When are the top players in action again? Find out in our 2016 Chess Calendar, that aims to include almost all the big events of a year that will see a World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin as well as the World Chess Olympiad in Baku. The rest of the year is packed with supertournaments, including the Grand Chess Tour rapid and blitz events in June.
We’ve provided the essential details for most major tournaments we currently know about, though we will of course be updating this calendar as the year goes on.
Current and upcoming tournaments:
The 8th edition of the tournament and the final stage of the 2016 Grand Chess Tour. The 9-round event will feature the nine tour regulars Anand, Aronian, Caruana, Giri, Kramnik, Nakamura, So, Topalov, Vachier-Lagrave and English wild card Mickey Adams.
11 rounds of rapid chess and 11 double rounds of blitz to determine the best fast chess players in Europe.
Links: official website
The planned 2016 Qatar Masters Open has been cancelled, but the World Rapid and Blitz Championships will take place in Qatar, with Magnus Carlsen aiming to defend his title in rapid chess (over 15 rounds) while Alexander Grischuk looks to do the same in 21 rounds of blitz.
Links: official website
David Navara and Radek Wojtaszek head over 250 players competing in an 11-round Swiss for a €20,000 1st prize and 23 places in the 2017 FIDE World Cup.
The 4th edition of the tournament in memory of Vugar Gashimov (1986-2014) is a 10-player single round-robin featuring Caruana, Giri, Karjakin, Eljanov, Harikrishna, Mamedyarov, Radjabov, Safarli, Hou Yifan and Mamedov.
9-round Swiss tournaments for men and women, with Le Quang Liem, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Wei Yi (who turns 17 during the event) heading a very strong field in the open section.
The Black Sea resort near Constanta welcomes ex-World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova and over 100 more players to fight for the title of the best European female player.
One of the world’s biggest team events, featuring 12 teams playing each other over 11 rounds on 8 boards - star names are guaranteed to be involved.
Four World Cup places and a $5,000 1st prize are up for grabs in this 11-round Swiss tournament, with Bruzon, Mareco, Iturrizaga and Lenderman heading the field.
Czech no. 1 David Navara's opponent in this year's 4-game classical match is the world's top-rated junior, Richard Rapport. The chess festival also features a 15-game blindfold simul by Timur Gareyev.
Wild cards Carlsen and Fressinet join Grand Chess Tour regulars Aronian, Caruana, Giri, Kramnik, Nakamura, So, Topalov and Vachier-Lagrave for two days of rapid chess (9 rounds) and then two days of blitz (18 rounds).
A four-player knockout featuring ex-World Champion Vishy Anand and three young stars – China’s Wei Yi and Spain’s David Anton and Jaime Santos. Four rapid games are played in each semi-final match and the final, with blitz and Armageddon to follow if required.
Links: official site
The latest in a long series of matches between two fierce chess rivals.
Leinier Dominguez, Lazaro Bruzon, Vassily Ivanchuk, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Ivan Cheparinov and Zoltan Almasi compete in a 6-player double round-robin - the 51st edition of a tournament remembering Cuba's great World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca.
Vishy Anand is back for the 2nd stage of the Grand Chess Tour. The rapid and blitz format is the same as in Paris, with Aronian, Caruana, Giri, Kramnik, Nakamura, So, Topalov, Vachier-Lagrave and Carlsen competing for $150,000 in prizes.
Mamedyarov, Gelfand, Wang Hao, Grischuk, Svidler and Vallejo are among the players signed up for 11 double rounds of 3+2 blitz, with a top prize of $30,000.
9-round Swiss tournaments for men (open) and women, with the Top 5 players in each section qualifying for the Russian Championship Superfinals later in the year.
Almost all the top Chinese players and some foreigners, including Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, are competing in a 12-team, 22-round event that takes place over six sessions from April-December 2016.
The 4th of five stages of the 2015-6 FIDE Grand Prix sees 12 of the world's top female players compete for a €10,000 first prize as well as the ultimate Grand Prix prize of qualifying for a Women's World Championship match.
The tournament that featured Wei Yi's Game of the Century in 2015 is stronger and more international this year with Ding Liren, Harikrishna, Ivanchuk, Leko, Nepomniachtchi, Yu Yangyi, Wang Hao, Wang Yue, Bu Xiangzhi and Hou Yifan.
Vladimir Kramnik, aiming for an 11th Dortmund title on his 22nd attempt, is joined by Caruana, Vachier-Lagrave, Dominguez, Ponomariov, Nisipeanu, Najer (the Aeroflot winner) and Buhmann. The tournament is an 8-player single round-robin.
