FIDE-Rated Event Reporting, Part 2

We continue our discussion of how to report your FIDE event smoothly.

fide gens una sumus
The FIDE motto means “We are one family.”

Part 1 was about the pre-work that goes into being Chief Arbiter of such an event.

This time, let’s see what you need to do in order to start the tournament and run it smoothly.

 

Pairings

All of your players are entered into SwissSys with the correct USCF and FIDE IDs. If using Swiss-Manager, all of your players are entered there too, and you’ve customized the appearance of your event on chess-results.com.

What you do next depends on whether you have a Round Robin or a Swiss.

 

Round Robin

Draw random start numbers for your players; their ratings and titles are irrelevant. I let Swiss-Manager do this for me as far in advance as I can, and then publish the pairings to chess-results so that the players can prepare for their games.

Of course, you can have the players physically draw the numbers themselves if you have time before the event, e.g. the day before Round 1. Once the numbers are selected, all pairings will be made automatically.

Berger Pairing Tables
Once the players have their start numbers, all pairings are pre-determined. The FIDE page in this screenshot includes round robin pairings for up to 16 players.

SwissSys can also randomly draw numbers and pair your RR, but remember that this program was originally designed to run USCF and not FIDE tournaments: make sure to select “Berger/FIDE” and not “Crenshaw” under “Pairing Rules…”

How do you know it has paired correctly? Player #1 will have White in the first two rounds.

Since the entire tournament is now paired, you just enter results as games finish. For a norm RR, there’s nothing to calculate — either a player makes the required score or they don’t.

 

Swiss System

Here things are different. The most important task is to enter all of your players’ correct FIDE ratings. That will be their official rating on the first day of the month your event begins. Wrong ratings, wrong pairings!

swisssys_fide_mode
If using SwissSys, make sure the FIDE pairing engine is turned on when pairing a FIDE-rated Swiss!

Whether you pair with SwissSys or Swiss-Manager you should now produce identical pairings, but with SwissSys remember to turn on FIDE pairings!

USCF pairing rules can sometimes produce more than one valid outcome. That’s not the case with FIDE (Dutch) pairings; there is only one correct answer, as the algorithm is very specific. Don’t even think about changing the pairings it gives you, as doing so could invalidate any norms earned!

 

As with any tournament, double- and triple-check that you have entered all results properly before pairing the next round.

In a norm tournament, keep an eye on possible norms the last couple of rounds so that you’re ready to make the certificates if needed (more on that in Part 3). Also, it’s nice to let players know what they need in the last round (win, draw, or even a loss) to earn a norm. Some players will ask, so know how to calculate the answer! Let me know if you would like me to create a post on how to do so.

 

Scoresheets/PGNs

You ordered carbonless scoresheets, right? Collect the original (white copy) from the players.

This past summer a GM ripped up his white copy in front of me and threw it in the trash — insisting “this is mine” — but he’s wrong about that.

[Article 8.3 in the FIDE Laws of Chess reads: “The scoresheets are the property of the organiser of the competition.”]

Anyway, unless you’re using DGT boards for every game, create a PGN file for each FIDE-rated section and enter the games during rounds. You’ll have time for this, as each round should last 4+ hours (with a minimum time control of 90 minutes for the game with a 30 second increment).

If you are using DGT boards for some or all games, download the PGNs after each round and add them to your files.

 

Final Thoughts

The actual running of the tournament has less pitfalls than the pre-event stuff, but still requires care.

Questions or comments are always appreciated!

Up next in Part 3: what you need to do at the end of your event.

FIDE-Rated Event Reporting, Part 1

fide logo
FIDE, the International Chess Federation.

Congratulations! You’re going to be Chief Arbiter of your very first FIDE-rated event. It may even be a tournament offering IM or GM norms!

What information do you need to submit? How? And by when?

Remember: National Arbiters (NA) may be Chief Arbiter of FIDE-rated events that do not offer title norms. A FIDE Arbiter (FA) or International Arbiter (IA) must be the Chief of norm events.

Here in Part 1, I’ll talk about pre-event “gotchas.” Part 2 will cover what to do during the tournament. Finally, Part 3 will discuss what to do after the event has ended.

While some info here can be helpful to any arbiter, these posts are aimed at USA arbiters submitting events to the US Chess Federation (USCF, or US Chess).

