The International Chess Federation (FIDE) confirms on its website that the candidate tournament has been postponed until the spring of 2021. Eight players will participate, where the winner will meet Magnus Carlsen in the World Cup.
The main reason is infection control considerations and the players’ health, FIDE states.
The candidate tournament was played halfway finished in March, in Yekaterinburg, Russia. According to the plan, they were to restart the tournament from 1 November. After seven of 14 rounds, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Jan Nepomnyashchij are in a split lead.
Chinese Wang Hao, one of the challengers in the tournament, threatened to withdraw from the tournament earlier in October if FIDE wanted to hold it in November in Yekaterinburg. You can read more about that here.
The exact date and place for the candidate tournament will be announced two months in advance, FIDE states. When asked if Stavanger can be a relevant venue, the organizer of Norway Chess Kjell Madland answers that he currently does not see them as an alternative.
– We have answered FIDE that it is important that it could not be until the spring. It has not been elastic before. You can not spend many working hours doing something that is not possible. FIDE has worked a bit towards several candidates, and they really wanted us to do something, Madland tells TV 2.
– Players have also said that because they feel it is safe. One is that you should be able to implement in relation to the corona, get people into the country, among other things. You must also ensure that you have enough income, because it costs money to complete. So there are many conditions and then you have to have time. So I think this was good news for the candidate tournament and the World Cup, but also for other organizers, so it is possible to add a time, he continues.
The World Cup match is scheduled to be played in November or December 2021.
Loss in the last round
Magnus Carlsen secured the victory in Noway Chess when he beat Alireza Firouzja on Thursday, had to give up for Levon Aronian in the last round of Norway Chess. It is his first loss with white pieces in long chess in just under three years.
Carlsen realized the defeat and gave up after 58 moves. Thus, he went on his second loss in classic chess in less than a week. Until recently, he had gone 125 games and 802 days without losing.
– It is a special situation to be in, to play when the tournament is over. It is often the case that you get tired along the way and you are supported by something or other. I myself have experienced that I collapse when the tournament is over, says TV 2’s chess expert Jon Ludvig Hammer.