FIDE world chess championship to be held at Dubai Expo 2020 - MENA startups, innovation, and tech news


FIDE world chess championship to be held at Dubai Expo 2020
Expo 2020 Dubai

FIDE world chess championship to be held at Dubai Expo 2020

The upcoming FIDE World Chess Championship, which is the highlight of the world chess calendar, is all set to take place at the state-of-the-art Dubai Exhibition Centre, co-located at Expo 2020, from November 24 to December 16.


The world governing body of chess, the International Chess Federation (FIDE), had previously postponed the 2020 championship, which was scheduled to start from December 20, 2020, in the light of the pandemic. With the announcement of the new timeline, delighted chess fans and the wider public have their eyes set on the ruling world champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who has to defend his title against Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi, winner of the delayed Candidates Tournament. The year 2020 experienced a massive surge in the popularity of chess, owing to global lockdowns and the worldwide success of the Netflix show, ‘The Queen’s Gambit’.


Magnus Carlsen is a four-time world champion, having first won the title in 2013, usurping the Indian star Viswanathan Anand. The 30-year old Grandmaster has been ruling the world list since the age of 19 and owns the record for the longest undefeated run in classical chess. He is also the current world champion in the ‘Rapid’ and ‘Blitz’ styles of chess. He has often been compared to world champions Bobby FischerAnatoly KarpovJosé Raúl Capablanca, and VasilySmyslov, for His positional mastery and endgame expertise. Known for his attacking style, Carlsen’s favorite part of the game is the middlegame as it “comes down to pure chess”. He adds another feather to his cap on winning the FTX Crypto Cup on June 1, making him the first bitcoin chess champion and getting him a place in the meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals in San Francisco. He took home the prize money of $60,000, along with a 0.6 bitcoin which was offered to him as a bonus by the tournament sponsor, FTX.

Ian Nepomniachtchi is a Russian super grandmaster, winning the 2020/21 Candidates tournament in Ekaterinburg, Russia. He has a brilliant record against world champions. He has positive scores against Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, and even Carlsen. He won the World Junior Championship under 12, in 2002. After Sergey Karjakin, he would become the second player to win both the World Junior Championship and the World Championship Candidates tournaments, in 2021. He is a strong player in ‘Rapid’ and ‘Blitz’ styles.

Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi will be meeting in the 9th edition of Norway Chess, just two months prior to their World Championship match in Dubai.


Ian will not be playing under the Russian flag in the World Championship in Dubai as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has imposed a four-year ban on Russia. This came after officials in a Moscow anti-doping laboratory had meddled with data. The ban was a unanimous decision of the board, however, clean Russian athletes are allowed to take part in major international sporting events without their flag or anthem. Thus, Nepomniachtchi will face Carlsen as a neutral player under the guidance of the FIDE flag, as had happened during the 2018 winter Olympics in  Pyeongchang.


As per a tradition that dates back almost five centuries, the title of the best chess player to walk the planet will be decided in a face-off between two finalists who will play to the best of 14 games. The winner will walk away with prize money of EUR 2 million (AED 9 million).


A World Expo is a large international platform that showcases the technological, innovative, and architectural winnings of different nations. Millions of countries gather to share ideas, present their creations, support collaboration, and human resourcefulness. The first Expo was hosted at Crystal Palace, Hyde Park in London with the title, ‘Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations. It was a symposium of approximately 10,000 innovations from the Industrial Revolution. About 6 million people were present.

EXPO 2020

This year, Dubai will be hosting the grandest Expo to date, which will run for six months, from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. It is the first World Expo to take place in the MEASA region- Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.The event is likely to attract significant foreign funding into the UAE and will build upon Dubai’s key economic sectors- financial services, tourism and hospitality, and construction.  Hundreds of countries and companies will be visiting to explore possibilities in the fields of  Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. Opening with the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, the Expo 2020 will celebrate the very best of humankind. The World Chess Championship is sure to be an enthralling contest. The official coverage of the Expo will be broadcasted across several platforms in the world’s most popular languages by Commentary from some of the popular names in the chess and entertainment world will be featured.


The Expo 2020 location is near the Al Makatoum Airport and is in between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. At the center of the location lies the Al Wasi Plaza, well connected to all the three districts that are based on the sub-themes of the Expo 2020- Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.

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