General Jan 4, 2019 | 4:35 PMby Colin McGourty

2019 Chess Calendar

Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian will aim to defend their Tata Steel and Gibraltar Masters titles as 2019 gets off to a traditional start. This year there's no Olympiad or World Championship match, but the World Cup awaits in September, as well as other biennial events such as the World and European Team Championships. The $1.5 million Grand Chess Tour is expanding into Asia and Africa, while Altibox Norway Chess will be one to watch as it trials Armageddon games after classical draws. There's a new women's supertournament as well as a Candidates Tournament to decide Ju Wenjun's next World Championship opponent.

This 2019 Chess Calendar is of course a work in progress, since we don't yet have the dates or details for many events, including those of the Grand Chess Tour. Please let us know in the comments if we've left out any major events which have already been announced.

Current and upcoming tournaments:

January 2019

January 12 – 27 | Tata Steel Chess | Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands

Magnus Carlsen, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Ding Liren, Anish Giri, Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand head the field for the 13-round Tata Steel Masters, with the debut of Sam Shankland in a major traditional supertournament a particular highlight. The 81st edition of the tournament also features Praggnanandhaa, Vincent Keymer and more of the world's top juniors playing in the Challengers.   

Links: official website, chess24: MastersChallengers

January 23 – February 1 | Gibraltar Masters | Gibraltar

Levon Aronian will attempt to defend his title in this year's Gibraltar Masters, but he'll face tough opposition from Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So, Yu Yangyi and Hikaru Nakamura. The 10-round open also features some of the world's best women, starting with reigning Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun. 

Links: official website, chess24

January 26 – February 3 | Moscow Open | Moscow, Russia

The event in the Moscow Russian State Social University 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 2019

February 6 - 16 | Cairns Cup | Saint Louis, USA

This year sees the launch of a female version of the Sinquefield Cup, with 10 of the world's best women competing in an event named after Jeanne Sinquefield, whose maiden name is Cairns. 

Links: official website

February 19 - 28 | Aeroflot Open | Moscow, Russia

The 17th edition of one of the world's most formidable open tournaments is again taking place in the Cosmos Hotel in Moscow. The main event is intended for players rated 2550 and over, meaning there are no easy games. The winner qualifies for the Dortmund supertournament in July.

Links: official website

February 22 - 24 | Bunratty Chess Festival | Bunratty, Ireland

A weekend open tournament whose relaxed atmosphere usually helps attract some top players. 

Links: official website

March 2019

March 1 - 3 | Chess Bundesliga Central Rounds | Berlin, Germany

The German Chess League (Schachbundesliga) is a 16-team all-play-all event that features some of the world's best players, including Fabiano Caruana and Vishy Anand. Most weekends teams are split in venues across Germany, but for three rounds a year they all come together in one venue. This year that will again be Berlin, for Rounds 9-11, while the Women's Bundesliga will have its season finale. On Saturday 2nd there's also the 2nd edition of the Emanuel Lasker Blitz Tournament. 

Links: Berlin website, Schachbundesliga website, chess24

March 3 - 14 | World Team Championship | TBA

The World Team Championship is a biennial team tournament whose all-play-all format among 10 teams means that it can be tougher to win than the Olympiad. At the time of writing FIDE is still looking for a venue, though the dates are confirmed.

March 6 - 16 | Prague International Chess Festival | Prague, Czech Republic

A new event on the chess calendar organised by the Novoborsky Chess Club. 2700 players (and club members) Harikrishna, David Navara and Radek Wojtaszek are already confirmed for the 10-player Masters Tournament, while there will also be a 10-player Challengers event, with the winner qualifying for the Masters in 2020.   

Links: official website

March 18 - 29 | European Individual Championship | Skopje, FYROM

The European Championship is a prestigious event in its own right, but nowadays it mainly functions as a qualifier for the World Cup. 22 places are up for grabs in the knockout tournament later in the year.

Links: official website

March 20 - April 1 | US Chess Championship | Saint Louis, USA

For years now the US Chess Championship and Women's Chess Championship have been the strongest, most lucrative and most professionally broadcast national chess championships. Leinier Dominguez is likely to make a debut now that his switch from the Cuban to the US Chess Federation is complete.  