 

USCF Responsibilities

You need to email your event’s information to the US Chess FIDE Events Manager (currently, IA Brian Yang) so that he can register your event with FIDE. You cannot do this yourself, and must go through US Chess. You can email fide@uschess.0rg.

For a title norm event (you’re an FA or IA, right?), you need to send the info to US Chess at least 33 days before the start date of your event.

For a non-norm event, you can send the info a mere 3 days 6 days before the start. [FIDE needs the info 3 days prior, from US Chess. Thanks to IA Judit Sztaray for this correction!]

Which information to include? Below is the info I sent Brian to register the 2023 New York Winter Invitational – GM A. Feel free to steal this template:

Tournament Name: 2023 New York Winter Invitational – GM A
City and State: New York, NY
Number of players: 10
System: RR
Start Date: 2023-01-12
End Date: 2023-01-16
Time Control: 90 minutes with 30 second increment from move 1
Playing schedule:
Round 1: 11/12 7PM
Round 2: 11/13 12PM
Round 3: 11/13 6PM
Round 4: 11/14 12PM
Round 5: 11/14 6PM
Round 6: 11/15 12PM
Round 7: 11/15 6PM
Round 8: 11/16 10AM
Round 9: 11/16 4PM
Chief Arbiter: Andre Harding (2008335)
Chief Organizer: Keith Espinosa (30911044)

Note as well that you need to have a Chief Arbiter and Chief Organizer (a person, not an organization) when registering your event. Include their FIDE IDs, as I have done here. The CA and CO can be the same person.

When your event is registered, it will be assigned an Event Code and look like this on the FIDE website:

fide tournament details
If this page doesn’t exist, your tournament doesn’t exist to FIDE!

 

A Very Important Detail

USCF rating report screenshot
Two FIDE-rated sections, one USCF rating report.

TDs usually include all event sections in one USCF rating report. You can do that when submitting FIDE events for USCF rating, too.

(I’ll talk more about the rating reports in Part 3.)

 

When it comes to FIDE-rated events, however, each FIDE-rated section must be registered as a separate tournament! Behold:

fide events rated
Two USCF-rated sections in one USCF rating report become two separate FIDE events!

 

The email snippet above registering the January 2023 event was actually four times as long, because I had to send essentially the same info four times to register each section: GM A, GM B, IM C, and IM D. Cut and paste is your friend here…

 

SwissSys

If for some reason you don’t already have a copy of SwissSys, you now need it! That’s because you need to submit your event for FIDE rating using SwissSys files.

This means, even if you use Swiss-Manager as I do, prepare your SwissSys files before the tournament!

Create as many sections in SwissSys as you need for your event as you would for a normal USCF tournament. Enter all of your players (if your event is far in the future, update regularly).

Now, as you register players, the “I.D. number” field should contain their USCF ID. In the “I.D. #2” field, enter their FIDE ID number! Search the players on ratings.fide.com

Which rating to use? I enter the players’ current FIDE ratings, but this doesn’t matter UNLESS you’re going to pair a FIDE-rated Swiss tournament with SwissSys. Then it is a must (more on that in Part 2).

[Edit: IA Tom Langland mentioned a combined USCF/FIDE rating database I was unaware of, which should make this process much easier! I found it here: https://www.kingregistration.com/combineddb]

Check that the players have current USCF memberships, as you would for any non-FIDE-rated event. However: any GM/IM/WGM/WIM whose FIDE country is not USA is exempt from having a current membership. They just need a USCF ID number. So get your foreign players a USCF ID if they don’t have one!

[Edit: IA Sztaray reminds us to make sure all players in FIDE-rated sections have FIDE IDs! Get info from the players (federation, gender, birth year) and email fide@uschess.org to get new IDs. When you have them, enter this info manually.]

 

PGN files

This applies to norm tournaments: GM, IM, WGM, and WIM.

    • For a norm to be valid in a round robin event, a PGN file of all games in the tournament must be submitted to FIDE [in our case, we send them to the US Chess FIDE Events Manager].
    • For a norm to be valid in a Swiss event, PGN files of all games from norm-earners must be included. It’s not required to include all games.

Keep this in mind! If you’re not using DGT boards, you will be entering lots of games into ChessBase! Even if your event doesn’t require the submission of PGN files, strive to collect all game scores.

Order carbonless scoresheets — NOW. Collect the top (white) copy, while the player keeps the bottom (yellow) copy. While you’re at it, order lots of pens.

 

Final Thoughts

This is more work than you anticipated, am I right? Yes — and you must be very detail-oriented.

