General Feb 7, 2020 | 10:38 AMby Colin McGourty

2020 Chess Calendar

Can Magnus Carlsen extend his 7-year reign as World Chess Champion? That will be the main chess question of 2020, though first the big question is who will qualify to play him from the Candidates Tournament that starts in mid-March in Yekaterinburg, Russia. It’s also an Olympiad year, with this year’s massive chess celebration switching to Moscow. Before that, however, the 2020s get off to a flying start with the Women’s World Championship, Tata Steel Chess (Carlsen vs. Firouzja, anyone?) and the Gibraltar Masters.

With the big World Championship events and no Grand Prix series, the schedule for top players in 2020 is going to be lighter than the frankly insane 2019, especially as the Grand Chess Tour has cut down on events and decided to skip finals in 2020. There's another reason for some of the gaps in the calendar, however, as some events are yet to be announced.  

Needless to say, we’ll update this calendar as new information becomes available, while if you have any tips please let us know in the comments below.

Current and upcoming tournaments:

March 2020

March 17 – April 4 | FIDE Candidates Tournament | Yekaterinburg, Russia

The 8 contenders | source: FIDE

Fabiano Caruana and Ding Liren start as the clear favourites in this 14-round 8-player double round-robin to decide Magnus Carlsen’s next World Championship challenger. The other six players in the second most important chess event of 2020 are Alexander Grischuk, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Anish Giri, Teimour Radjabov, Wang Hao and Kirill Alekseenko. The ratings and rankings below are from the January 2020 FIDE rating list.

NameFEDRatingWorld rankQualified as
1Fabiano Caruana282222018 World Championship runner-up
2Ding Liren280532019 World Cup runner-up
3Alexander Grischuk277742019 Grand Prix series winner
4Ian Nepomniachtchi277452019 Grand Prix series runner-up
5Anish Giri27689Highest average rating for 2019
6Teimour Radjabov2765112019 World Cup winner
7Wang Hao2758122019 Grand Swiss winner
8Kirill Alekseenko 270436Organiser wild card

Links: official website, chess24

April 2020

April | Banter Blitz Cup Finals | chess24

The $50,000 Banter Blitz Cup is a 128-player knockout featuring World Champion Magnus Carlsen and more than 100 more grandmasters, with all players required to stream their games live and commentate as they play. The winner will take home $14,000.

Links: official website

May 2020

May 4 - 15 | Superbet Chess Classic Romania | Bucharest, Romania

The 2020 Grand Chess Tour begins with all 10 regular tour players competing in this 9-round classical tournament with a $325,000 prize fund. This year's Grand Chess Tour features two classical events and three rapid and blitz (of which each tour regular plays two), with no Finals. Instead $175,000 will be awarded to the top three overall finishers.

Links: official website

May 20 – 30 | American Continental Championship | Santiago, Chile

An 11-round event for players in the Americas that also serves as one of the qualifiers for the 2021 FIDE World Cup.

June 2020

June 2 – 13 | European Women’s Individual Championship | Mamaia, Romania

An 11-round Swiss open tournament to decide the 2020 European Women’s Champion.

June 4 – 14 | Top 12 French Team Championship | France

One of the world’s strongest national team events. 12 teams, usually including a number of foreign players, play a single round-robin over 11 rounds. 

June 9 - 19 | Summer Chess Classic | Saint Louis, USA

One of a series of four annual tournaments held in the Saint Louis Chess Club with the aim of giving strong but not elite players experience of playing in round-robin events.

June 24 - 28 | Paris Grand Chess Tour | Paris, France

The 2nd stage of the 2020 Grand Chess Tour is a rapid and blitz tournament with a $150,000 prize fund. This year's Grand Chess Tour features two classical events and three rapid and blitz (of which each tour regular plays two), with no Finals. Instead $175,000 will be awarded to the top three overall finishers.

Links: official website

June 26 – July 5 | European Senior Team Chess Championship | Wrocław, Poland

A 9-round team event in the 50+ and 65+ age categories.

June 26 – July 5 | Russian Championship Higher League | Maykop, Russia

This extremely tough open tournament serves as a qualifier for the Russian Championship Superfinals. In 2020 it’s taking place in Maykop, the capital city of the Russian Republic of Adygea.

