World Chess Championship 2020

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Defending champion Challenger
Magnus Carlsen
 Magnus Carlsen (NOR) TBD
Born 30 November 1990
28 years old
Winner of the World Chess Championship 2018 Winner of the Candidates Tournament 2020
Rating: TBD Rating: TBD
2018 2022 →

The World Chess Championship 2020 will be a chess match between the reigning World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and a challenger to determine the World Chess Champion. It will be held in the latter half of 2020, under the auspices of FIDE, the world chess federation, with the organisation rights belonging to World Chess, its commercial partner.[1]

Candidates Tournament[edit]

The challenger will be the winner of a Candidates Tournament, which will be an eight-player tournament played in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in March-April of 2020.[2]

The qualifiers for the Candidates Tournament will be:[3][4]

Qualification method Player
2018 World Championship runner-up Fabiano Caruana
The top two finishers at the 2019 World Chess Cup Teimour Radjabov (winner)
Ding Liren (runner-up)
The top finisher in the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2019 (who does not qualify by one of the above methods, and is not Carlsen). In progress: ends 2019-10-21

Current leader: Levon Aronian

The top two finishers in the FIDE Grand Prix 2019 (who do not qualify by one of the above methods). In progress: ends 2019-12-24

Current leaders: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexander Grischuk

Highest average rating (who does not qualify by one of the above methods, and is not Carlsen). Current leader: Anish Giri
Wild card (chosen by organizer) TBD

If one or more players decline the invitation to play in the Candidates Tournament, the players with the next highest average ratings will qualify.

Compared to previous cycles (2014, 2016, 2018), the Grand Swiss is a new addition, and the number of qualifiers by rating has been reduced from two to one. The format of the Grand Prix tournament has also changed.

Qualifier by rating[edit]

The qualifier on rating is the player with the highest average rating for the 12 ratings periods from February 2019 to January 2020, who does not qualify by another method. To be eligible, a player must have played at least 30 games during these 12 ratings periods, and at least 18 in the final 6 ratings periods.[4]

The following table shows the ratings (in excess of 2700) of the players with the top average ratings from February 2019 to October 2019.[5] It includes the first ten players except for world champion Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana (who qualifies as the 2018 challenger) and Ding Liren (who qualifies as a finalist of the 2019 World Cup). All of these players have already met the above game count requirements. The current leader for this qualification path is Anish Giri.

Player Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan 2020 Total Average
Netherlands Anish Giri 97 97 97 87 79 79 79 80 80 775 86.1
Azerbaijan Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 90 90 93 81 74 65 64 67 67 691 76.8
France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 80 75 73 80 79 75 78 74 74 688 76.4
Russia Ian Nepomniachtchi 71 71 73 73 75 75 74 76 76 664 73.8
India Viswanathan Anand 79 79 74 74 67 64 56 65 65 623 69.2
Russia Alexander Grischuk 71 71 71 72 75 66 59 59 59 603 67
United States Wesley So 65 62 62 54 54 63 76 67 67 570 63.3

Wild card[edit]

One wild card is selected by the organizer. This player must participate in at least two of the three qualifying tournaments (World Cup, Grand Swiss and Grand Prix), and be either the highest non-qualifier in the World Cup, Grand Swiss or Grand Prix, or in the top 10 by average rating from February 2019 to January 2020.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave came third in the World Cup, and is currently the only player guaranteed to be eligible for the wild card if he does not qualify by another method.

All other players in the above table except for Viswanathan Anand took part in both the World Cup and the Grand Prix and will thus be eligible to be picked as the wild card player if they stay in the top ten by average rating and do not qualify by another path. Viswanathan Anand is only participating in the Grand Swiss and thus is ineligible to be picked as the wild card player.

Eligible for wild card nomination Player
The highest non-qualifier in the World Cup France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
The highest non-qualifier in the Grand Swiss TBD
The highest non-qualifier in the Grand Prix TBD
The top 10 by average rating from February 2019 to January 2020. Netherlands Anish Giri
Azerbaijan Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Russia Ian Nepomniachtchi
Russia Alexander Grischuk
United States Wesley So

Championship match[edit]


The match will be a best-of-14 match, with tie breaks. This was increased from best-of-12 (in place for every world championship match since 2006), after all 12 regular games were drawn in the previous match in 2018.[6]


Bids were to be presented no later than on 1 March 2019 to World Chess, with an inspection at the proposed venues to be made between 1 July and 15 August 2019.[7]

In 2018, Monaco and Vienna expressed intention to bid for the event, [8] as has Saint Petersburg.[citation needed]

Stavanger, Norway announced a bid in March 2019, but withdrew its bid in June 2019, after Carlsen expressed reluctance to play the match in Norway.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Bidding opens to Host the 2020 World Chess Candidates Tournament". FIDE. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  2. ^ Big Beasts Still Alive After First Round of World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Ian Rogers, Lichess, 12-Sep-2019
  3. ^ Bidding Procedure for the FIDE Candidates' Tournament 2020, FIDE, 8 March 2020
  4. ^ a b Regulations for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020, FIDE
  5. ^ FIDE Top 100 lists for 2019: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October
  6. ^ FIDE updates and the World Championship cycle, Chessbase, April 26 2019
  7. ^ "Championship Match 2020 - The Bidding Procedure" (PDF). WorldChess. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Vienna vies for 2020 World Championship". 13 September 2018.
  9. ^ Norway not to bid for the 2020 World Chess Championship, Norway Chess press release, June, 27 2019
  10. ^ "Stavanger, Norway Withdraws 2020 World Champs Bid After Carlsen Pressure". 9 July 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2019.