The 2019 FIDE World Cup will be officially opened tomorrow in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. The first round, with 128 players from all over the world, is scheduled for Wednesday. In this tournament preview we’re answering seven key questions.

  1. What is it about?
  2. Where is it held?
  3. Who is playing (and who isn’t)?
  4. What are they playing for?
  5. When is it?
  6. What is the time control?
  7. How can I watch?

1. What is it about?

The 2019-2020 world championship cycle took off earlier this year with the new Grand Prix series, from which the top two players will qualify for the 2020 candidates’ tournament. It’s the same for the World Cup, from which both finalists will qualify as well.

The other four participants of the candidates are:

  • the winner of next month’s FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss;
  • one player by average rating over 12 months;
  • the loser of the previous title match (Fabiano Caruana);
  • one wild card.

2. Where is it held?

The 2019 FIDE World Cup takes place September 9 – October 4 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. It’s the fifth time that the event takes place in the oil-rich, Siberian city, 2,575 kilomters (1,600 miles) northeast of Moscow. It will also host next year’s Olympiad.

As always, the venue will be the Ugra Chess Academy, opened in 2010 and designed by the Dutch architect Eric van Egeraat. Numerous chess events have taken place there in the last decade, the last one being the 2017 World Team Championships.

Ugra Chess Academy
The venue of the World Cup is the Ugra Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk, which has hosted four World Cups and many other big chess events before. | Photo: Ugra Chess.

3. Who is playing (and who isn’t)?

Unlike two years ago, Magnus Carlsen (Norway) won’t be playing this time and world number two Fabiano Caruana (USA) isn’t gonna be there either. We also won’t see former winners Vishy Anand (India) and the retired Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), as well as Richard Rapport (Hungary) and the semi-retired Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria).

This makes Ding Liren (China), who came second in the 2017 World Cup, the top seed in Khanty. Other big names that are making the long trip to Siberia are Anish Giri (Netherlands), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Wesley So (USA), Yu Yangyi (China), Leinier Dominguez (USA) and Sergey Karjakin (Russia).

Bu Carlsen 2017 FIDE World Cup
These World Cups are tough. In 2017, Magnus Carlsen was eliminated in the third round by Bu Xiangzhi of China. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

You’ll find many lower rated players as well, who entered the tournament from different qualifying events such as continental championships and zonal tournaments.

For instance, the lowest seed is FM Shaun Press (Papua New Guinea), an international arbiter and modest chess player himself, with a rating of 1954. He qualified as the runner-up in the 2019 Oceania Zonal because the winner, GM Max Illingworth (Australia), had to decline participation due to personal circumstances.

Press will be playing top seed Ding, so his chances to reach the second round are, well, let’s say not very high.

The tournament has 128 players from 47 countries. The biggest contingent of participants is from Russia: 28 players, followed by India (10), China (7) and USA (6). The 14-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan) is the youngest player of the field. The Indian prodigy Nihal Sarin is only a couple of months older. The oldest player is Essam El-Gindy (Egypt) who is 53.

You can find the full pairings tree here in PDF.