Links: official website

March 22 - 30 | Sharjah Masters | Sharjah, UAE

The 3rd edition of the Sharjah Masters is again a 9-round open with $15,000 on offer for first place.

Links: official website

April 2019

April 1 - 9 | Dubai Open | Dubai, UAE

The 21st Dubai Open is a 9-round open with a $13,000 top prize.  

Links: official website

April 6 - 14 | Bangkok Chess Club Open | Bangkok, Thailand

The 19th edition of the Bangkok Chess Club Open is taking place in Bangkok itself this year, and is again likely to see our very own Jan Gustafsson play his annual tournament in the company of some other top players.  

Links: official website 

April 8 - 16 | GAMMA Reykjavik Open | Reykjavik, Iceland

The 34th edition of the 9-round Reykjavik Open is again being held in the Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland's capital city. David Navara is among the confirmed participants. 

Links: official website

April 10 - 23 | European Women's Individual Championship | Antalya, Turkey

An 11-round tournament to decide the 2019 European Women's Champion and, most likely, qualifiers for the next Women's World Cup. 

April 15 - 25 | World Senior Team Championship | Rhodes, Greece

A team tournament held in two categories, for players 50+ or 65+. Federations can submit multiple teams. 

TBA | GRENKE Chess Classic | Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Germany

The one player we currently know has an invite for the classic is 14-year-old German rising star Vincent Keymer, who won the open tournament in 2018. We don't know if he'll play, and no dates have yet been announced, but in previous years the event has included the Easter Weekend, with Easter in 2018 falling on the 21st April. 

Links: official website

May 2019

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

The strongest national team championship to take place at one time in one venue. Only the French Top 12 comes close to matching it. 

Links: official website

May 3 - 9 | TePe Sigeman & Co. Chess Tournament | Malmö, Sweden

In 2019 this event will expand from 6 to 8 players, who compete over 7 rounds. The venue is changing to Malmö Live.

Links: official website

May 11 - 19 | Polish Championships | Warsaw, Poland

Once again the Polish Open and Women's Championships are taking place in an impressive venue - the trading room of the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Will Radek Wojtaszek get revenge for Jan-Krzysztof Duda taking his title and Polish no. 1 spot last year?  

May 18 - 28 | Top 12 French Team Championship | TBA

A big team championship featuring the 12 best teams in France, who play each other over 11 rounds. 

Who will play a match against Ju Wenjun for the Women's World Championship title? | photo: 

May 30 - June 17 | FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament | Kazan, Russia

There's a revolution in women's chess, as an 8-player Candidates Tournament will now determine the next challenger for a match against Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun. The players qualified are Hou Yifan, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Ekaterina Lagno, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Tan Zhongyi, Nana Dzagnidze and Valentina Gunina. If a player pulls out, and Hou Yifan may well do so, Aleksandra Goryachkina is the first reserve.

June 2019

June 3 - 14 | Altibox Norway Chess | Stavanger, Norway

This year's Altibox Norway Chess will be the first elite classical round-robin to trial a radical approach to the "problem" of draws in chess. A winner of a classical game gets 2 points, but if the game is drawn the players then immediately switch to Armageddon, with the winner getting 1.5 points and the loser 0.5 points. Magnus Carlsen is among the players confirmed to be taking part.    

The players can still make quick draws in 2019, but then they'll have to play even quicker Armageddon! | photo: Lennart Ootes, Altibox Norway Chess

Links: official website

June 26 - July 5 | Russian Championship Higher League | Yaroslavl, Russia

The extremely tough qualifier for the Russian Championship Superfinal that will take place later in the year (dates and venue not yet announced). 

Links: official website

TBA | Paris Grand Chess Tour | Paris, France

The Grand Chess Tour events in Paris and Leuven in 2019 will again feature rapid and blitz chess, but this year they'll be joined by similar events in India and Ivory Coast, while the Sinquefield Cup is joined by a new classical tournament in Croatia. The finals will again be held during the London Chess Classic. 

Hikaru Nakamura is the reigning Grand Chess Tour champion | source: Grand Chess Tour

Links: official website

TBA | YourNextMove Grand Chess Tour | Leuven, Belgium

Links: official website

July 2019

July 13 - 21 | Sparkassen Chess-Meeting | Dortmund, Germany

Ian Nepomniachtchi is the defending champion for the 47th edition of the traditional chess supertournament in Dortmund. Vladimir Kramnik remains stuck on 10 victories in the event after failing to add to his tally in the last 7 years.  

