The Candidates Tournament will once again be the most important tournament of the year, with eight top grandmasters fighting for a spot in the next title match. The previous Candidates tournament, which was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia partly in 2020 and partly in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was one of the best-viewed tournaments in chess history.
The players taking part in the 2022 edition are Jan-Krzysztof Duda (World Cup winner), Alireza Firouzja (Grand Swiss winner), Fabiano Caruana (Grand Swiss runner-up), Ian Nepomniachtchi (World Championship Match runner-up), Hikaru Nakamura (Grand Prix winner), Richard Rapport (Grand Prix runner-up), Teimour Radjabov (wildcard), and Ding Liren, who replaced Sergey Karjakin.
Following the agreement among FIDE, the Scheinberg family, and Chess.com, the dates and host city for the next Candidates Tournament have been set. The tournament is due to take place June 16 - July 7, 2022, in Madrid.
"The Candidates tournament is one of the most exciting events in the chess calendar, and as such, it has massive followership. Its popularity has grown to the point that it is comparable to that of the World Championship Match. For FIDE, it is a great satisfaction to hold this important tournament in Spain, a country that loves chess,” said the FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich. “The partnership with Chess.com will also allow us to organise this event at the highest level, as was the case recently at the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss in Riga. Last but surely not least I'd like to thank the Scheinberg family, whose constant contribution to chess deserves real appreciation."
"For the Spanish Chess Federation, it will be a great honour to cooperate with FIDE and Chess.com in making this event happen. Chess has always been very popular in our country, and well respected as an educational tool, with hundreds of thousands of children engaged in chess activities in schools. Hosting a top sporting event like the Candidates brings media attention, and gives all these kids something to look up to," said Javier Ochoa, President of the Spanish Chess Federation.
"I am very excited to be working with FIDE and the Scheinberg family on this event. As a fan, I'm already looking forward to following this incredible tournament and can’t wait for the outcome," said Erik Allebest, CEO of Chess.com. "I am also happy for these amazing players to have the opportunity to play in such a wonderful city and what will surely be a great venue."
The tournament is made possible by the generous patronage of the Scheinberg family, who stated to be honoured to once again contribute to a major chess event that is part of the world championship cycle. Chess.com will provide further support as a co-organizer and official broadcast partner, once again having exclusive footage from the playing hall on Twitch.
Spain's chess tradition is centuries old. The rules of chess as we know it today were established in Spain in the late 15th century, around the time when the Catholic priest Ruy Lopez de Segura (c. 1530 – c. 1580) was considered to be the strongest player in the world. All major chess events have taken place in Spain at least once, including among others the 1987 Kasparov-Karpov World Championship in Seville, the Susan Polgar- Xie Jun Women's World Championship match in Jaen in 1996, and the Chess Olympiad in Calvia in 2004.
Spain has also hosted the Candidates final twice before. In 1987 Anatoly Karpov qualified for his Sevilla match by defeating Andrei Sokolov in Linares, and the1993 FIDE Candidates final between GM Nigel Short and GM Jan Timman was held in El Escorial, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) northwest of Madrid. The 1998 Magistral Comunidad de Madrid, won by GM Viswanathan Anand, was the last major chess tournament in the Spanish capital.
The Candidates Tournament itself has a long tradition as well. It was first held in 1950 in Budapest and the second edition, the 1953 Candidates Tournament in Zurich, belongs among the most famous tournaments in chess history. In modern times, the 2013 Candidates Tournament in London was particularly dramatic and historic, when the current world champion GM Magnus Carlsen managed to qualify for his first world championship. He went on to beat Anand later that year, and successfully defended his title in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2021.