie is decided by the following criteria, in order of priority:

    a) The results of the games between the players involved in the tie.

    b) Each tied player’s total number of wins in the tournament.

    c) Sonneborn-Berger System.
  • If there are two players in a tie for the first place, a rapid and blitz tiebreak playoff will be held between these players to determine the winner and the runner-up.


The Candidates Tournament has a long tradition. It was first held in 1950 in Budapest where David Bronstein and Isaac Boleslavsky tied for first place. Bronstein then won a match between the two and tied the world championship match with Mikhail Botvinnik. Botvinnik thus retained his title.

The second, the 1953 Candidates Tournament in Zurich, is possibly the most famous edition of all because of Bronstein’s brilliant book about it. It was won by Vassily Smyslov, who also drew his world championship match with Botvinnik. Three years later, Smyslov won the next tournament in Amsterdam and then defeated Botvinnik to become the world champion.

Boris Spassky, Viktor Korchnoi, and Viswanathan Anand are the only other players who qualified for another title match (not counting rematches guaranteed to a defeated champion) after losing a first match. Spassky lost his first match to Petrosian in 1966, but he beat Petrosian in 1969 to become the champion. Korchnoi lost both matches to Anatoly Karpov, in 1978 and 1981.

In modern times, the 2013 Candidates Tournament in London was particularly dramatic and historic. In a two-horse race for first place between Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik, the two were tied when they both lost their final-round game. Carlsen was declared the winner based on the second tiebreak (number of wins) and went on to beat Vishy Anand later that year.

Carlsen successfully defended his title against Anand, who won the 2014 Candidates Tournament, against Sergey Karjakin (2016) and against Caruana (2018). His next opponent will be known on April 4 at the latest.

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