By rating
Ding Liren

The strongest Chinese Grandmaster and one of only 14 players to ever pass the 2800 rating mark, Ding Liren joined the Candidates in the nick of time. The highest-rated player to replace Karjakin, he managed to fulfil the condition of playing 30 rated games in the last year just before the May 1 deadline.

2021 Grand Swiss winner
Alireza Firouzja
Iranian-born French prodigy Alireza Firouzja is the brightest star in the constellation of young chess talents. A Grandmaster at 14, the youngest player to cross 2800 and the world’s #2 at 18 – his confident Grand Swiss victory hardly came as a surprise. Carlsen himself hailed him as the next Challenger. Will Firouzja cope with the pressure of expectations?
2021 Grand Swiss runner-up
Fabiano Caruana
The Italian-American Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana is a regular on the top chess circuit and one of the most experienced contenders in Madrid. World’s #2 for the best part of the 2018-2021 period, he has a 2018 Candidates victory and a closely contested World Championship Match under his belt. The title match went down to the wire but Caruana lost the tiebreak.
2022 Grand Prix Series runner-up
Richard Rapport

2022 ripens into a stellar year for Hungary’s youngest-ever Grandmaster (he earned the title at 13). First snatching a third-place finish in Wijk aan Zee, Richard Rapport then reached the semifinals in the first Grand Prix in Berlin and won the second leg in Belgrade to claim overall Series silver, qualifying for the Candidates and arriving at his peak rating.

2021 World Championship runner-up
Ian Nepomniachtchi
The triumphant early winner of the previous Candidates (2020-2021), Ian Nepomniachtchi lost the World Championship Match to Magnus Carlsen 3½-7½ in December 2021. Only Vasily Smyslov managed to win the Candidates Tournament twice in a row. Will ‘Nepo’ succeed in repeating Smyslov’s feat from 1956?
2022 Grand Prix Series winner
Hikaru Nakamura
The world’s most famous chess streamer, known to 1.4 million Twitch followers as ‘GMHikaru’, came back from a 2-year break from classical chess with a blast indisputably winning the 2022 Grand Prix Series. He clinched the first event and reached the final in the third, leaving no doubts that his class of a long-time top-10 player hasn’t gone anywhere.
Teimour Radjabov
2019 World Cup winner Teimour Radjabov pulled out of the 2020 Candidates Tournament amid pandemic worries. The tournament was notably postponed after the first half and resumed only a year later. Soon after it finished, FIDE President’s suggestion to grant Radjabov a 2022 wildcard was supported by FIDE Council members.
2021 World Cup winner
Jan-Krzysztof Duda
Polish prodigy Jan-Krzysztof Duda became a Grandmaster at 15. Now 23 and indisputably his country’s #1, he reinforced his status as one of the leaders of the young generation by winning the 2021 World Cup. He was unbeaten in 18 games against resilient opposition, including Carlsen whom he knocked out in the semis.