The 2020 Chess Calendar was laid to waste by the coronavirus
epidemic, though the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour and other online events rose
from the ashes. 2021 is guaranteed to see the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour
played out in monthly events until the Grand Final in September, but if the
virus permits it’s a year that could also see the Candidates Tournament
completed, a World Championship match, two World Cups, two Grand Swisses, the
Grand Chess Tour and much more.

We’ve tried to gather together all the events that are
currently known about for 2021, though some, such as the FIDE World Cup and the
FIDE Women’s World Cup, to be held simultaneously in Russia, have been
left out until at least rough dates are known. It goes without saying, of course,
that all the over-the-board events are subject to change or cancellation
depending on how the virus situation around the world develops.


Current and upcoming tournaments:

January 2021

December 26 – January 3 | Airthings Masters | chess24

The second event on the Champions Chess Tour is also the first
Major, with a $200,000 prize fund. The winner gets $60,000 and a guaranteed
place in the Grand Final. Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Skilling Open winner
Wesley So are among the 12-player field, which will be reduced to 8 players by
a 3-day preliminary stage. The remaining players will battle it out in a
knockout that takes us into 2021.

Links: Champions
Chess Tour
, Airthings Masters games: Prelims

January 16 – 31 | Tata
Steel Masters
| Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands

This year’s 83rd edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament
has been cut to just the main event due to COVID-19, but if everything
goes as planned that will still mean a 14-player round-robin featuring Magnus
Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave from
the world’s Top 5 and a host of young talents that include 17-year-old Alireza
Firouzja.

Links: official
website
, chess24

January 18 – 29 | FIDE
Women’s Grand Prix
 | Gibraltar

The 4th and final stage of the 2019-2020 FIDE Grand Prix is
taking place in the Caleta Hotel venue that would normally host the Gibraltar
Masters, impossible this year due to travel restrictions. After the 12-player
event ends we’ll know the two players who qualify to the next FIDE Women’s
Candidates Tournament, which is pencilled in for the first quarter of the year.

Links: official website

January 23 – 31 | Moscow
Open
| Moscow, Russia

A big, traditional open with a myriad of separate events.

Links: official
website

February 2021

February 6 – 14 | Champions
Chess Tour Leg 3
| chess24

The 3rd stage of the Champions Chess Tour and the second
Regular event, with 16 players and a $100,000 prize fund.

Links: Champions
Chess Tour

March 2021

March 13 – 21 | Champions
Chess Tour Leg 4
| chess24

The 4th stage of the Champions Chess Tour and the second
Major, with 12 players and a $200,000 prize fund.

Links: Champions
Chess Tour

March 27 – 28 | Chess
Bundesliga Rounds 9-10
| Germany

The 2019/2020 German Chess League was suspended after 8
rounds due to the coronavirus. The provisional plan is to complete the rounds
in 2021 over three weekends.

Links: official
website
, chess24

April 2021

Spring 2021 | Candidates
Tournament Rounds 8-14
| Yekaterinburg, Russia

The Candidates Tournament that will decide Magnus Carlsen’s
next World Championship challenger was started in March 2020 despite a pandemic
beginning to take hold around the world. The worst fears of Teimour Radjabov and
others proved justified when the event had to be stopped halfway, with
Teimour’s late replacement Maxime Vachier-Lagrave joining Ian Nepomniachtchi
in the lead. The saga of trying to resume the event has dragged on ever
since, with the outcome still uncertain.

Links: official
website
, chess24

April 1 – 5 | GRENKE
Chess Open
| Karlsruhe, Germany

The massive GRENKE Chess Open was the kind of event that was
never going to be possible to hold in 2020. The prospects for 2021 are unclear,
but if it is held it’ll again take place over the Easter weekend – Easter Sunday
is April 4th. The hope is to accompany it with the GRENKE Chess Classic
super-tournament, which from 2017-2019 was won by Levon Aronian, Fabiano
Caruana and Magnus Carlsen.

Links: official
website

April 7 – 21 | European
Individual Championship
| Reykjavik, Iceland

The Reykjavik Open had to be cancelled in 2020 while in 2021
the plan is for the main event of the Festival to serve as the European Championship,
potentially boosting the prestige of a tournament that has largely been viewed
as a qualifier for the World Cup.

Links: official
website

April 10 – 18 | 20th
Bangkok Chess Club Open
| Thailand

The Bangkok Chess Club Open was postponed and then cancelled
as global air traffic shut down in 2020. 2-time Champion Jan Gustafsson will be
among those hoping things go better in 2021.

Links: official website

April 24 – May 2 | Champions
Chess Tour Leg 5
| chess24

The 5th stage of the Champions Chess Tour and the 3rd
Regular event, with 16 players and a $100,000 prize fund.

Links: Champions
Chess Tour

April 24 – 25 | Chess
Bundesliga Rounds 11-12
| Germany

The 2nd of three weekends on which the 2019-2020 German
Chess League is planned to be completed, with matches taking places in
different cities around Germany.

Links: official
website

May 2021

May 14 – 16 | Chess
Bundesliga Rounds 13-15
| Berlin, Germany

The planned climax for the 2019-2020 German Chess League
would see all the teams once again converging on Berlin for the three final
rounds.

Links: official
website

May 23 – 31 | Champions
Chess Tour Leg 6
| chess24

The 6th stage of the Champions Chess Tour and the third and final Major, with 12 players and a $200,000 prize fund.