Doing all this pre-work, however, will make your life much easier when it comes time to submit your event for FIDE rating.

I would appreciate any questions or comments from other arbiters or prospective arbiters!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Swiss-Manager: Essential for Arbiters?

Rarely used in the USA

In March, I wrote that SwissSys is essential for U.S. tournament directors. I neglected to mention WinTD, which other TDs swear by, and I believe is still the tournament management software used for National Scholastics.

When it comes to FIDE-rated, title-norm events run in the United States, I believe Chief Arbiters should use Swiss-Manager (in conjunction with SwissSys, as I’ll explain in a future post). However, few do.

 

What is Swiss-Manager?

Swiss-Manager is tournament management software authored by Friend of FIDE Heinz Herzog (Austria). It is approved to make FIDE “Dutch” pairings (which must be used for Swiss events offering norms, unless a different pairing system is announced in advance — if FIDE officials cannot replicate your pairings, any norms earned may be invalidated!).

It can make pairings, print charts, and so on — just as SwissSys, WinTD, and other such software can do. Swiss-Manager also creates perfect norm certificates: just print and sign!

I will say SwissSys creates the most aesthetically-pleasing printouts, after some fiddling with the fonts.

However, Swiss-Manager has one massive advantage no one else can match: chess-results.com.

Chess-results is the undisputed go-to source for international tournaments: event info, registered players, pairings, results, standings, games, and sometimes even photos! It’s the standard in most major chess countries, except the USA!

 

International Presence

When preparing to run my first title norm event in November 2021, I decided to purchase Swiss-Manager and learn to use it.

This event consisted of three ten-player round robins, and SwissSys (which I have been using since 2003), could easily handle it. But I wanted entered players (and prospective entries) to see all the important info in a place where players around the world are accustomed to looking for it, on chess-results.

In November I will be running the 2022 New York Fall Invitationals. To find out about it, one just needs to go to chess-results.com, click on “USA” under “Federation selection,” and then click the name of the event. They will then see this:

chess-results screenshot
Players interested in the 2022 New York Fall Invitationals can find all important info here.

 

I’ll point out some things:

  • The orange banner at the top can be used to display info you want to stand out: here, I want to make clear this is a 10-player norm RR. When the field is complete, I put in the required score for GM/IM norms. Towards the end of the event, I use it to remind players of the early start time on the final day!
  • For some reason, the rounds say “0” until the pairings are made (in round robins, but not Swisses). I don’t know why. Of course, it should be “9.”
  • The list is sorted by rating, and the “No” is the order I entered the players in Swiss-Manager. Only after I tell Swiss-Manager to make pairings does it randomly assign round robin Start Numbers.
  • The five events (GM A, GM B, IM C, IM D, and NM E) are linked. Clicking the one you’re interested in takes you to its page. This is tricky to implement the first couple of times, but not so tough once you get the hang of it. I highly recommend doing this if your event has multiple sections.
  • You can customize the info displayed a great deal, including player flags (as I do), and all the federations participating across events. For standings, I also set it to include rating performance and rating change info.
  • Don’t forget to enter the playing schedule in Swiss-Manager (and upload it to chess-results).

 

Cost

Swiss-Manager is not cheap, at 150 euros. In my view, however, this one-time cost is a worthwhile investment, and you don’t have to pay for any updates/upgrades. Most importantly, the ability to upload info to chess-results.com is included.

Understanding Pawn Endgames

Understanding pawn endgames: a leading ukrainian trainer explains fundamental endgame principles and why players make mistakes

Understanding Pawn Endgames

Author: IM Valentin Bogdanov
159 pages. Gambit Publications, 2022
Get it on Amazon!

Note: I may receive a commission on products purchased through Amazon links on this page. Thanks for your support!

I was sent a copy of this book by Gambit for my honest review.

 

The Hand of an Experienced Trainer

When studying to improve our playing ability in pawn endings, it’s very easy to get lost. I believe this is because many books sacrifice clarity for completeness, as the authors are often very strong players or theoreticians who don’t teach chess to “regular” players.

A good coach wants his or her students to learn and remember the important stuff. Books that bombard readers with endless examples containing lots of tricky analysis and little explanation isn’t very helpful to most players.

The blurb notes that Bogdanov has been coaching pupils in Odesa for 50 years — this book can be considered a series of lessons that will improve your pawn endgame play a lot.

