International Chess Federation (FIDE) President Arkady Dvorkovich has suspended the 2020 Candidates Tournament in Ekaterinburg amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has put a halt to all major sporting events around the globe.
The decision to stop the tournament was made after the Russian government’s announcement to interrupt air traffic with other countries from March 27 in a bid to stop the spread of the dangerous infection.
“FIDE can not continue the tournament without guarantees for the players’ and officials’ safe and timely return home. In this situation and on the basis of clause 1.5. Rules of Candidates Tournament, the FIDE President decided to stop the tournament.
It will be continued later, with the exact dates to be announced as soon, as the global situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic will allow,” Dvorkovich said in a statement.
The results of the seven rounds that have already been played will remain valid, with the competition resuming at round eight.
The Candidates Tournament (which decides who will challenge the world champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway) was played in Russia despite the ruling of the Sports Ministry to cancel all international competitions in the country.
The organizers said they had taken all necessary precautions, including disinfection to ensure a safe competition in Ekaterinburg.
After seven rounds, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ian Nepomniachtchi share the lead with 4.5 points.
All participants are so far healthy and will leave the city on Thursday.