FIDE has postponed the resumption of the Candidates Tournament until spring 2021 ©FIDE

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has been forced to postpone the resumption of the Candidates Tournament until the Russian spring of 2021.

The event began on March 15 in Yekaterinburg, but was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FIDE had earmarked November 1 for the resumption of the event, with Yekaterinburg understood to be contracted as the host city.

Georgia’s capital Tbilisi was announced as a reserve venue last month.

However, FIDE has announced that the resumption has been postponed, citing concerns over the well-being of players and the fact that two players are yet to receive clearance from their national authorities to participate.

"The main reason for rescheduling the event is, of course, the concern related to the well-being of the players in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic", said a statement.

"FIDE was ready to provide special travel arrangements and hospitality, including dedicated charter flights, and a high-class hotel being converted into an isolated environment.

"We have discussed all the details with each one of the players, and we'd like to thank them for their honest opinions, which helped us to weigh all pros and cons.

"Till now, we have not received clearance for all players to participate in the tournament.

"Two players from one country are awaiting permission from their national authorities.

"While having full respect for the respective national procedures, FIDE will take further decisions about both the location and timing of the event based on our organisation’s internal rules."

The tournament was postponed earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic ©FIDE
The tournament was postponed earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic ©FIDE

Rescheduling the event for the spring of 2021 will significantly increase the possibility of holding it, reducing stress on participants, FIDE believes.

The governing body added that it has a limited margin within which to reschedule, with the World Championship Match scheduled to take place in November and December next year.

The venue and exact dates for the resumption are expected to be approved by FIDE two months before the resumption of the competition.

Protocol for the event will be developed taking into account the practice of other top-level tournaments and the recommendations from local authorities.

"FIDE would like to express its gratitude to the host city of Yekaterinburg, which did a splendid job organising the first leg of this competition under very challenging circumstances," the governing body said.

"Likewise, we are very thankful to the Georgian authorities, who generously stepped in to offer us an alternative in case of need.

"Finally, we would like to thank our sponsors for their patience and commitment."

The event was halted with France's Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi top of the standings on 4.5 points.

The United States' Fabiano Caruana, The Netherlands' Anish Giri, China's Wang Hao and Russia's Alexander Grischuk occupy third place to sixth places, respectively, on 3.5 points.

China's Ding Liren and Russia's Kirill Alekseenko complete the top eight on 2.5 points.

The tournament will decide who faces Norway's Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship Match.