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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024 marks a historic occasion; 5 Indian players compete for the first time

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The FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024 is set to take place at Toronto in Canada from April 3 to 23, where for the first time five Indian players will be competing to become a challenger to the World Champion.

It is indeed a historic occasion. The FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024 will be held in North America for the first time. It is also for the first time that the FIDE Candidates and FIDE Women’s Candidates are organized together under one roof on the same dates.

Format of FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024

The 20-day tournament, will feature 14 rounds, in both events, meaning that each player will face seven of their rivals twice, once with white and once with black pieces. The three-week tournament will have 4 rest days, of which the first one on April 8. That will allow the participants and guests to witness the total solar eclipse, which will be visible across Toronto between 2:04 p.m. and 4:31 p.m.

Qualification Process of FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024

The qualification process for the final 8 players in each event was excruciating. The  winner of the Open category will face World Champion Ding Liren and the women’s winner will take on Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun at the end of this year. In addition to the coveted first place, players will compete for a share of the prize funds of €500,000 in the Candidates Tournament and €250,000 in the Women’s Candidates Tournament.

New generation and Indian challenge

The lineups for this year’s FIDE Candidates Tournament is quite interesting as several young talents enter the late stages of the world championship cycle for the first time. This can be considered as a  generational shift in chess as the younger players are ready to conquer the chess world.

Despite qualifying for the Candidates Tournament 2024 by winning the 2023 FIDE World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, Magnus Carlsen officially withdrew from the event. The vacant spot was awarded to the next highest finisher in the 2023 FIDE World Cup, Nijat Abasov of Azerbaijan.

FIDE Candidates Tournament Participants:
Ian Nepomniachtchi (FIDE, 2758) – qualified as the previous World Championship match runner-up.

Praggnanandhaa R (India, 2747) – qualified as the 2023 World Cup runner-up.

Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2804) – qualified as the third-place finisher at the 2023 World Cup.

Nijat Abasov (Azerbaijan, 2632) – qualified as the fourth-place finisher at the 2023 World Cup.

Vidit Gujrathi (India, 2747) – qualified as the 2023 Grand Swiss winner.

Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2789) – qualified as the 2023 Grand Swiss runner-up.

Alireza Firouzja (France, 2760) – qualified as the best by rating on January 1, 2024.

Gukesh D (India, 2747) – qualified as the 2023 FIDE Circuit winner.

FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament Participants:

Lei Tingjie (China, 2550) – qualified as the previous World Championship match runner-up.

Kateryna Lagno (FIDE, 2542) – qualified as the 2022−23 Women’s Grand Prix winner.

Aleksandra Goryachkina (FIDE, 2553) – qualified as the 2022−23 Women’s Grand Prix runner-up.

Nurgyul Salimova (Bulgaria, 2426) – qualified as the 2023 Women’s World Cup runner-up.

Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine, 2520) – qualified as the third-place finisher at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Vaishali R (India, 2481) – qualified as the 2023 Women’s Grand Swiss winner.

Tan Zhongyi (China, 2521) – qualified as the 2023 Women’s Grand Swiss runner-up.

Humpy Koneru (India, 2546) – qualified as the best by rating on January 1, 2024.

Since the 1st Candidates Tournament played in 1950, as many as five Indians have qualified for the tournament. Vishwanathan Anand last played Candidates in 2014 and since then it took a decade for Indians to qualify for the event.

Indian Chess is definitely on the rise as we have got almost 50  Grand Masters in the last decade. And now out of 16 players, five being India at the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024, including two teenage prodigies, further proves the point. 

Iconic World Chess Sets

This year’s tournament will exclusively use the iconic World Chess Championship sets following the tradition that has lasted since 2012. The sets, designed by Pentagram for World Chess and manufactured by World Chess, epitomize the perfect blend of form and function, capturing the essence of Chess at its highest level. 

“The chess board and pieces are often the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of chess. The evolution of design and craftsmanship in chess sets throughout history has elevated them to the status of art. These visual components play an important role in shaping the game’s image and promotion. We are delighted that the tradition of specially designing chess sets for top events has emerged, and we look forward to its continuation,” FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich said.

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