Home Chess News The 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament Opens in Toronto

The 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament Opens in Toronto

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The 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament Opens in Toronto

The 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament began in Toronto, Canada yesterday with a press conference and the opening ceremony at the 1 Hotel Toronto in the downtown area. 

Canada is hosting this prestigious event for the first time in North America, and it’s a momentous occasion as both the FIDE Candidates Tournament and the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament are taking place under one roof.  This marks the first time that these two tournaments have been held in the same venue. 

Press conference. Photos credit – Michal Walusza.

In addition, this event is unique as siblings Vaishali R and Praggnanandhaa R will be competing side by side in this high-calibre tournament. It is the first time that siblings have participated in this tournament together.

Vladimir Drkulec, the President of the Chess Federation of Canada, Aris Marghetis, the Chief Arbiter, and other delegates attended the ceremony.  Isai Scheinberg, a representative of the Scheinberg Family, the main sponsor of The 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament, was also present.

Notably absent from the event was FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich.  Although no official reason was given, the absence is likely related to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia Dvorkovich is a Russian citizen with high-level political connections, while Canada is part of the Western/NATO coalition involved in the conflict.

Isai Scheinberg (left) a representative of the Scheinberg Family receiving an award from Emil Sutovsky, CEO of the International Chess Federation (FIDE). Press conference. Photos credit – Michal Walusza.
The Kenyan connection to the 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament. Francis Rodrigues, former Kenya Chess Association Chairman pose with two well know personalities Vishy Anand and Irina Krush.
The Kenyan connection to the 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament. Francis Rodrigues, former Kenya Chess Association Chairman poses with two well know personalities Vishy Anand and Irina Krush.

FIDE Candidates Tournament

FIDE Candidates Tournament will witness an eclectic mix of talent and experience from across the globe, including the two-time Candidate (from 2021 and 2022), Ian Nepomniachtchi, the 2018 Candidate from the USA, Fabiano Caruana, his compatriot and one of the world’s top Blitz players Hikaru Nakamura.   Other include India’s hopes Vidit GujrathiR Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh D, as well as naturalised Frenchman Alireza Firouzja and Nijat Abasov from Azerbaijan.

Fabiano Caruana is the hot favourite to win the event.  He also has by far the most Candidates Tournament experience in the field, with 2024 being his fifth straight.

Fabiano Caruana.
Fabiano Caruana. Press conference. Photos credit – Michal Walusza.

I am cheering for Ian Nepomniachtchi, who came agonisingly close to winning the World Championship crown in the 2023 Finals against eventual winner Ding Liren. Will Ian Nepomniachtchi win the 2024 Candidates and give Russian chess fans hope for a World Chess Crown? Only time will tell.  

The last Russian World Champion was Vladimir Kramnik, who lost the crown to Vishy Anand in 2006.  Russians held the World Chess Championship Crown from 1948 to 2006, except for the brief Bobby Fischer reign from 1972 to 1975.

 Ian Nepomniachtchi. The 2024 FIDE Candidates
Ian Nepomniachtchi. Press conference. Photos credit – Michal Walusza.

FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament

In the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament, the eight players fighting for the title include the former women’s World Champion Tan Zhongyi as well as five former Challengers — Lei TingjieKateryna LagnoAleksandra GoryachkinaAnna Muzychuk, and Koneru Humpy.  They are joined by two rising women’s chess stars — Nurgyul Salimova and Vaishali Rameshbabu.

The potentially explosive games will be between Ukrainian star Anna Muzychuk and her Russian opponents Kateryna Lagno & Aleksandra Goryachkina.  

Who am I cheering for in the Women’s Section?  It will be the charming Kateryna Lagno!

The charming Kateryna Lagno. The 2024 FIDE Candidates
The charming Kateryna Lagno. Photos credit – Michal Walusza.

 The total prize fund for the event is 750,000 euros (820,000 US dollars), with 500,000 for the Open and 250,000 for the Women’s Candidates.

Mama to Vaishali R and Praggnanandhaa R. The 2024 FIDE Candidates
Mama to Vaishali R and Praggnanandhaa R. The proud mother with two children in the 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament. Photos credit – Michal Walusza.
The 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament
Event poster.

Links

Official website of the 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament.

Ju Wenjun retains World Championship Crown.

 Aleksandra Goryachkina grabs the lead in round 8.

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Think Like a Super-GM Article by Kenya Chess Masala.