Links: official website

July 2020

July 2 – 6 | León Masters | León, Spain

The 23rd edition of the Magistral Ciudad de León will again be a 4-player knockout rapid and blitz tournament. The line-up includes 2019 winner Parham Maghsoodloo, Leinier Dominguez and local player Jaime Santos Latasa.

chess24's Pepe Cuenca commentated live as Parham Maghsoodloo beat Vassily Ivanchuk in the final to win the 2019 edition

Links: official website

July 4 - 8 | Croatia Grand Chess Tour | Zagreb, Croatia

The 3rd event in this year's Grand Chess Tour is a rapid and blitz tournament in Croatia, with a $150,000 prize fund. In 2019 Magnus Carlsen won what was then an 11-round classical tournament:

This year's Grand Chess Tour features two classical events and three rapid and blitz (of which each tour regular plays two), with no Finals. Instead $175,000 will be awarded to the top three overall finishers.

Links: official website

July 7 - 14 | Paris Championship | Paris, France

This open tournament is the 95th edition of an event that was inaugurated in 1925. Jules Moussard was the winner in 2019.

Links: official website

July 9 - 20 | US Junior, Girls and Senior Championships | Saint Louis, USA

Once again the Saint Louis Chess Club is hosting the most important US chess events.

July 9 – 17 | European Youth Team Chess Championship | Thessaloniki, Greece

A 7-round team event features U18 and U12 categories for boys and girls.

July 15 - 19 | Sparkassen Chess Trophy 2020 | Dortmund, German

It seems change is afoot in Dortmund this year, with only a teaser available for a new 5-day event rather than the traditional 7-round classical tournament.

Links: official website

July 18 – 26 | British Chess Championship | Torquay, England

The British Championship returns to the same venue as in 2019, when Mickey Adams won his 7th title and Jovanka Houska won her 9th.

Links: official website

July 18 – 26 | Xtracon Chess Open | Helsingør, Denmark

A strong 10-round open that each year attracts hundreds of players. At the time of writing Swedish no. 1 Nils Grandelius is the top seed.

Links: official website

July 18 – 29 | Biel International Chess Festival | Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

This will be the 53rd year of the chess festival, which in 2019 had both an experimental field and format, mixing multiple types of chess. The top event is usually accompanied by a strong open. 

Links: official website

July 29 – August 5 | 1st World Chess Paralympiad | Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

The inaugural Olympiad for disabled chess players will take place in Khanty-Mansiysk, the planned venue for the overall Olympiad before the main event was switched to Moscow.

August 2020

August 2 - 9 | French Youth Championships | Agen, France

Last year this event attracted an amazing 1800 players between the ages of 5 and 20.

Links: official website

August 6 – 17 | 44th World Chess Olympiad | Moscow, Russia

With over 300 teams and approaching 2000 players, the biennial World Chess Olympiad is the biggest and arguably the most enjoyable event in chess. This year it was supposed to take place in Khanty-Mansiysk, as it did in 2010, but late last year the venue was switched from that Siberian city to the Russian capital Moscow. China are defending the double gold medals they won in Batumi, Georgia in 2018.

The Chinese men and women not only won team gold in Batumi - Ding Liren won individual gold on board 1 in the open section and Ju Wenjun did the same in the women's event! | photo: official website

August 25 - 29 | Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz | Saint Louis, USA

The 4th event in the 2020 Grand Chess Tour. This year's tour features two classical events and three rapid and blitz (of which each tour regular plays two), with no Finals. Instead $175,000 will be awarded to the top three overall finishers.

Links: official website

August 30 - September 10 | Sinquefield Cup | Saint Louis, USA

The 8th edition of the Sinquefield Cup is a 10-player classical tournament that concludes the 2020 Sinquefield Cup. As well as the $325,000 prize fund for the event, the $175,000 prize fund for the tour as a whole will also be allocated to the top three players. 

Links: official website

September 2020

September 7 – 20 | World Youth Championship | Mamaia, Romania

The U14, U16 and U18 World Youth Championships are being held as 11-round tournaments in open and girls categories.

Links: official website

September 10 – October 3 | Women’s World Cup | Minsk, Belarus

This 64-player knockout event would previously have determined a new Women’s World Champion but now, as in the overall World Championship cycle, the two finalists instead qualify for a Candidates Tournament to be held in 2021.  

September 24 - October 3 | Fall Chess Classic | Saint Louis, USA

One of a series of four annual tournaments held in the Saint Louis Chess Club with the aim of giving strong but not elite players experience of playing in round-robin events.