World Champion Magnus Carlsen will play his challenger Sergey Karjakin in two games during this six-player double round-robin. The remaining players are Top 10 stars Hikaru Nakamura, Anish Giri and Wesley So, with Chinese prodigy Wei Yi completing a stellar line-up.
The 10-player tournament once again pits young stars like Duda, Artemiev, Anton, Vidit and Sevian against strong Armenian grandmasters.
The small Siberian town has been hosting a strong, usually 10-player single round-robin for almost two decades now. This year's line-up features: Andreikin, Wojtaszek, Jakovenko, Matlakov, Smirin, Kovalenko, Motylev, Korobov, Bologan and Sutovsky.
This year there's no round-robin tournament in Bilbao, but Peter Svidler will play a match against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, while there's also the traditional strong open tournament.
The 103rd British Chess Championships is an 11-round Swiss Open to determine the British and English Champion, with English no. 1 Michael Adams the top seed.
The Turkish Super League is one of the premier team tournaments and this year features players such as Vassily Ivanchuk, Shakriyar Mamedyarov and Ernesto Inarkiev. Teams compete over 8-board and 13 rounds.
Ding Liren is the wild card for the 3rd stage of the 2016 Grand Chess Tour, with the three US star players all returning for the 10-player single round-robin.
Two gruelling 13-round tournaments to decide the prestigious titles of the Boys (Open) and Girls World U20 Champions.
The chess world’s most prestigious team event, bringing together thousands of players from 175 chess federations. Teams of four compete in Open and Women’s competitions over 11 rounds, with China (men) and Russia (women) the reigning champions of the biennial event.
Players compete in 11-round Swiss tournaments to determine the U14, U16 and U18 World Youth Champions. The U8, U10 and U12 categories are now called the World Cadets and will take place in Batumi, Georgia in October.
The Tal Memorial is back for a tenth edition, and returns to its old 10-player classical round-robin format. Kramnik, Aronian, Anand, Mamedyarov, Giri, Li Chao, Svidler, Gelfand, Nepomniachtchi and Tomashevsky compete for a $200,000 prize fund in the new Moscow Impressionist Museum as part of the Chess in Museums programme.
A 9-round open, which this year has tempted the US stars of Caruana, Nakamura and So away from the Millionaire Chess tournaemnt.
The third edition of Millionaire Chess moves to Atlantic City on the East Coast, and will have a prize fund of just over half a million dollars, with $50,000 for first place in the top section. Registration fees have also been halved to make the tournament accessible to a larger pool of players.
The 2016/17 season of the German Chess League starts on October 15-16. The 16-team league is the world's strongest team event held across a season, with the favourites Baden-Baden this year boasting Caruana, MVL, Aronian and Anand among their 18 registered players as they try to regain the title they lost in the previous season.
The highlight of this year's Hoogeveen Chess Festival will be two six-game matches, one between Women's World Champion Hou Yifan and Nigel Short, and the other between 17-year-old Dutch Champion Jorden van Foreest and his countryman Ivan Sokolov. The 9-round open features five strong Indian grandmasters among the top 8 seeds.
The 10-player open and women's superfinals will determine the 2016 Russian Champions. The open tournament will feature Grischuk, Svidler, Tomashevsky, Vitiugov and Jakovenko.
This year's "Cadets", for the World Youth U8-U12 categories, is significantly more interesting than the tournament for older age groups that was held earlier in the year. The world's most exciting prodigies, like India's Praggnanandhaa or Russia's Makoveev, are competing in the 11-round events.
A 7-round team tournament to determine the best European club, with the likes of reigning champions Siberia, Azerbaijan’s SOCAR and Russian Team Champions Bronze Horseman likely to be among those vying for 1st place
Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Veselin Topalov battle it out for $60,000 over five days and three different time controls. The players first play each other twice at a fast classical time control (60+5) on Thursday-Saturday, then play each other twice at rapid on Sunday (15+5), then four times at blitz (3+2) on the final Monday.
Norway’s Magnus Carlsen will seek to defend his World Championship title against Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin in a 12-game match to be held in the Fulton Market building in the Seaport District of Lower Manhattan.
The 26th World Senior Chess Championship features two 11-round Open tournaments for players aged 50+ and 65+, with one or two women's tournaments also held, depending on the number of entrants.
Of course this is only a preliminary guide to upcoming tournaments, and we’ll keep adding and updating tournaments as the year goes on. If there are big events that are already finalised, and ideally have websites, let us know in the comments!
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