The text is divided into 10 chapters:

    1. Obvious Errors
    2. Breakthrough
    3. Zugzwang
    4. Opposition and Corresponding Squares
    5. Spare Tempi
    6. The Fight to Promote
    7. Changing the Pawn Structure
    8. Calculation
    9. Evaluating the Resulting Queen Endings
    10. Positional Play

This may be the best book on pawn endgames I have yet come across, simply because of how it’s structured: relatively short, self-contained chapters with plenty of examples, a healthy amount of prose, and not too variation-packed. Within chapters, he progresses from easier to more difficult game fragments.

Again, ask yourself: how much study material can you learn, remember, and use?

How many impressive-looking books have helped you improve an area of your chess a great deal? Probably not that many — too much information.

 

Striking Examples

Presenting surprising, memorable examples to students can make a world of difference in getting them to incorporate important ideas into their play. Clear explanations help a great deal, too.

Bogdanov shows many apparently simple positions that teach you what to think about in critical moments. Let’s take a look at Example 125 on page 66, from Chapter 6: The Fight to Promote.

Understanding Pawn Endgames is filled with examples like this one…

 

Who Should Buy It?

First and foremost, chess teachers! You can bet I will incorporate many of these examples, including the Tihonov—Kurnosov game referenced above, into my classes and lessons.

As for tournament players? I think 1400 is a safe minimum. Bogdanov does not start from scratch, but his commentary is so good that ambitious rising players will greatly benefit from it.

I can tell you personally, players rated 2000+ will also benefit from going through this excellent volume. For example, Chapter 4 made me much more confident with a long-standing bugaboo of mine: Corresponding Squares!

 

The Verdict

If you love endgames or, especially, if you hate them…spend some time with Understanding Pawn Endgames. You won’t regret it.

Winning the World Open

Winning the world open: Strategies for success at america’s most prestigious open chess tournament

Winning the World OpenAuthors: GM Joel Benjamin and Harold Scott
343 Pages. New In Chess, 2021
Get it on Amazon!

Note: I may receive a commission on products purchased through Amazon links on this page. Thanks for your support!

 

An Uniquely American Phenomenon

There is no chess event quite like the World Open.

The first thing that stands out is the massive prize fund, and chess hopefuls from around the world show up hoping to win their share. For example, the 50th edition (Summer 2022) will guarantee $225,000! First prize in the Open section is $20,000. First prize in most of the class sections (Under 2000, Under 1800, etc.) is $10,000.

A few other events have popped up over the years offering huge prizes, but none have lasted.

Many players only play this tournament and a few others each year; the World Open has the toughest competition most players will ever face. Many players relish that challenge.

It’s not cheap, either: there are no sponsors, and the prize fund is made possible entirely by the entry fees collected from players. The lowest entry fee for the upcoming edition was $308; if you enter on-site, you’ll pay $350! Factor in travel, hotel, and food as well…

In some ways, I think this boosts the popularity of the event! The 2019 edition (the last before COVID-19) drew 1,348 players.

 

A Fruitful Collaboration

Readers of NYSCA‘s Empire Chess already know that Harold Scott is one of the best chess journalists we have in the United States currently. He is also a chess Expert and an experienced tournament director.

GM Joel Benjamin hardly needs an introduction; the three-time U.S. Champion (1987, 1997, 2000) reached the Top 25 in 1987 and has been writing chess books and magazine columns for decades.

What’s the result? High-quality writing and analysis! You get insightful prose commentary, and not an endless stream of computer lines.

The first World Open was held in New York City in 1973, and the book has a chapter on each decade of the tournament’s existence. It also features one chapter for each of 16 previous winners, including Larry Christiansen, John Fedorowicz, Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Shabalov, Alex Yermolinsky, and co-author Benjamin himself.

The last two chapters of the book contain 30 quiz positions from critical World Open battles, and their solutions.

 

I Almost Forgot…

The World Open is infamous for players attempting to cheat in various ways to win prizes: human and electronic assistance, intentionally mis-marking results and doctoring scoresheets, even hiding or changing their identity…

The book contains an amazing chapter recounting some of the skulduggery attempted over the years. I was present for the 2006 incident but didn’t deal with it directly, as I was chief of the Under 1400 section…though I did get an anonymous phone tip(!) about a player in my section!

Yeah…welcome to the World Open!

 

Winning the World Open is a must-buy for anyone interested in this most unique chess tournament. You get important historical background on Bill Goichberg and the Continental Chess Association; the World Open itself decade-to-decade; fascinating interviews with more than a dozen winners; and a selection of well-annotated games.