FIDE World Cup | Round 1 matchups

Table Title Player Fed Table Title Player Fed
1 GM Ding Liren 128 FM Press Shaun
2 GM Giri Anish 127 FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman
3 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 126 IM Anwuli Daniel
4 GM So Wesley 125 IM Duran Vega Sergio
5 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 124 Gan-Erdene Sugar
6 GM Aronian Levon 123 GM El Gindy Essam
7 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 122 IM Rakotomaharo Fy Antenaina
8 GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 121 GM Escobar Forero Alder
9 GM Grischuk Alexander 120 IM Pultinevicius Paulius
10 GM Radjabov Teimour 119 GM Ziska Helgi Dam
11 GM Artemiev Vladislav 118 GM Iljiushenok Ilia
12 GM Yu Yangyi 117 GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan
13 GM Karjakin Sergey 116 GM Megaranto Susanto
14 GM Nakamura Hikaru 115 GM Bellahcene,Bilel
15 GM Andreikin Dmitry 114 GM Mekhitarian Krikor Sevag
16 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 113 GM Christiansen Johan-Sebast
17 GM Harikrishna Pentala 112 GM Gonzalez Vidal Yuri
18 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 111 GM Henriquez Villagra Cristo
19 GM Svidler Peter 110 GM Albornoz Cabrera Carlos
20 GM Vitiugov Nikita 109 GM Urkedal Frode Olsen Olav
21 GM Wei Yi 108 GM Santos Ruiz Miguel
22 GM Le Quang Liem 107 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej
23 GM Navara David 106 GM Yuffa Daniil
24 GM Bu Xiangzhi 105 GM Xu Xiangyu
25 GM Wang Hao 104 GM Pridorozhni Aleksei
26 GM Shankland Sam 103 GM Safarli Eltaj
27 GM Matlakov Maxim 102 GM Abdusattorov Nodirbek
28 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 101 GM Petrov Nikita
29 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 100 GM Pichot Alan
30 GM Jakovenko Dmitry 99 GM Martinez Alcantara Jose
31 GM Xiong Jeffery 98 GM Lysyj Igor
32 GM Firouzja Alireza 97 GM Pashikian Arman
33 GM Dubov Daniil 96 GM Cordova Emilio
34 GM Amin Bassem 95 GM Tabatabaei M.amin
35 GM Jones Gawain 94 GM Flores Diego
36 GM Grandelius Nils 93 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr
37 GM Adams Michael 92 GM Aravindh Chithambaram VR.
38 GM Gelfand Boris 91 GM Lu Shanglei
39 GM Cori Jorge 90 GM Nihal Sarin
40 GM Rodshtein Maxim 89 GM Bartel Mateusz
41 GM Inarkiev Ernesto 88 GM Karthikeyan Murali
42 GM McShane Luke 87 GM Delgado Ramirez Neuris Ramirez Neuris
43 GM Korobov Anton 86 GM Gupta Abhijeet
44 GM Anton Guijarro David 85 GM Narayanan.S.L
45 GM Naiditsch Arkadij 84 GM Huschenbeth Niclas
46 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 83 GM Esipenko Andrey
47 GM Nabaty Tamir 82 GM Sethuraman S.P.
48 GM Fedoseev Vladimir 81 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar
49 GM Alekseenko Kirill 80 GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son
50 GM Berkes Ferenc 79 GM Jumabayev Rinat
51 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter 78 GM Parligras Mircea-Emilian
52 GM Sevian Samuel 77 GM Tari Aryan
53 GM Adhiban B. 76 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo
54 GM Cheparinov Ivan 75 GM Adly Ahmed
55 GM Sjugirov Sanan 74 GM Mareco Sandro
56 GM Saric Ivan 73 GM Bok Benjamin
57 GM Piorun Kacper 72 GM Abasov Nijat
58 GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 71 GM Bareev Evgeny
59 GM Maghsoodloo Parham 70 GM Chigaev Maksim
60 GM Sarana Alexey 69 GM Predke Alexandr
61 GM Demchenko Anton 68 GM Hovhannisyan Robert
62 GM Kovalenko Igor 67 GM Lupulescu Constantin
63 GM Gledura Benjamin 66 GM Najer Evgeniy
64 GM Movsesian Sergei 65 GM Oparin Grigoriy

4. What are they playing for?

Besides the two spots in the candidates’ tournament, there’s obviously the prize money. The total prize fund is $1,600,000 (1,450,000 euros).

2019 FIDE World Cup | Prizes

Round Players Prize ($) Sum
Round 1 64 6,000 384,000
Round 2 32 10,000 320,000
Round 3 16 16,000 256,000
Round 4 8 25,000 200,000
Round 5 4 35,000 140,000
Fourth place 1 50,000 50,000
Third place 1 60,000 60,000
Runner-up 1 80,000 80,000
Winner 1 110,000 110,000
Total 128 1,600,000
Ding Aronian 2017 World Cup. | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich/FIDE.
Aronian beat Ding in the final of the 2017 World Cup. As finalists, both qualified for the 2018 candidates’ tournament which was won by Caruana. | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich/FIDE.

5. When is it?

The opening ceremony will be held on September 9, at 7 p.m. local time—not in the Ugra Chess Academy by the way, but in the Arts Center for Gifted Children of the North. The draw of colors for round one will take place during the ceremony.

The tournament itself will have the well-known schedule of two classical games per round, and tiebreaks for each match that ended in 1-1 on the third day. The final will have four classical games instead of two. September 19 and 29 are rest days.

  • Round 1: Sept. 10-12
  • Round 2: Sept. 13-15
  • Round 3: Sept. 16-18
  • Round 4: Sept. 20-22
  • Round 5: Sept. 23-25
  • Round 6: Sept. 26-28
  • Round 7: Sept. 30-Oct. 4

Each day play starts at 3 p.m. local time which is 12:00 (noon) in Central Europe, 6 a.m. Eastern and 3 a.m. Pacific time.

2017 Chess World Cup quarterfinals
The 2017 Chess World Cup quarterfinals. Sadly, we won’t see Vassily Ivanchuk playing this time. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

6. What is the time control?

The classical games are played with the standard, FIDE time control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

If the score is level after the two regular games, tiebreaks will first have rapid games with 25 minutes for each player + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move one. If the score remains tied, two blitz games will follow with 10 minutes + 10 seconds per move. The next step are two games played with five minutes + three seconds per move.

Finally, if the score remains level, then one sudden-death (“armageddon”) game is played. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. The player with the white pieces receives five minutes, the player with the black pieces four minutes; after move 60, both players receive an increment of two seconds per move. In case of a draw, the player with the black pieces is declared the winner.

7. How can I watch?

You can follow the games here as part of our live portal Chess.com/events. Besides the commentary on the official website we’d like to inform you about the daily coverage by our Twitch partner, the Chessbrahs.

GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton will be covering the tournament each day on their channel Twitch.tv/Chessbrah. Each day play starts at 3 p.m. local time which is 12:00 (noon) CEST, 6 a.m. Eastern and 3 a.m. Pacific time.

https://www.chess.com/news/view/2019-fide-world-cup-preview