Candidates Tournament key points

Players of the 2020/21 Candidates Chess Tournament

The Candidates Tournament will resume more than a year after its postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After a start on which from the first day the shadow of a suspension that finally ended up happening and after an unsuccessful attempt to resume in November, the 2020 Candidates Tournament will enter its final stretch from next April 19th.

The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Yekaterinburg will once again host the decisive rounds of an event that will entitle the winner to challenge for the title of World Champion against Magnus Carlsen from November 24th to December 16th at the Dubai World Expo.

Tournament status

The Candidates was postponed after seven rounds on March 25, 2020 due to the advance of the pandemic around the world and the uncertainty caused by the closure of communications worldwide. But the tournament's link to the coronavirus did not start there. Several weeks before the start of the Candidates, the Azeri player Teimour Radjabov, reject his place as World Cup champion for fear of the coronavirus. There were not a few voices calling, therefore, for his replay in the competition. However, such a decision could have caused more harm than good.

In his place came Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who coincidentally leads the competition with 4.5 points in the 7 games played together with the Russian, Ian Nepomniachtchi. Behind them, at a distance of one point, are Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Hao Wang and Alexander Grischuk. With 2.5 points close the table Liren Ding and Kirill Alekseenko.

Ranking Player ELO (initial) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Points Sonnen
1 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2767 X 1 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1 1/2 4.5/7 15.25
2 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2774 0 X 1/2 1 1 1/2 1 1/2 4.5/7 14.25
3 Caruana, Fabiano 2842 1/2 1/2 X 1/2 1/2 1/2 0 1 3.5/7 12.25
4 Giri, Anish 2763 1/2 0 1/2 X 1/2 1/2 1/2 1 3.5/7 11.25
5 Wang, Hao 2762 1/2 0 1/2 1/2 X 1/2 1 1/2 3.5/7 11.25
6 Grischuk, Alexander 2777 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 X 1/2 1/2 3.5/7 12.25
7 Ding Liren 2805 0 0 1 1/2 0 1/2 X 1/2 2.5/7 8.25
8 Alekseenko, Kirill 2698 1/2 1/2 0 0 1/2 1/2 1/2 X 2.5/7 9.25

It is important the tie-breaks, in view of a predictably close final standings, the tie-breaking criteria are: individual result, number of wins and Sonnenborn-Berger.

What is the Sonnenborn-Berger tiebreaker?

This tie-breaker consists on the sum of: the total points of the opponents that we beat, plus half of those with whom we drew and nothing if we lost against the opponent.

Upcoming rounds

As the event is suspended at the halfway point, all players will play each of the participants once. Therefore, the number of games each player plays with white pieces can be one of the decisive factors in predicting a favorite.

Players Games with white Games with black
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 3 4
Nepomniachtchi, Ian 4 3
Caruana, Fabiano 4 3
Giri, Anish 3 4
Wang, Hao 4 3
Grischuk, Alexander 3 4
Ding Liren 3 4
Alekseenko, Kirill 4 3

For example, the tournament leader, Vachier-Lagrave, will have to face with black two of the main favorites: Caruana and Nepomniachtchi. If he manages to take half a point in each game or one point in the first two rounds (where he will also face Liren Ding with black pieces), he could become the main favorite to win the tournament.

Schedules, control time and prizes

The final sprint to find out who will be Magnus Carlsen's challenger will only have two rest days on April 22th and 25th. Therefore, the arrangement of the rounds is as follows:

Round Dates
Round 8 April 19th
Round 9 April 20th
Round 10 April 21th
Rest Day April 22th
Round 11 April 23th
Round 12 April 24th
Rest Day April 25th
Round 13 April 26th
Round 14 April 27th
Play-off games April 28th

The control time will be 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, plus 50 minutes until reaching 60, plus 15 minutes until the end of the game. There will be an increment after each move of 30 seconds per player. In addition, draws by mutual agreement before move 40 are prohibited.

The prize pool is 500,000 euros tax-free. The winnings for each player will be distributed proportionally to the points obtained by each player.

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