Highly recommended.

SwissSys 10: Essential for USCF Tournament Directors

The Mark of a Professional

Swiss-Sys
Thad Suits’s software has been a key TD tool for over 30 years. Image: SwissSys.com

I’ve talked in the past about becoming a USCF Tournament Director. At first you’ll be running small club or classroom tournaments, or assisting more experienced TDs at larger events.

If you decide to get into the TD game long-term, you’ll need the tools of the professional: laptop, laser printer, and SwissSys!

 

What Does SwissSys Do?

SwissSys is tournament management software created by Thad Suits that, as the name suggests, helps tournament directors run Swiss-System events smoothly. Often … very large events with multiple sections and hundreds of players! The computer TDs at the World Open, for example, use SwissSys.

Not only can it make pairings, it prints them neatly for posting as well as other items like standings, wallcharts, and so on.

[A brief rant: Experienced TDs hate the term “pairing software,” as it suggests we are not responsible for the pairings the computer spits out. On the contrary, we are responsible for understanding the pairings, being able to explain them, and overriding them if we think an error has been made.]

SwissSys can also handle round robins, such as quads, and team events.

 

Learning Curve?

Very small. The menus are intuitive and if you tinker with SwissSys for half an hour, you’ll get the hang of it. It’s very user-friendly and non-tech-savvy friendly.

The toughest part? Learning the process for downloading and installing new rating supplements. This is important in order to quickly enter players without having to go to the USCF website to look up every player individually.

It’s also possible to import tournament entries from an excel spreadsheet or other database.

You can use SwissSys for FIDE-rated events, too (remember to turn on FIDE pairings, and you cannot alter pairings once made in norm events!).

 

Don’t Go Without

pairing card
Yep, this used to all be done by hand! Image: Kansas Scholastic Chess Association

In the past, way before I began TDing in 2002, directors paired by hand using pairing cards and needed to handwrite pairings, standings, and so on! I can only imagine how time-consuming this would be.

Merely having a laptop, printer, and SwissSys can earn you directing gigs. Many organizers run small, almost-informal events in schools and just need someone to pair and print the charts. These tournaments aren’t always USCF-rated, either.

If you’re efficient, friendly and, most of all, reliable … you’ll keep getting invited back. Also, a good reputation spreads quickly in the TD World.

 

Cost

A new version of SwissSys 10 is $99.00. Best money you’ll ever spend as a TD … but don’t forget that laser printer! I care for my old HP 1020 like a newborn baby, even though it’s now well into adolescence …

You’re not a professional TD until you have your own software. So what are you waiting for?

Italian Game: Which Defense?

Italian Game
The starting position of the Italian Game.

The Italian Game begins with the sequence 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4, and is extremely popular at all chess levels.

It is named for “Il Calabrese,” Gioachino Greco (c.1600-1634) who analyzed the opening in the early 17th century. I definitely recommend playing through Greco’s many instructive games and analyses.

Now, how should Black meet the Italian Game?

Like a lot of things in life — and chess — that depends on many factors.

 

Three Main Choices

We can meet the Italian Game with 3…Nf6, 3…Bc5, or 3…Be7. In 20 years of coaching, I have recommended all three moves based on the needs of the student I was working with.

Coaching is an individual endeavor. Never forget that. No cookie-cutting!

Now, I’ll give a breakdown of each defense to the Italian from a coaching perspective.

Two Knights Defense: 3…Nf6

After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6

We get the most combative choice against the Italian.

As is often the case, “most combative” also means “most complicated!”

To play the Two Knights, you must be okay with a (possible) early tactical melee and be willing to memorize some lines. Otherwise, stay away!

If my student doesn’t show an appetite for learning how to deal with 4.Ng5, or keeps forgetting one of the key lines, the defense is not for them. And that’s not even getting into the Max Lange Attack (4.d4 exd4 5.0-0 Bc5 6.e5), etc.

GIUOCO PIANO, 3…Bc5

With 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5

We get the big practical advantage of not allowing 4.Ng5. For many beginners, this is reason enough to recommend the move.

I believe most gambits are dubious, but after 3…Bc5 White has one of the very best in chess available to him: the Evans Gambit (4.b4).

In addition to having a plan against the Evans (there are a number of ways to deal with it, but you must study a little!); Black must also be ready to handle stuff like the Canal Variation (and Canal Trap), Møller Attack (4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3), etc.