September 27 – October 4 | Russian Rapid and Blitz Championships | Sochi, Russia

Sochi is again hosting the traditional annual Russian individual and team championships in rapid and blitz.

Links: official website

October 2020

October 3 – 17 | Altibox Norway Chess | Stavanger, Norway

World Champion Magnus Carlsen will head the field for the 8th edition of this Norwegian super-tournament. Once again the organisers are planning a format where draws in classical chess are followed by Armageddon, while this year Vladimir Kramnik will join Judit Polgar as a commentator.

Fabiano Caruana spoilt Magnus Carlsen's final day by winning their match in Armageddon, but Magnus won the other 6 Armageddons he played and won the tournament by a full 3 points | photo: Lennart Ootes, Altibox Norway Chess

Links: official website

October 5 – 13 | European Chess Club Cup | Mayrhofen, Austria

This annual team tournament is a 7-round Swiss event open to European club teams, which can also include players from outside Europe. The reigning champions are Obiettivo Risarcimento from Padua, Italy, who were led by Richard Rapport and scored a perfect 14/14 in 2019.

October 18 – 31 | World Cadet Championship | Batumi, Georgia

A World Championship for the Under 8, 10 and 12 age groups, with the events split into open and girls sections.

October 22 – 26 | European Women’s Rapid & Blitz Championship | Kyiv/Lviv, Ukraine

Alexandra Kosteniuk is the reigning champion in both rapid and blitz, with the tournaments held as Swiss opens.

November 2020

November 6 – 16 | World Senior Championship | Assisi, Italy

The annual World Senior Championship is held with 11-round Swiss tournaments in 50+ and 65+ categories.

November 12 – 22 | European Youth Chess Championship | Antalya, Turkey

12 Swiss tournaments in U8 to U18 and open and girls categories for European players.

November 17 - 26 | Winter Chess Classic | Saint Louis, USA

One of a series of four annual tournaments held in the Saint Louis Chess Club with the aim of giving strong but not elite players experience of playing in round-robin events.

November | World Championship Match: Carlsen vs ? | UAE/Argentina

The chess highlight of 2020 will see Magnus Carlsen bid to defend the World Championship title he won against Vishy Anand in 2013 for a 4th time in a row. The length of the match has been extended from 12 to 14 games, with other changes including a ban on draw offers before move 40, increments only from move 61 onwards, fewer rest days and a prize fund doubled to a minimum of 2 million euros.

Can Magnus Carlsen win a 5th World Championship match in 2020, or will we have a new World Champion? | photo: Niki Riga

December 2020

December 3 – 6 | European Rapid and Blitz Championship | Katowice, Poland

The European rapid and blitz champions are decided in Swiss opens held at a 15+10 time control (rapid) and 3+2 (blitz).  

December 7 – 11 | Russian Rapid Grand Prix Final | Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

A 16-player open tournament for players who performed well in the Russian Grand Prix series of rapid events in 2020.

Links: official site

December 8 - 21 | European Individual Chess Championship | Terme Olimia, Slovenia

This 11-round event once again serves a double purpose. As well as determining the European Champion it’s also a qualifying path for 22 players to reach the 2021 FIDE World Cup.

Links: official website

December 10 – 19 | Russian Cup Final | Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

16-player (open) and 8-player (women) knockout tournaments featuring the top performers in the Russian Cup series of classical open tournaments held during 2020.

Links: official site

December 26 – 30 | European Youth Rapid & Blitz Championships | Novi Sad, Serbia

Rapid and blitz championships in categories that range from Under 8 to Under 18.

Finshed events:

January 2020

January 5 – 24 | Women’s World Championship | Shanghai/Vladivostok

The 2020 Women’s World Championship is a 12-game match featuring Chinese defending champion and women’s world no. 2 Ju Wenjun and her Russian challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina, who won the 2019 Women’s Candidates Tournament. The first six games of the match take place in Shanghai before the players head further east to Vladivostok for the remainder of the match.

Links: official websitechess24 | Reports: Preview12-45-67-89-1011-12Tiebreaks

January 11 – 26 | Tata Steel Chess | Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands

Magnus Carlsen goes for title no. 8 as the 14-player Tata Steel Masters kicks off the chess 2020s. Despite the late withdrawal of Ian Nepomniachtchi (replaced by Nikita Vitiugov) the field includes another three Top 10 players – Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri and Wesley So – as well as the 15th World Champion Vishy Anand. Young guns Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Vladislav Artemiev and Jeffery Xiong are joined by 16-year-old phenomenon Alireza Firouzja, who is making his super-tournament debut. 

