Checkmate! World Chess Championship comes to Expo 2020 Dubai

DUBAI, 21 November 2021 – There will be plenty of checkmates at Expo 2020 Dubai between 24 November and 16 December, when the World Chess Championship is held at the first World Expo in the Arab world.

Visitors to Expo 2020 will be able to witness a titanic battle of wills as reigning champion Magnus Carlsen and Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi go head to head.

Two-time Russian champion Nepomniachtchi is also 31 years old. He is the winner of the 2020/21 Candidates Tournament and finished second in the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix, which qualified him for the Candidates Tournament.

Nepomniachtchi has successfully challenged Carlsen several times. Both played three times in youth events from 2002-2003, with Nepomniachtchi winning twice. He also defeated Carlsen at the 2011 Tata Steel tournament and the 2017 London Chess Classic.

The World Championship will be played over 14 classical games for a EUR 2 million (USD 2.25 million) prize fund, with 60 per cent going to the winner and 40 per cent to the runner-up. It was originally scheduled to start on 20 December last year, but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.إكسبو 2020 دبي يستقبل بطولة العالم للشطرنج 14 نوفمبر الجاري

The matches will be played at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai, while a series of side events will also be held, including exhibition matches and appearances by former champions and celebrity fans.

In addition, Expo 2020 will host the World School Chess Tournament from 25-29 November, featuring 108 young chess players from 10 contries, grouped in 12 teams. The participants are the finalists of the one-year event, which involved 2,600 contestants from more than 54 countries.

Among the 108 players are two of the world’s most promising chess prodigies: 16-year-old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa and 15-year-old Dommaraju Gukesh, both from India.

Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi will pose with the 108 finalists on 24 November, while the world’s best female chess player in history, Hungary’s Judit Polgar, will launch the event on 25 November. The school tournament matches will be played at the Spain Pavilion.

The pavilion will highlight historical links between the country and Arab culture when it comes to the sport, with Arabic chess arriving in Spain in the eighth century. Visitors to the pavilion will find a giant floorboard and several tables for them to play on, surrounded by a wall narrating the history of the game.