Links: official website

July 20 - 31 | Biel International Chess Festival | Biel, Switzerland

The 52nd edition of the tournament in Biel will struggle to match the line-up in 2018, when Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won ahead of Magnus Carlsen and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. As always we can expect a strong open tournament to accompany the main event.

Carlsen's loss to Mamedyarov in Biel was one of only two classical defeats he suffered in the whole of 2018! The other was to Wesley So in Norway Chess | photo: Lennart Ootes, Biel Chess 2018 

Links: official website

July 20 - 28 | Xtracon Chess Open | Elsinore, Denmark

A big 10-round summer open that usually attracts some very strong players. 

Links: official website

July 26 - August 4 | British Chess Championship | Torquay, England

In 2018 the British Championship titles were won by 6-time champion Mickey Adams and 8-time champion Jovanka Houska. 

Links: official website

August 2019

August 17 - 25 | French Chess Championship | Chartres, France

The 2018 edition of the French Championships gave us two surprise winners: Tigram Gharamian and Pauline Guichard.

August 20 - September 2 | World Cadet Championship | Weifang, China

The annual World Youth Championships for the Under 8, U10 and U12 age categories.

TBA | Sinquefield Cup | Saint Louis, USA

The 7th edition of the Sinquefield Cup will again be a classical tournament forming part of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour, which this year will also feature another classical tournament in Croatia.

Links: official website

September 2019

September 9 - October 2 | FIDE World Cup | Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

The biennial World Cup is probably the most anticipated chess event of 2019, with 128 players set to compete for the title and places in the 2020 Candidates Tournament. Will World Champion Magnus Carlsen take part again after getting knocked out by Bu Xiangzhi in 2017?

The World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2019 is a prelude to the Olympiad being held in the same Siberian city in 2020 | photo:

October 2019

October 1-13 | World Youth Championship | Nagpur, India

The annual World Youth Championship for the Under 14, U16 and U18 age categories.

October 14 - 26 | World Junior Championship | New Delhi, India

The most prestigious prize in junior chess, with players 20 and under competing in 11-round open and women's tournaments to determine the 2019 World Junior Champions. 

October 14 - 21 | Russian Rapid and Blitz Championship | Sochi, Russia

A week in which Russian players battle it out in both individual and team rapid and blitz tournaments. Traditionally Vladislav Artemiev wins almost everything. 

Links: official website

October 23 - November 3 | European Team Championship | Batumi, Georgia

A 9-round biennial team event open to all the European Chess Federations. The defending champions are Azerbaijan, in the open category, and Russia, among the women.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov led Azerbaijan to gold in 2017 on Crete | photo: Niki Riga, official website

November 2019

November 1 - 10 | Fischer Random 2019 | Bærum, Norway

After a match between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura was held in 2018 the plan this year is to expand and hold a World Championship style event open to all online before a knockout tournament takes place in Norway. The World Champion will be seeded through to the semi-final stage.  

November 9 - 17 | European Chess Club Cup | Budva, Montenegro

The annual open and women's European Club Cups are open to qualifying club teams from across Europe. In 2018 Peter Svidler let St. Petersburg-based Mednyi Vsadnik to victory despite losing his first 4 games. 

November 11 - 24 | World Senior Championship | Oradea, Romania

The World Individual Senior Chess Championship is help in open and women's categories for players aged 50+ and 65+. 

December 2019

December 11 - 15 | European Rapid and Blitz Championship | Tallinn, Estonia

In recent years the European Rapid and Blitz Championship has featured as a warm-up for the World Rapid and Blitz held later in December. 

December 13 - 22 | Sunway Chess Open | Sitges, Spain

An ambitious open tournament that has been growing year by year and attracting some top players. 

Links: official website

TBA | London Chess Classic | London, UK

The London Chess Classic again looks set to host the finals of the Grand Chess Tour, which in 2018 featured a 4-player knockout in classical, rapid and blitz chess. We can also expect major accompanying events such as the British Knockout Championship.

Links: official website

We'll keep this calendar updated throughout the year as new tournament details emerge. To watch all the games live check out our Live Tournaments page!

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