David Anton is top seed in the Challengers, which also features youngsters Nihal Sarin, Anton Smirnov and Vincent Keymer. Jan Gustafsson and Peter Svidler will commentate live for chess24.

Links: official website, chess24: MastersChallengersQualifier | Reports: Preview12345678910111213

January 21 – 30 | Gibraltar Masters | Gibraltar

The 10-round Gibraltar Masters open tournament is once again the highlight of the Gibraltar Chess Festival, with Top 10 players Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov the top seeds. The event will also feature as a Candidates Tournament warm-up for Wang Hao and Kirill Alekseenko. The overall top prize has risen to £30,000 with the £20,000 prize for the top woman attracting Humpy Koneru and many more of the world’s best female players.

Links: official website, chess24: MastersChallengers A, BAmateur AB | Reports: 1-67-89-10

January 25 – February 2 | Moscow Open | Moscow, Russia

The Moscow Open, comprising a wide range of different tournaments, is one of the year’s biggest chess events in terms of the numbers involved.

Links: official website, chess24: OpenWomen

February 2020

February 7 – 17 | Cairns Cup | Saint Louis, USA

The 2nd edition of the Cairns Cup is once again an all-women 10-player round-robin modelled on the Sinquefield Cup. The total prize fund has grown to $180,000, with $45,000 for first place. The defending champion is Valentina Gunina, while the top seed will be Ju Wenjun, who recently defended her Women's World Championship title for a 2nd time.

Links: official websitechess24 | Reports: 1234567-89

February 12 – 21 | Prague International Chess Festival | Prague, Czech Republic

The 2nd edition of this new top-level event has Jan-Krzysztof Duda as the top seed, with Nikita Vitiugov, Harikrishna, Vidit, David Navara, David Anton, Nils Grandelius, Sam Shankland, Markus Ragger and Alireza Firouzja completing a field with an average rating over 2700. 16-year-old Alireza was a late replacement for Wei Yi, whose plan to take part was thwarted by the coronavirus. 

The Challengers is also a good mix of foreign players and local stars, while this year a “Futures” tournament will give an additional chance for aspiring youngsters.

Links: official website, chess24: MastersChallengersFuturesOpen | Reports: 12-34-56-789

February 21 – 23 | Bunratty Chess Festival | Bunratty, Ireland

The Bunratty Chess Festival is as much a social event as a chess tournament, though the 6-round weekend open always features some top players. At the time of writing Nigel Short is the top seed.

Links: official websitechess24

February 19 – 27 | Aeroflot Open | Moscow, Russia

The top section of the Aeroflot Open, now in its 18th edition, is one of the most formidable events in top level chess, with a 2550+ rating required for most players. The winner of the 9-round event qualifies for the traditional supertournament in Dortmund later in the year.

Links: official websitechess24 | Report

February 28 - March 1 | 80th Noteboom Tournament | Leiden, The Netherlands

The Noteboom Tournament celebrates its 80th edition by not only having three 6-round Opens but a 4- player rapid double round-robin featuring the 12th World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov, Jan Timman, Robert Hübner and Predrag Nikolic.

Links: official website, chess24: Old MastersOpen

March 2020

March 1 - 14 | 3rd FIDE Women's Grand Prix | Lausanne, Switzerland

This 12-player round-robin is the 3rd of four Women's Grand Prix events that will determine two places in the 2021 Women's Candidates Tournament. The series consists of 16 players who compete in 3 of the 4 events. The top prize is 15,000 euros, with another 20,000 euros for the overall winner of the series.

Links: official websitechess24

March 6 – 14 | World Senior Team Chess Championship | Prague, Czech Republic

A 9-round team competition for 4-player teams organised in 50+ and 65+ age groups and open and women’s categories. There are no limits to the number of teams that can play for a federation.

Links: official website, chess24: Over 50Over 65

March 14 - 15 | Chess Bundesliga 2019/2020 | 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. For six weekends teams are split in venues across Germany before coming together for a final 3-day May Day weekend in Berlin.

Links: official websitechess24

Once again, we'll be updating this calendar as more details of the chess year are announced. If you have a tip please let us know in the comments below.

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