Coronavirus poses a growing threat to major sporting events headed by the Olympic Games and Euro 2020, so it is not surprising that global chess is also starting to feel the effects.

Moscow is due to host the biennial 185-nation team Olympiad starting August 5 , an event in which China and the United States, both currently affected by the virus, were gold and silver medallists two years ago.

In 1939 the Olympiad managed to reach its designated end, even though the second world war broke out in the middle of it. But with a pandemic seemingly on the way, the 2020 Olympiad must be in doubt.

The most important chess event of all in 2020 will be Magnus Carlsen’s 14-game world championship match against the candidates winner. This is scheduled as part of Expo 2020 Dubai, with a starting date of December 20.

With only two competitors plus officials, aides, and coaches, the prognosis at present is that the championship match should happen. If it does, it will be a mainstream news event due to Carlsen’s high public profile.

However, a report today that the Dubai Open, scheduled to start on March 29, has been cancelled, is an obvious concern.


Nigel Short v David Murray, Bunratty 2020. Short, who challenged for Garry Kasparov’s world crown, was in fine form in Ireland’s weekender, where he checkmated his first three opponents. This is the first of them. Can you find White’s next move, which can lead to mate and gives a winning advantage in all lines?

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