FIDE Postpones Candidates Second Leg Until Spring 2021

FIDE announced today it will not resume the 2020 Candidates Tournament on November 1 as previously planned, citing the well-being of its players during the global pandemic. The event will instead be postponed until next spring.  

The World Chess Organization had intended to resume the second half of its super-event, which will determine the next challenger to World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen, to begin again next month in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The eight-player tournament was first postponed after playing through its first cycle last March in Yekaterinburg, halted after seven rounds as the world shuttered due to COVID-19.  

In September, FIDE announced its plans to resume on Nov. 1 and that it was working with the players toward that goal. Negotiations proved difficult, including a public spat last week with Chinese GM Wang Hao, who threatened to pull out of the event. In its postponement announcement today, FIDE states that it still does not have clearance to play from all eight players, as two players from the same country are still awaiting national permission.  

No other changes to the tournament are being considered, and FIDE says it will approve venue and dates for the resumption of the Candidates Tournament two months prior. The next World Chess Championship Match against Carlsen has already been reset for November-December 2021. The announcement comes on the heels of FIDE’s postponement of the World Rapid and Blitz Championship, traditionally held in December. Yesterday, FIDE announced the event would also be rescheduled to spring of 2021.

Today's update directly affects American GM and World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana, who seeks a rematch with Carlsen after narrowly losing the last World Championship in London in 2018. At the 2020 Candidates midway point, Caruana currently sits in a four-way tie for third place with 3.5/7 and one point off the lead. The second postponement of the Candidates leaves a glaring hole in Caruana’s schedule, after the top American passed on the 2020 U.S. Championship, scheduled for Oct. 26-29, to instead participate in the FIDE event.  

Read FIDE’s full announcement here