Links: Champions
Chess Tour

May 31 – June 13 | European Women’s Chess Championship | Mamaia, Romania

This 11-round open determines the 2021 European Women’s
Champion and also qualification spots for the Women’s World Cup.

Links: official
website

June 2021

June 4 – 15 | Superbet
Chess Classic
| Bucharest, Romania

The 1st event on the 2021 Grand Chess Tour, which plans to
follow the cancelled plan for 2020 of having five events and no Grand Final.
The tournament in Bucharest is a 12-player classical event featuring all the
main tour players, with a $325,000 prize fund.

Links: Grand Chess
Tour
 

June 17 – 22 | Paris
Rapid & Blitz
| Paris, France

The 2nd leg of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour. The 5-day rapid
and blitz tournament will have a $150,000 prize fund.

Links: Grand Chess
Tour
 

June 17 – 26 | Prague
Chess Festival
| Prague, Czech Republic

The 2nd edition of the Prague Masters, won by Alireza
Firouzja, was the last major chess tournament to be completed in 2020 before
the virus shut down chess life. A 3rd edition, again with a Masters,
Challengers and Open, is planned for 2021, but the dates have been pushed back
to June due to the virus situation.

Links: official
website
  

June 26 – July 4 | Champions
Chess Tour Leg 7
| chess24

The 7th stage of the Champions Chess Tour and the 4th
Regular event, with 16 players and a $100,000 prize fund.

Links: Champions
Chess Tour

July 2021

July 5 – 12 | Croatia
Rapid & Blitz
| Zagreb, Croatia

The 3rd leg of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour. The 5-day rapid
and blitz tournament will have a $150,000 prize fund.

Links: Grand Chess
Tour
 

July 13 – 18 | Sparkassen
Chess Trophy
| Dortmund, Germany

The virus prevented this new look tournament in Dortmund
from taking off in 2020, but it’s back for 2021, with a series of opens with a €50,000
prize fund.

Links: official
website

July 17 – 28 | Biel
Chess Festival
| Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

The Biel Chess Festival was one of the first top level
tournaments to be held successfully after coronavirus restrictions eased in
summer 2020, and it plans to be back for a 54th edition in 2021. In recent
years it’s experimented with combining classical, rapid and blitz chess.

Links: official website

July 31 – August 8 | Champions
Chess Tour Leg 8
| chess24

The 8th stage of the Champions Chess Tour and the 5th
Regular event, with 16 players and a $100,000 prize fund.

Links: Champions
Chess Tour

August 2021

August 10 – 15 | St.
Louis Rapid & Blitz
| Saint Louis, USA

The 4th leg of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour. The 5-day rapid
and blitz tournament will have a $150,000 prize fund.

Links: Grand Chess
Tour
 

August 17 – 27 | Sinquefield
Cup
| Saint Louis, USA

The 8th edition of the Sinquefield Cup is the 5th and final
stage of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour. The 12-player classical event has a
$325,000 prize fund and will also finalise who wins the additional $175,000 in
prize money for the overall tour standings.

Links: Grand Chess
Tour
 

August 28 – September 5 | Champions Chess Tour Leg 9 | chess24

The 9th stage of the Champions Chess Tour and the 6th Regular event, with 16 players and a $100,000 prize fund. This will be the last
chance for players to qualify for the Grand Final.

Links: Champions
Chess Tour

September 2021

September 25 – October 3 | Champions Chess Tour Final | chess24

The Grand Final of the 2021 Champions Chess Tour will be a
$300,000 10-player round-robin featuring the top players on the tour. The
players will be handicapped based on their performance over the year. 

Links: Champions
Chess Tour

October 2021

October 25 – November 8 | FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss | Douglas, Isle of Man

As in 2019 the traditional open tournament on the Isle of
Man will become a FIDE Candidates Tournament qualifier, with the $425,000 main
event now offering two places in the Candidates as well as a $70,000 top prize.
This year it’s accompanied by a $125,000 FIDE chess.com Women’s Grand Swiss,
with 50 players and at least one qualifier to a Women’s Candidates Tournament.   

Links: official
website

November 2021

November 11 – 22 | European
Team Chess Championship
| Terme Olimia, Slovenia

This biennial European event for national chess teams saw
Russia claim double gold when it was last held in Batumi, Georgia in 2019.

Links: official
website

November 27 – December 5 | European Chess Club Cup | Ohrid, North Macedonia

An annual team event for chess clubs based in Europe, though
players can come from around the world.

Links: official
website

November 27 – December 5 | European Women’s Chess Club Cup | Monaco

The women’s event is taking place at the same time as the
open tournament, but at a different venue.

Links: official
website

November-December | World
Chess Championship Match
| Dubai, UAE

If the Candidates Tournament is successfully completed in
the first half of 2021 the plan is to hold the match between the winner and current
World Champion Magnus Carlsen in Dubai as part of Expo 2020, which has now been
rescheduled to begin on October 1, 2021. It’s already been announced that the
match will feature 14 games rather than 12, with a prize fund of at least €2
million.


Please let us know in the comments if there are
any major events announced for 2021 that we’re currently missing. We’ll be
keeping this calendar updated throughout the year – even if the coronavirus
again wreaks havoc with the schedule!


Chess Mentor

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