General Jan 5, 2018 | 4:56 PMby Colin McGourty

2018 Chess Calendar

We’re going to be spoiled for chess in 2018, with the Candidates Tournament in March deciding Magnus Carlsen’s challenger for a match in November, while in September we have the 43rd World Chess Olympiad. The year will of course be packed with other supertournaments and strong opens, with the overlapping Tata Steel Masters (Carlsen, Caruana, Mamedyarov, Kramnik, Anand…) and Tradewise Gibraltar Masters (Aronian, MVL, Nakamura…) ensuring the year starts with a bang!

The calendar below features most of the big events in 2018, but note that at the time of writing it’s unclear if some events will take place (e.g. the Zurich Chess Challenge) or when others will happen (e.g. the US and Russian Championships). We’ve added a list of such tournaments at the end.  

Current and upcoming tournaments:

January 2018

January 13 – 28 | Tata Steel Chess | Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands

The 80th edition of the Dutch supertournament has pulled out all the stops to invite 9 of the world’s top 15 players, including the top three of Carlsen, Caruana and Mamedyarov and former World Champions Kramnik and Anand. Once again there are 14-player Masters and Challengers events, with two “on tour” rounds in Hilversum and Groningen.

Links: official website, chess24: Masters, Challengers

January 23 – February 1 | Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival | Gibraltar

Top 10 stars Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura (the winner for the last three years) head the race for a top prize of £25,000 in the 10-round Masters. The women’s top prize of £15,000 has again attracted an all-star line-up, with defending champion Ju Wenjun facing competition from Alexandra Kosteniuk and the Muzychuk sisters. Hou Yifan plays in Wijk aan Zee.    

Links: official website

January 27 – February 4 | Moscow Open | Moscow, Russia

The event in the Russian State Social University in Moscow is one of the world’s largest chess festivals, with multiple tournaments usually attracting in the region of 1,500 players.

Links: official website

February 2018

February 9 – 14 | Carlsen vs. Nakamura chess960 match | Bærum, Norway

This “unofficial chess960 World Championship” will see World Champion Magnus Carlsen take on Hikaru Nakamura over 16 FischerRandom games – 8 at a one-hour per player time control over four days, and then 8 blitz games on the final day.

Links: official website

February 20 – March 1 | Aeroflot Open | Moscow, Russia

The top section of the Aeroflot Open in the Cosmos Hotel in Moscow is known as the world’s toughest open tournament, with only players rated 2550 and above automatically allowed entry. Vitiugov, Andreikin, Najer, Artemiev, Sasikiran and Kamsky are among the players already registered.

Links: official website

March 2018

March 6 – 14 | Reykjavik Open | Reykjavik, Iceland

The 2018 edition of the Reykjavik Open has been named the Bobby Fischer Memorial to mark the year in which Fischer would have turned 75. A Fischer Random Championship will be held on his birthday on March 9th, with the main open reduced from 10 to 9 rounds to accommodate that. 

Links: official website

March 10 – 28 | Candidates Tournament | Berlin, Germany

Eight players compete in a gruelling 14-round double-round robin for the right to play a World Championship match against Magnus Carlsen in November!

#PlayerFedNov ratingWorld rankQualified via
1Levon Aronian28012World Cup winner
2Fabiano Caruana27993Best average rating for 2017
3Shakhriyar Mamedyarov27994FIDE Grand Prix winner
4Wesley So278862nd best average rating for 2017
5Vladimir Kramnik27877Wild card chosen by Agon
6Alexander Grischuk27829FIDE Grand Prix runner-up
7Ding Liren277411World Cup runner-up
8Sergey Karjakin276014World Championship runner-up

Links: official website

March 10 – 15 | 8th HDBank Masters | Hanoi, Vietnam

A strong open tournament taking place in Vietnam each year, with Le Quang Liem the defending champion.

March 16 – 29 | European Individual Championship | Batumi, Georgia

The Georgian Black Sea resort of Batumi hosts the Olympiad in 2018, but also events such as this European Championship, which will determine 23 players for the 2019 World Cup.  

Links: official website

March 29 – April 2 | European Women’s Rapid & Blitz | Batumi, Georgia

Anna Muzychuk (rapid) and Alexandra Kosteniuk (blitz) are the defending champions.       