Have you studied your lines?

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE, 3…Be7

Now we get to my controversial pick: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Be7:

I’m not a crusader for this line, but I think it has its place.

Not every student wants to study openings the way some need to be studied.

3…Be7 cuts out all the tricky lines White has against 3…Nf6 and 3…Bc5. The first player simply doesn’t have anything to aim at.

Higher-rated players understand that the Hungarian is dubious because of the space it cedes, but this isn’t a concern below 1400…and probably higher!

Once a player gains some experience, and confidence, you can consider switching them to other lines.

CONCLUSION

Players should not just choose the Giuoco Piano or Two Knights because “everyone else” does…or at least right away. Do those openings suit your needs?

I have students who do well with these lines; but they either have the temperament required to play them, or are willing to put in the work to get good at them.

Some kids just want to play chess a little, not study too much, and spend time on other activities. Don’t force them to be something they don’t want to be.

I’ve had many students do very well with the “passive” Hungarian Defense. Their opponents couldn’t use the aggressive schemes they were accustomed to against it, and got outplayed.

Know your student, and create an opening repertoire that suits them.

No Playoffs for Round Robins!

Why do we need them?

I’m not necessarily against mathematical tiebreaks for Swiss-System tournaments, especially scholastic events with trophies.

For decades and longer, a high-level round robin would be held over multiple weeks, and at the end one or more players would emerge with the highest score. End of event.

Only when indivisible prizes were at stake — such as qualification to a future event — some kind of classical playoff would be held, either immediately or at some point in the future.

Otherwise, an event could have two, three, or more co-winners. No big deal.

The London 2013 Candidates Tournament would have benefitted from a playoff, but instead “most wins” was used to decide a Challenger for the World Championship! Completely asinine.

 

Endangered Traditions

Of course, I bring all this up in light of the recent controversy surrounding the conclusion of Tata Steel Chess 2021, the 83rd annual Wijk aan Zee tournament.

I won’t wade into the events surrounding Firouzja, Wojtaszek, and the arbiter. But I will say this: the organizers should have reconsidered the importance of having a playoff when they saw the possibility of disturbing a last-round classical game!

When the playoff did happen, between Anish Giri and Jorden van Foreest, it was not decided by brilliant play. To say the least.

An armageddon game decided a prestigious event after 13 rounds of classical chess where the two Dutchmen finished ahead of Carlsen, Caruana, MVL, and other rising stars. Seriously…why??

The few traditional tournaments we have left like Wijk aan Zee should not feel pressured to give into the rapid/blitz chess mob.

I would love to hear the thoughts of others in the chess community on this issue.

Norway Chess 2020

Supertournaments Return Over-the-Board

Altibox Norway Chess
Norway Chess: a supertournament fixture since 2013.

Altibox Norway Chess will be held from October 5-16, 2020; the latest edition of the Norwegian supertournament held in Stavanger since 2013. It will also be the first major over-the-board tournament since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Magnus Carlsen has only won two of the seven editions of his home tournament (2016, 2019), the same amount as Sergey Karjakin (2013, 2014). Many players find it tough to perform their best with the hometown glare squarely on them.

Veselin Topalov (2015), Levon Aronian (2017), and Fabiano Caruana (2018) are the other winners. Carlsen has won the companion blitz event three times, however — Maxime Vachier-Lagrave has two victories, while Karjakin and Wesley So have one each.

Altibox Norway Chess 2020

This year Carlsen (Norway), Aronian (Armenia), and Caruana (USA) are joined by young stars Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland) and Alireza Firouzja (FIDE). Aryan Tari (Norway) completes the six-player double round robin. Firouzja defected from Iran last year and has yet to declare which country he will represent in the future.

In a sign of the times, the official player photos were taken with each man wearing an Altibox Norway Chess mask!

Over-the-board round robins are making a comeback in the latter portion of 2020, including norm tournaments and the National Championships of several countries … not including the USA, unfortunately.

In November, FIDE will restart the Candidates Tournament, another round robin that had to be suspended after the first half in March.

Small Swiss tournaments and round robins will return sooner than many expect. Large tournaments will be a concern for awhile, and I predict it will impact scholastic chess the most.

Thank goodness we have real chess again, and not only a bunch of online events! They’re better than nothing, but far from adequate in my opinion.

Who do you think will win Norway Chess in 2020? Post your predictions below!