2020-2021 FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament: All The Info

2020-2021 FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament: All The Info

| 273 | Chess Players

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi won the 2020/21 FIDE Candidates tournament and will challenge world champion GM Magnus Carlsen for the world championship beginning in November 2021. Nepomniachtchi won the tournament by playing well in both halves while several rivals struggled in one half or the other.

The tournament began on March 17, 2020 and Nepomniachtchi's wins over GM Anish Giri in round one, GM Wang Hao in round five, and GM Ding Liren in round six brought him into first place. Even after a loss to GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in round seven, Nepomniachtchi held a share of first when the tournament was suspended midway through on March 26 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When the tournament resumed on April 19, 2021, Nepomniachtchi's wins in round 10 over GM Kirill Alekseenko and round 12 over Wang gave him a dominating tournament position, especially after GM Fabiano Caruana lost to Giri in the same round. Nepomniachtchi's draw in round 13 while Giri lost to GM Alexander Grischuk gave Nepomniachtchi the tournament victory with a round left.

Nepomnaichtchi scored 8.5/14 in the tournament, while Vachier-Lagrave ended up second on 8/14, Giri and Caruana third at 7.5/14, Ding and Grischuk in a fifth-place tie at 7/14, Alekseenko in seventh at 5.5/14, and Wang in last place at 5/14. After the tournament, Wang Hao announced his retirement from competitive chess due to health issues.

All games

Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts
1 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2774 2849 ½½ 10 ½½ ½1 11 8.5/14
2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2767 2824 ½½ ½0 ½0 ½1 ½1 8.0/14
3 Anish Giri 2763 2799 ½½ ½1 ½1 ½0 10 ½1 7.5/14
4 Fabiano Caruana 2842 2789 ½½ ½1 ½0 ½½ ½1 7.5/14
5 Ding Liren 2805 2769 01 ½0 ½1 ½1 7.0/14
6 Alexander Grischuk 2777 2773 ½½ ½1 ½1 ½½ ½0 ½0 ½½ 7.0/14
7 Kirill Alekseenko 2698 2708 ½0 ½0 01 ½0 ½1 ½½ 5.5/14
8 Wang Hao 2762 2674 00 ½0 ½0 ½0 ½½ ½½ 5.0/14

(Tiebreaks: 1. Mutual score, 2. Number of wins, 3. Sonneborn-Berger.)'s coverage of the FIDE Candidates Tournament brought to you by GRIP6 is sure to be exciting. The FIDE Candidates Tournament is one of the most important events of 2020 and 2021. Eight players fight for a chance to play GM Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship later in the year. The 2020 FIDE Candidates Tournament was interrupted halfway due to the ongoing pandemic. It resumed on April 19, 2021Here's all of the information:

Pairings And Results

Round 1 17.03.20 16:00 GMT+5 Round 8 19.04.21 16:00 GMT+5
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Caruana Caruana 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave
Ding Liren 0-1 Wang Hao Wang Hao ½-½ Ding Liren
Giri 0-1 Nepomniachtchi Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Giri
Grischuk ½-½ Alekseenko Alekseenko 1-0 Grischuk
Round 2 18.03.20 16:00 GMT+5 Round 9 20.04.21 16:00 GMT+5
Caruana 1-0 Alekseenko Alekseenko ½-½ Caruana
Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Grischuk Grischuk ½-½ Nepomniachtchi
Wang Hao ½-½ Giri Giri 1-0 Wang Hao
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Ding Liren Ding Liren ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Round 3 19.03.20 16:00 GMT+5 Round 10 21.04.21 16:00 GMT+5
Ding Liren 1-0 Caruana Caruana ½-½ Ding Liren
Giri ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Giri
Grischuk ½-½ Wang Hao Wang Hao ½-½ Grischuk
Alekseenko ½-½ Nepomniachtchi Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Alekseenko
Round 4 21.03.20 16:00 GMT+5 Round 11 23.04.21 16:00 GMT+5
Caruana ½-½ Nepomniachtchi Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Caruana
Wang Hao ½-½ Alekseenko Alekseenko ½-½ Wang Hao
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Grischuk Grischuk 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave
Ding Liren ½-½ Giri Giri 1-0 Ding Liren
Round 5 22.03.20 16:00 GMT+5 Round 12 24.04.21 16:00 GMT+5
Giri ½-½ Caruana Caruana 0-1 Giri
Grischuk ½-½ Ding Liren Ding Liren 1-0 Grischuk
Alekseenko ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Alekseenko
Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Wang Hao Wang Hao 0-1 Nepomniachtchi
Round 6 23.03.20 16:00 GMT+5 Round 13 26.04.21 16:00 GMT+5
Grischuk ½-½ Caruana Wang Hao 0-1 Caruana
Alekseenko 0-1 Giri Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Ding Liren Alekseenko 0-1 Ding Liren
Wang Hao ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Grischuk 1-0 Giri
Round 7 25.03.20 16:00 GMT+5 Round 14 27.04.21 16:00 GMT+5
Caruana ½-½ Wang Hao Caruana ½-½ Grischuk
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Nepomniachtchi Giri 0-1 Alekseenko
Ding Liren ½-½ Alekseenko Ding Liren 1-0 Nepomniachtchi
Giri ½-½ Grischuk Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Wang Hao

On February 14, at a ceremony in the offices of the Russian Ministry of Sports in Moscow, the drawing of lots 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.