March 29 – April 2 | GRENKE Chess Open | Karlsruhe, Germany

The Easter GRENKE Chess Open describes itself as “the biggest open in the world” and is again likely to begin in the same playing hall as the GRENKE Chess Classic supertournament.

Links: official website

March 31 - April 9 | GRENKE Chess Classic | Karslruhe/Baden-Baden, Germany

This supertournament is again taking place in two cities, with rounds 1-3 played in Karlsruhe alongside the GRENKE Chess Open and the final 6 rounds in Baden-Baden. The field has grown to 10 players.

Links: official website

April 2018

April 2 – 10 | 20th Dubai Open | Dubai, UAE

A strong 9-round open with a $13,000 first prize. Gawain Jones finished top after a 7-way tie for first in 2017.

Links: official website

April 7 - 20 | European Women’s Championship | Vysoké Tatry, Slovakia

The 11-round open is taking place in the Slovakian mountains and will determine 14 players for the next Women’s World Chess Championship knockout.

Links: regulations

April 13 – 21 | 18th Bangkok Chess Club Open | Petchburi, Thailand

This year’s Bangkok Chess Club Open is again taking place at a beach resort. In 2017 the winner was Nigel Short, half a point clear of a group that included Jan Gustafsson.

Links: official website

April 13 – 23 | European Senior Team Chess Championship | Wałbrzych, Poland

A team event in 50+ and 65+ age categories for four-player teams who must represent one of the European chess federations.

Links: official website

April 18 - 30 | US Championships | St. Louis, USA

The 2018 US Championships will once again be 12-player round-robins in open and women's section, with a $50,000 first prize for the open and $25,000 for the women. 

Links: official website

April 29 – May 1 | Chess Bundesliga Final | Berlin, Germany

The final three rounds of the 2017-2018 Chess Bundesliga are again taking place at a central venue in Berlin, with 16 teams fighting for the title and the all-star Baden-Baden (Caruana, Aronian, MVL, Anand…) again the favourites.

Links: official website, chess24

May 2018

May 1 – 10 | Russian Team Championship | Sochi, Russia

One of the strongest national team events, with team line-ups usually featuring top Russian players and some foreign stars.

Links: official website

May 12 – 20 | Polish Championships | Warsaw, Poland

The 2018 Polish Championships are again taking place in Warsaw, with Kacper Piorun and Monika Soćko the defending champions.  

May 26 – June 5 | French Top 12 | Brest, France

The strong French Team Championship features the best 12 teams playing each other over 11 rounds.

May 27 – June 8 | Altibox Norway Chess | Stavanger, Norway

The 6th edition of Norway Chess will struggle to compete with the 5th edition, which featured the full world Top 10 at the moment the line-up was announced, but with Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian already confirmed it’s unlikely to disappoint!

Links: official website

June 2018

To Be Arranged | Paris Grand Chess Tour | Paris, France

This rapid and blitz tournament is the first event of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour and is sponsored by Colliers International, Vivendi and DailyMotion.

Links: official website

TBA | Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour | Leuven, Belgium

The Your Next Move rapid and blitz tournament is the second event in the 2018 Grand Chess Tour.

Links: official website

July 2018

July 5 - 9 | León Masters | León, Spain

The 31st edition features returning champion Wesley So, Spanish players Paco Vallejo and Jaimie Santos and 12-year-old Indian rising star Praggnanandhaa.

Links: official website

July 7 - 15 | World Senior Team Championship | Radebeul, Germany

The 2018 World Senior Team Championship will be held in 50+ and 65+ categories. 

Links: official website

July 14 – 22 | 46th Sparkassen Chess Meeting | Dortmund, Germany

The 2017 edition of this supertournament was won by Poland’s Radek Wojtaszek ahead of the likes of Vladimir Fedoseev, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and 10-time winner Vladimir Kramnik.

Links: official website

July 21 – August 1 | 51st Biel International Chess Festival | Biel, Switzerland

Hou Yifan won the 2017 edition of this traditional supertournament, which is also accompanied by a strong open.

Links: official website

July 21 – 29 | Xtracon Chess Open | Elsinore, Denmark

A big traditional 10-round open held as part of the Copenhagen Chess Festival.

Links: official website

July 27 – August 5 | British Championship | Hull, England

This 9-round open will determine the 2018 British Champion, with Gawain Jones the defending champion.

