MOSCOW, September 8. /TASS/. The 2020 Chess Candidates Tournament, which was disrupted earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume in Russia’s Yekaterinburg on November 1, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) said in a statement obtained by TASS on Tuesday.
The statement also said that the Georgian capital of Tbilisi was selected as a backup venue for the organization of the postponed international chess tournament.
"According to the contract Yekaterinburg, the city that organized the first round of the Candidates Tournament at the highest level in March 2020, is still considered as the hosting city," the statement reads.
"However, considering the epidemiological situation, FIDE has designated a reserve venue: the city of Tbilisi, in Georgia, has been officially approved as an alternative, and it is ready to host the tournament in the same time frame," according to the statement from FIDE. "We are also in touch with other potential host cities from several countries where the event could be moved to, in case additional restrictions reappear in Russia and Georgia."
Georgia is currently 148th among other countries in terms of confirmed novel coronavirus cases, which exceed the figure of 1,720. The COVID-19 death toll in the country stands at 19. More than 1,320 patients have been reported to recover from the virus.
"FIDE considers the resumption of the World Championship cycle as one of the main tasks. As one of the oldest sports traditions in the world, it is our duty to protect it and ensure its continuity," the statement runs.
The 2020 Candidates Tournament is to decide who of the world’s top eight grandmasters will win the right to face reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway. The tournament kicked off in the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg on March 15 and was scheduled to end on April 5, 2020. It was suspended shortly after the start as Russia was set to close all international flights on March 27 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After all matches of Round 1 of the 2020 Candidates Tournament have been played the leading position is shared by grandmasters Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France (4.5 points each). They are followed by Alexander Grischuk of Russia, Dutch player Anish Giri, Fabiano Caruana of the United States and China’s Wang Hao (each with 3.5 points) and Kirill Alekseenko of Russia and Ding Liren of China (2.5 points each).
In late December 2019, Chinese officials informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 27,500,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 896,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 19,594,700 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, 1,035,789 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 850,049 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 17,993 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.