The International Chess Federation and Chess.com announced in April that Six teams are due to take part in the Online Nations Cup competition which starts on May 5th, 2020. Here are all 36 participants.
The Chinese team, winner of a historic double gold in the last Chess Olympiad, will be the top-seed at the FIDE Chess.com Online Nations Cup, which will take place May 5-10.
The field for the event includes six players who have held the title of World Chess Champion, plus twelve others who have been Candidates to the throne at some point.
China, with an average rating of 2717, is followed in the initial ranking by Europe (2687), Russia (2662), USA (2641), India (2605), and the “Rest of the World” team (2597).
The Chinese team is headed by Ding Liren and Wang Hao, the world’s numbers three and twelve respectively. They are two of the eight players who are currently a part of the Candidates tournament – the final stage which decides who will be the finalist in the World Championship Match. But the main news is the return of Hou Yifan to the Chinese national team. The four-time World Champion is a former prodigy and the youngest female player ever to achieve the Grandmaster title. Two years ago Hou won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University and put her career on hold, but she is still the highest-ranked female player in ranking. Hou Yifan’s temporary return to the board might imply that the reigning Women’s World Champion, Ju Wenjun, is sent to the bench.
|Captain: Ye Jiangchuan||Std.||Rpd.|
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, from France, will be leading a super-strong European team that also includes Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, and Anna Muzychuk, with Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Nana Dzagnidze as reserve players. But even the best players of the moment are slightly overshadowed when the team captain is a living legend like Garry Kasparov. The multiple-time world champion, who ruled the world of chess for two decades, put an end to his career in 2005 and has barely taken part in any competitive chess activity ever since. His presence in this event, even if only as a team captain, has been a pleasant surprise to chess fans all over the world.
|Captain: Garry Kasparov||Std.||Rpd.|
Russia no longer dominates the chess world as it once did, but even with the absence of some important players – like Alexander Grischuk and Kateryna Largo – the Russian team cannot be ruled out as a possible winner. Ian Nepomniachtchi has proven to be in great shape recently, and he will be defending the first board, along with Vladislav Artemiev, Sergey Karjakin, and Aleksandra Goryachkina. With Dmitry Andreikin and Olga Girya as reserve players, Russian is still a formidable rival, with great team spirit.
|Captain: Alexander Motylev||Std.||Rpd.|
The USA, winners of the 2016 Olympiad, brings to the competition all their top guns, starting with the world’s number two Fabiano Caruana. With him, Hikaru Nakamura, who is considered one of the biggest specialists in fast time controls, and the Fischer Random World Champion Wesley So. The team is completed by two experienced female players – Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih, plus the Cuban-born Leinier Dominguez, who has represented the US Chess Federation since 2018.
|Captain: John Donaldson||Std.||Rpd.|
|Leinier Dominguez Perez||2758||2786|
India will be led one more time by the legendary Viswanathan Anand who, despite having reached the age of 50 in November, is still one among the top 15 players in the world – and remains as dangerous as ever when it comes to rapid play. It is a bit paradoxical that the average age of this team is the highest in the event when India is producing more young chess prodigies than any other country in the world. But the young Indian cubs are not ready yet to make it into the national team: the generational changeover will have to wait a bit more.
|Adviser to the team:|
The “Rest of the World Team” is, as it would be expected, the most colorful one, including players from Azerbaijan, Iran, Egypt, Peru, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. On top of the list, the winner of the 2019 FIDE World Cup, Teimour Radjabov. With him, one of the main attractions of the event, the 16-year-old prodigy from Iran, Alireza Firouzja. The teenager is developing a rivalry with the World Champion Magnus Carlsen that is becoming more and more serious by the day, and probably all eyes will be on him, as he will be taking on some of the very top players in the world during this event. The team also features the best African player of all times, Bassem Amin, one of the biggest talents from South America, Jorge Cori, a former Women’s World Champion, Mariya Muzychuk, and the Kazakhstani star Dinara Saduakassova. The FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich, will be acting as a captain for this team.
|REST OF THE WORLD|
|Captain: Arkady Dvorkovich||Std.||Rpd.|
The tournament will be broadcast live across multiple outlets including FIDE’s and Chess.com’s own channels across Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, Twitter, and other international streaming platforms. With an estimated audience of several million worldwide, commentary by chess experts will be conducted in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Turkish, and Polish.