Links: official website

August 2018

TBA | Sinquefield Cup | St. Louis, USA

The 6th edition of the Sinquefield Cup is the 3rd event on the 2018 Grand Chess Tour and the only one to feature only classical chess.

Links: official website

August 18-26 | French Championship | Nîmes, France

The defending champions from 2017 are 8-time champion Etienne Bacrot and 6-time champion Sophie Milliet.

TBA | St. Louis Rapid and Blitz | St. Louis, USA

This is the 4th event on the 2018 Grand Chess Tour and the last to determine the top four finishers in the series.

Links: official website

September 2018

September 4 – 16 | World Junior Championship | Gebze, Kocaeli, Turkey

The world’s most prestigious event for juniors (20 or younger). In 2017 it was won by Aryan Tari and Zhansaya Abdumalik.

September 23 – October 6 | 43rd World Chess Olympiad | Batumi, Georgia

The biennial team tournament is the chess world’s biggest celebration, featuring hundreds of 4-player teams and most of the world’s chess federations. In Baku in 2016 the 11-round opens were won by the USA in the open section and China in the women’s section.   

For the first time in over a decade Vishy Anand looks set to play:

October 2018

October 4 – 11 | Russian Rapid and Blitz Championships | Sochi, Russia

Sochi again hosts Russian rapid and blitz championships both for individuals and teams, with categories split into open and women’s.

Links: official website

October 11 – 19 | European Chess Club Cup | Rhodes, Greece

7-round team events are held in open and women’s sections and always attract strong participants from the various national team championships around Europe.

October 19 – November 1 | World Youth Championship | Halkidiki, Greece

This tournament is split into U14, U16 and U18 categories in both an open and a girls section.

October 20 – 28 | Isle of Man International | Douglas, Isle of Man

One of the world’s strongest open tournaments. In 2017 it was won by World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

Links: official website

October 26 – November 5 | Chigorin Memorial | St. Petersburg, Russia

A strong annual open commemorating Russia’s first great chess player Mikhail Chigorin.

Links: official website

November 2018

November 3 – 16 | World Cadets U8-U12 | Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The U8, U10 and U12 categories in the open section and for girls are split off from the other youth categories as the “World Cadets”.  

November 9 – 28 | World Chess Championship | London, England

The good news for Magnus and his opponent is that the kama sutra 6*6 design seems just to be an "alternative" logo aimed at generating some controversy in the run-up to the match | image: World Chess    

The World Chess Championship is a 12-game match taking place in London between reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen and the player determined by the Candidates Tournament in Berlin in March.

Links: official website

November 17 – 30 | World Senior Championship | Bled, Slovenia

The World Senior Championship has categories for 50+ and 65+ players.

November 24 – December 3 | World Youth Olympiad | Manavgat-Antalya, Turkey

The World Youth Olympiad has the same format as the adult Olympiad but is for players 16 or younger at the start of the year. 

December 2018

December 1 – 4 | Russian Rapid Grand Prix Final | Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

The culmination of a year-long series of strong rapid tournaments held across Russia.

TBA | London Chess Classic | London, England

The 2018 London Chess Classic is a knockout classical, rapid and blitz tournament featuring the top four performers over the preceding four events of the Grand Chess Tour. It will determine the overall winner of the tour.

Links: official website

December 4 – 13 | Russian Cup Final | Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

A knockout final for players qualified through a series of classical events held around Russia over the course of the year.

December 5 – 9 | European Rapid and Blitz Championship | Skopje, FYROM

A big event which differs from the World Rapid and Blitz Championship by allowing anyone to take part.

December 14 – 23 | Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival | Sitges, Spain

This strong open in a coastal town south of Barcelona will be holding its 5th edition in 2018.

Links: official website

Please let us know in the comments below if you think we’ve missed some big events or you've got some more details. At the moment the following are some tournaments we haven’t added above since we’re unsure either whether they’ll take place or when they’ll take place:

  • Russian Higher League
  • Russian Championship Superfinal
  • World Rapid and Blitz Championship, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Women’s World Chess Championship(s) - potentially both a Tan Zhongyi – Ju Wenjun match and a 64-player knockout 
  • Shenzhen Masters
  • Danzhou
  • Sharjah Masters
  • Abu Dhabi Masters
  • Zurich Chess Challenge
  • Poikovsky
  • Shamkir Chess
  • TePe Sigeman & Co.
  • Capablanca Memorial

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