Carlsen, Caruana Top Field Of 2021 Tata Steel Chess Tournament
Carlsen and Caruana at the 2018 Tata Steel Chess tournament. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Carlsen, Caruana Top Field Of 2021 Tata Steel Chess Tournament

| 61 | Chess Event Coverage

The 83rd Tata Steel Chess tournament will have GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Fabiano Caruana once again. The top two players in the world are the favorites in a young field of participants that includes five players from the world's top 10.

Carlsen will be playing in Wijk aan Zee for the 17th time. He won the Grandmaster Group C when he was 13 in his first year in 2004 and has won the main tournament a record seven times. As for Caruana, he is the defending champion.

The field has three more players from the world's top 10: the two leaders of the FIDE Candidates tournament, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, as well as GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Furthermore, the Wijk aan Zee tournament adheres to its usual policy of selecting a mixed field of players with different styles, backgrounds, and ages. In fact, the average age this year is low: 24.4.

Update: on Thursday, December 17, 2020, the Tata Steel organizers informed that GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov couldn't play and was replaced by GM Pentala Harikrishna.

Update 2: on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, the Tata Steel organizers informed that GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi and Nodirbek Abdusattorov have been replaced by GMs Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Nils Grandelius.

Update 3: on Friday, January 15, 2021, the Tata Steel organizers informed that GM Daniil Dubov has been replaced by GM Alexander Donchenko.

2021 Tata Steel Chess tournament | Participants

# Fed Name Rating Rank Age
1 Magnus Carlsen 2862 1 30
2 Fabiano Caruana 2823 2 28
3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2784 5 30
4 Anish Giri 2764 11 26
5 Alireza Firouzja 2749 18 17
6 Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2743 19 22
7 Pentala Harikrishna 2732 22 34
8 Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2705 36 33
9 Andrey Esipenko 2686 49 18
10 David Anton Guijarro 2675 60 25
11 Jorden van Foreest 2671 66 21
12 Alexander Donchenko 2668 72 22
13 Nils Grandelius 2663 76 27
14 Aryan Tari 2618 184 21

The field was announced on a live stream.

Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg expects exciting games, saying: "One reason is that most of the grandmasters have hardly played classical chess since the outbreak of COVID-19. Participating in the world’s most challenging classical chess tournament with 13 rounds will thus prove to be very challenging and could lead to surprising outcomes."

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Only a few days ago the 83rd edition of the tournament in Wijk aan Zee was confirmed. There will be other online activities, but due to restrictions related to the pandemic, the Masters' tournament is the only event that will be held on-site.

The tournament getting the green light received a positive response worldwide. Van den Berg:

"The flood of congratulations and positive reactions I have received from people all over the world after the announcement is proof of how special it is that the Tata Steel Chess tournament will really be played in Wijk aan Zee in these times."

The coronavirus has taken its toll in the Netherlands as well. Among a population of 17.3 million, 595,473 cases have been confirmed, and 9985 deaths.

Unlike at the Norway Chess tournament in October, the players do not have to arrive in the Netherlands 10 days early for their quarantine period. Because the tournament has a special "top sport" status, the players are allowed to perform their sport while finishing their quarantine. They do have to deliver a negative test result for COVID-19 that is not older than 48 hours from their country of origin.

For playing conditions, the Tata Steel organizers will follow the model of Norway Chess, meaning that there will be no plexiglass placed over the board, and face masks won't be mandatory during play. Instead, the tables will be a bit wider to provide more distance between opponents, and the distance between the tables will be increased as well.

The 83rd Tata Steel Chess tournament will take place January 15-31, 2021 in De Moriaan in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. will once again produce the live broadcast.

See also:

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.

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