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.

Watch On

Check out all of the FIDE Candidates action live at You can also watch the live broadcast on with live chat and commentary by five-time world champion GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Wesley So, GM Robert Hess, IM Danny Rensch, and other special guests. As acquired the broadcast rights, our show will also have video footage of the players and the playing hall!

  • 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.

Find here all the information about our coverage in Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Polish, Turkish, and Korean! commentators FIDE Candidates
Our commentary team for the FIDE Candidates.


The tournament was originally planned for March 15 - April 5, 2020. The opening ceremony and technical meeting for the players took place on March 16, and the first round was on March 17. After every three rounds, there is a rest day. The second half is now scheduled for April 19-27 and a possible tiebreak and the closing ceremony will be on April 28, 2021.

FIDE Candidates Tournament Schedule


Date Local time Europe Pacific Event
March 15, 2020 Arrivals
March 16, 2020 Opening Ceremony & Technical Meeting
March 17, 2020 16:00 12:00 4 a.m. Round 1
March 18, 2020 16:00 12:00 4 a.m. Round 2
March 19, 2020 16:00 12:00 4 a.m. Round 3
March 20, 2020 Free Day
March 21, 2020 16:00 12:00 4 a.m. Round 4
March 22, 2020 16:00 12:00 4 a.m. Round 5
March 23, 2020 16:00 12:00 4 a.m. Round 6
March 24, 2020 Free Day
March 25, 2020 16:00 12:00 4 a.m. Round 7
April 19, 2021 16:00 13:00 4 a.m. Round 8
April 20, 2021 16:00 13:00 4 a.m. Round 9
April 21, 2021 16:00 13:00 4 a.m. Round 10
April 22, 2021 Free day
April 23, 2021 16:00 13:00 4 a.m. Round 11
April 24, 2021 16:00 13:00 4 a.m. Round 12
April 25, 2021 Free day
April 26, 2021 16:00 13:00 4 a.m. Round 13
April 27, 2021 16:00 13:00 4 a.m. Round 14
April 28, 2021 Tie-breaks & Closing Ceremony


The venue of the tournament is the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

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

The official website is


FIDE Candidates Tournament format.


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 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2767 8 1990
6 Giri, Anish 2763 11 1994
7 Wang Hao 2762 12 1989
8 Alekseenko, Kirill 2698 39 1997

FIDE Candidates Tournament players.

Fabiano Caruana (27)

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 (27)

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 (36)

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 (29)

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

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (29)

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2767, France) is a replacement for Teimour Radjabov, who withdrew from the tournament after his request to postpone the tournament due to the coronavirus was not granted. MVL is playing his first Candidates Tournament.

Anish Giri (25)

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 (30)

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

Kirill Alekseenko (22)

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.

Prize Fund

The total prize fund is 500,000 euros ($557.720,00). 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.

Fantasy Contest

You can play in's Candidates Fantasy Contest during the tournament for your chance at a share of $5,000 and premium memberships. Draft your team now and follow the action live on ChessTV.

Candidates Vote Chess Winners

Candidates Vote Chess


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

GMs Boris Spassky, Viktor Korchnoi, Anatoly Karpov, and Viswanathan Anand are the only other players who qualified for another title match (not counting rematches guaranteed to a defeated champion) after losing the first match.

Spassky lost his first match to GM Tigran Petrosian in 1966, but he beat Petrosian in 1969 to become the champion. Korchnoi lost both matches to Karpov, in 1978 and 1981. Karpov himself won the Candidates in 1989 after he had lost to GM Garry Kasparov in 1987.

In modern times, the 2013 Candidates Tournament in London was particularly dramatic and historic. In a two-horse race for first place between Carlsen and GM 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 Anand later that year.

Carlsen successfully defended his title against Anand, who won the 2014 Candidates Tournament, against Karjakin (2016) and Caruana (2018). His next opponent will be known on April 28, 2021 at the latest.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

Company Contact and News Accreditation: 

Phone: 1 (800) 318-2827
Address: PO Box 60400 Palo Alto, CA 94306

More from PeterDoggers
World Champion Steffen Nielsen On The Art Of Chess Study Composition

World Champion Steffen Nielsen On The Art Of Chess Study Composition

Bobby Fischer Opens Match With Incredible Blunder

Bobby Fischer Opens Match With Incredible Blunder