Dvorkovich: World Chess Championship Likely Starting December 20 In Dubai
Arkady Dvorkovich. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Dvorkovich: World Chess Championship Likely Starting December 20 In Dubai

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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83 | Chess Event Coverage

The World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and the winner of the Candidates Tournament is almost certainly going to be held in Dubai, but not in November. At the FIDE Congress in Abu Dhabi, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich has mentioned December 20 as the starting date.

It was "just for planning purposes and not an official announcement," but the message from the FIDE President to the FIDE delegates attending the General Assembly on Friday was remarkable nonetheless. This year's FIDE World Championship match will probably be moved back more than a month and will start in December.

Dvorkovich made the announcement during the FIDE Congress that is currently underway in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here's the full quote, starting from 5:44:45 in the video below.

"We have almost finalized our negotiations with the Expo 2020 organizers in Dubai regarding the world championship match. It's 99.9 percent that we will have it here in the United Arab Emirates, and the most likely starting date is going to be the 20th of December this year."


The live stream of the FIDE Congress. Video: New Media Production.

The match's move will have serious consequences for the tournament calendar this year. For example, the World Rapid and Blitz Championship, traditionally held in the last week of the year, will have to be moved as well, likely to earlier in the year.

In his opening speech on Friday, Dvorkovich mentioned that FIDE is talking with Saudi Arabia about a new agreement now that the current three-year agreement is at an end. "It will take place this year and the next few years as well," said Dvorkovich.

The world championship match will be 14 games and have five rest days; the full duration will be 21 days including the opening ceremony, possible tiebreak, and closing ceremony. With a start date of December 20, it will finish on January 9, 2021—a week before the start of the Tata Steel Chess tournament. It is now unlikely Carlsen will play there.

Dubai was already revealed to be the match location earlier this year by Dvorkovich when he was interviewed at the Gibraltar Chess Festival in January: "We're hopeful that we will conclude a contract with the Dubai Expo very soon, and that's the occasion we're looking forward to have the World Championship match since it will gather hundreds of thousands of people from around the world that will go around the universal expo but will have a chance to visit the World Championship match as well."

The interview with Dvorkovich in Gibraltar. Video: Gibraltar Chess Festival.

The Expo 2020 in Dubai will take place from October 20, 2020, until April 10th, 2021. Another strong link with chess will be the Spanish pavilion. As reported by El País, it will use chess as a visual theme. "In addition to the good image it gives us, chess is a magnificent link between Arabic and Spanish cultures," said Carmen Bueno, director of the Spanish pavilion.

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