Vorschau aufs Kandidatenturnier

Preview of the Candidates Tournament

The 2024 Candidates Tournament will take place in Toronto from April 3 to 25, 2024. The Chess Tigers will bring you up to date with a preview.

1. What is it about?

The Candidates Tournament is used to find challengers for the reigning world champions. For the men, this is the Chinese Ding Liren, and for the women, another Chinese, Ju Wenjun.

Ju Wenjun (2016), reigning world champion, photo by Andreas Kontokanis (Piraeus, Greece), license: CC BY-SA 2.0

Remarkable: For the first time, a men's and women's Candidates Tournament will be held at the same time and in the same place.

2. Where will the tournament take place?

With a population of almost 3 million, Toronto is the largest city in Canada (the capital is Ottawa). The venue is the "Great Hall", a historic building in the Victorian architectural style. Tickets are available here for 49 Canadian dollars per day. The players will be accommodated in the One Hotel.

Until recently, it was unclear whether the Candidates Tournament could take place in Toronto because many players and officials had not received visas. However, this has now apparently been clarified.

The last major chess event in Canada was the 1988 World Blitz Chess Championship in St. John. In the chess world, Toronto is known for the Madison Avenue Pub, where chess is played every Wednesday evening.

Photo: Chess.com

3. What are the regulations?

Each of the eight players competes twice according to the "everyone against everyone" principle. This means that each player has to play 2x7=14 games. In the event of a tie, a tiebreak decides.

The time control is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds from move 41. The ladies play with 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds from move 1.

4. What are the tiebreak rules?

In the event of a tie after 14 rounds, a three-stage tiebreak will apply:

Level 1: If 2 players are tied: 2 rapid chess games 15+10, if 3-6 players are tied: rapid chess tournament everyone against everyone 15+10, if 7-8 players are tied: rapid chess tournament everyone against everyone 10+5

Level 2 : If 2 players are tied after level 1: 2 rapid chess games 3+2. If more than 2 players are tied: rapid chess tournament everyone against everyone 3+2

Level 3: If there is a tie after level 2: knockout game or knockout tournament with one game 3+2, colors are drawn. In the event of a draw, the game continues with the colors reversed until a decision is made.

5. Why is Magnus Carlsen not participating?

The world's best player from Norway has already given up defending his world title, so it is not surprising that he is not taking part in the Candidates Tournament either. Carlsen prefers games with shorter time controls or Chess960.

6. Who are the favorites?

In the men's competition, Fabiano Caruana is the favorite. Close behind are Ian Nepomniachtchi, who has won the last two Candidates Tournaments, and Hikaru Nakamura. Magnus Carlsen also agrees in this video : "I think the older guys have a slight advantage."

The field is very close among the women. According to the world rankings, Aleksandra Goryachkina and Lei Tingjie are in the lead.

Fabiano Caruana, Photo: FIDE Candidates 2024

7. What prize money is at stake?

The total prize money for the Open tournament is 500,000 euros, and for the women's tournament it is 250,000 euros. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in the Open are 48,000 euros, 36,000 euros and 24,000 euros respectively. For every half point scored there is an additional variable component of 3,500 euros. The prizes for the women are exactly half of those for the Open tournament.

8. Who is responsible?

The World Chess Federation FIDE is organizing the Candidates Tournament. The chief arbiter is the Canadian Aris Marghetis, the second arbiter is Carolina Solis Munoz from Costa Rica. Emil Sutovsky, CEO of FIDE, is also the chairman of the Appeals Committee.

9. What are the first pairings?

In the first round there are the following encounters:

  • Open
    Fabiano Caruana - Hikaru Nakamura
    Nijat Abasov - Ian Nepomniachtchi
    Alireza Firouzja - Praggnanandhaa R
    Gukesh D - Vidit Santosh Gujrathi

  • Women
    Aleksandra Goryachkina - Kateryna Lagno
    Anna Muzychuk - Nurgyul Salimova
    Lei Tingjie - Tan Zhongyi
    Vaishali Rameshbabu - Humpy Koneru

The pairings were determined in the so-called "drawing of lots" ( see video ). To avoid match-fixing, compatriots are preferably paired against each other in the first rounds of the tournament.

10. What is the schedule?

The opening ceremony will take place on April 3, 2024, and the first round will take place on April 4, 2024. The matches will start at 2:30 p.m. local time in Canada. This means that it will be 8:30 p.m. in Germany.

Rest days are April 8, 12, 16 and 19. The final round will take place on April 21.

11. Where will the tournament be broadcast?

FIDE will offer a broadcast on its YouTube channel . GM Vishy Anand and GM Irina Krush have been named as commentators.

It is expected that chess.com will also broadcast the tournament. And lichess will certainly consider what offers they will make available on their redesigned broadcast platform after chess24 has been closed. Chessbase India will also cover the tournament, as five participants come from India.

12. Where can I find more information?

FIDE has released a promotional video . Further official information, including the exact rules and schedule, can be found on the Candidates Tournament website .

13. How did the players qualify and what are their greatest achievements?

Photo: @FIDE_chess / X


Ian Nepomniachtchi (FIDE)

  • qualified as loser at the last World Chess Championship in Astana against Ding Liren
  • Already two-time winner of the Candidates Tournament

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (India)

  • qualified as runner-up of the 2023 World Cup
  • Brother of Vaishali, who is participating in the women's tournament

Fabiano Caruana (USA)

  • qualified as third in the 2023 World Cup
  • Winner of the 2018 Candidates Tournament in Berlin and loser in the subsequent World Championship against Magnus Carlsen

Nijat Abasov (Azerbaijan)

  • qualified as fourth for the 2023 World Cup
  • receives the place in the Candidates Tournament due to Carlsen’s withdrawal

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (India)

  • qualified as winner of the FIDE Grand Swiss 2023
  • long-standing member of the Indian Olympic squad

Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

  • qualified as runner-up of the FIDE Grand Swiss 2023
  • Specialist in fast time controls, describes himself as a full-time chess streamer

Alireza Firouzja (France)

  • qualified at the last minute via the rating number, was already second in the world rankings
  • Participants in the Candidates Tournament 2022 in Madrid

Gukesh Dommaraju (India)

  • qualified as winner of the FIDE Circuit
  • youngest player with a rating of 2750+


Lei Tingjie (China)

  • qualified as loser of the Chess World Championship 2023
  • Winner of the Candidates Tournament 2022/23

Kateryna Lagno (FIDE)

  • qualified as first in the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2022/23
  • lost to world champion Ju Wenjun in a tiebreak at the 2018 World Chess Championship, which was played in knockout mode

Aleksandra Goryachkina (FIDE)

  • qualified as runner-up of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2022/23
  • Winner of the Candidates Tournament 2019

Nurgyul Salimova (Bulgaria)

  • qualified as runner-up of the 2023 World Cup
  • European Champion 2023

Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine)

  • qualified as third in the 2023 World Cup
  • Vice World Champion 2017, sister of former World Champion Maria Muzychuk

Vaishali Rameshbabu (India)

  • qualified as first of the FIDE Grand Swiss 2023
  • Sister of Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, who participates in the Open

Tan Zhongyi (China)

  • qualified as runner-up of the FIDE Grand Swiss 2023
  • World Chess Champion 2017/18

Humpy Koneru (India)

  • qualified by rating
  • after Judit Polgar, the woman with the second highest rating in history



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