Everything you should know about the Chess World Cup 2021

FIDE Chess World Cup 2021 Logo

The event, which will begin on July 10th, will be attended by the best players from the five continents.

The Chess World Cup, one of the most important and awaited tournaments of the World Chess Championship cycle, will start next July 10th in Sochi (Russia). This tournament has a knockout format and will face the best players from the five continents in both open and women's categories.

This Chess World Cup is one of the events that grants places to play the 2022 Candidates Tournament, where the new challenger for the title of world champion of the winner of the match between Ian Nepomniatchtchi and Magnus Carlsen will be known. Specifically, the two players who manage to get through the seven heats prior to the final will get their ticket to the Candidates. However, if one of the finalists is already qualified, his place will be taken by the first player below him (and above fifth place) who has not already been classified. In Women's tournament the top three players will classified to the Candidates Tournament.

The Galaxy Entertainment And Leisure Complex, a luxurious 50,000-square-foot venue, will host the competition.

Photo of the city where the 2021 chess world cup will be held

System and time control

From the first round of pairings players will have 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes more from move 41, all with an increment of 30 seconds per move.

In each match two games will be played, alternating colors, on two consecutive days. If the result is a tie, a third day will be allotted to break the tie by rapid, blitz or armaggedon games if necessary.

Two games will be played with 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment per move for each player. If the tie persists, they will have to play two new games at 10/10. If the players are still tied, there will be two games at 5/3. If after the six tie-breaking games none of the contenders has won, a game will be played in which White will have 5 minutes to Black's 4, but will be forced to win. Also, to add to the tension, there will be no increment until move 61.


Participants in the World Chess Cup

Photo of the top 10 chess players in the 2021 World Chess Cup

This year's event brings with it an increase in the number of participants. Thus, 206 players in the open category and 156 women will try to win the tournament.

In the first round, the top seeds will be exempt from participating. Therefore, the main stars of the event (Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri or Shakhiriyar Mamedyarov in the open category and Aleksandra Goryachkina, Kateryna Lagno or the Muzychuck sisters in the women's draw) will advance directly to the second round.

TOP 10 woman players of the FIDE World Cup 2021

FIDE Chess World Cup Prizes more than 2.500.000$

In addition to qualification for the respective Candidates Tournaments, the event's prize purse amounts to US$1,892,500 in the open category and US$676,250 in the women's category.

Chess World Cup Schedule

The first games will start on July 12th at 14:00 CEST, while round 1 will end on July 14th. From this day, successively, round 2 and 3 will be held before the rest day on July 21th. Rounds 4 and 5 will be completed before the final rest day on July 28th. The women's championship tiebreakers are dated for Aug. 3th, while the open championship tiebreakers will be Aug. 6th.


Last June 22th, FIDE made public the pairings tables for the two tournaments. Thus, it should be noted that Magnus Carlsen will face in the second round the winner between Kulaots and Martinovic in his quest to get one of the few elite tournaments he has left to get. Meanwhile, Caruana will await the winner between Megaranto and Ghaem.

All matchups can be found at the following link.

COVID Protocol at the 2021 Chess World Cup

The organization has make a strict protocol to guarantee the safety of the participants during the event. Therefore, attendees will have to present a negative diagnostic test upon arrival in Russia and will have to undergo mandatory PCRs before the start of the competition and during the tournament. In addition, they will be granted the possibility to make optional tests.

In addition, the temperature will be checked before entering the game room and the use of face masks is recommended whenever sharing indoor spaces where the safety distance cannot be respected. However, contestants will be allowed to play the games without a mask.

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