Skip to main content

Eight of the world’s strongest chess players will gather in Spain later this month to determine the next challenger for Magnus Carlsen’s world championship title.

The double round-robin event will be played June 17 to July 4 at the Palace of Santona in Madrid, and it features a purse of €500,000. But the biggest prize will be the right to play Carlsen in 2023.

The question many people have, though, is whether Carlsen will defend his title.

“It’s unlikely I will play another match, unless maybe if the next challenger represents the next generation,” Carlsen wrote in a blog post last December.

That was widely interpreted as meaning he would only play Alireza Firouzja, the 18-year-old Iranian-French grandmaster who is the youngest player ever to hit the 2800-rating mark. Carlsen, 32, has been world champion since 2013.

Two of Carlsen’s former challengers, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana, are vying for another shot at the title. Along with Firouzja, they are seen as favourites in the Madrid event.

The only Canadian ever to have qualified for a candidates tournament was Kevin Spraggett of Montreal, who played in the 1985 and 1988-89 tournaments. He made it to the quarter-finals in his second attempt.

Robert Fischer v Samuel Reshevsky, New York, 1958


White, who was once a candidates tournament winner himself, uncorks a winning move. What is it?

10. Bxf7+! if Rxf7 11.Ne6 wins the Black Queen, while Kxf7 11. Ne6 anyway, and if Kxe6 then 12. Qd5+ leads to checkmate.