Coronavirus: FIDE stops Candidates tournament after Russia bans flights

The Candidates Chess tournament was stopped after seven rounds after host Russia banned flights into and out of the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.

FIDE said the Candidates chess tournament would be continued later, in the same composition starting with the games of the eighth round (Representative Image).   -  Getty Images

The world chess governing body (FIDE), on Thursday, stopped the Candidates tournament, after the Russian government decided to ground international flights. It additionally announced that the remaining seven rounds will be played later.

The tournament, whose winner will qualify to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the next World championship, had been the only high-profile sporting event going on despite the coronavirus pandemic.

READ | Candidates chess: Vachier-Lagrave catches up with Nepomniachtchi

The players have agreed to carry forward the present standings, which will see France's Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi at the pole position when the event resumes.

Vachier-Lagrave caught up with Nepomniachtchi after beating him in the seventh round, winning in 42 moves.

The results (seventh round): Fabiano Caruana (US) 3.5 drew with Wang Hao (Chn) 3.5; Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 4.5 bt Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) 3.5; Ding Liren (Chn) 2.5 drew with Kirill Alekseenko (Rus) 2.5; Anish Giri (Ned) 3.5 drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 3.5.

The standings: 1-2. Nepomniachtchi & Vachier-Lagrave 4.5; 3-6. Caruana, Giri Hao & Grischuk 3.5; 7-8. Liren & Alekseenko 2.5.

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