Sorry for the long silence here: other matters took me away from the blog for a while. But now that I’m back, let’s take a look at one of the more unique, exciting and important events on this year’s chess calendar: the FIDE World Cup! Taking place this year in Tromso, Norway, the 128-player knockout event will qualify two players for next year’s Candidates Tournament, making this a critical event for players who want to take a shot at the biggest title in chess — but may not have the rating qualification to get there based on their overall results. Throughout most of the tournament, players will face off in two-game mini-matches, with tiebreaks of rapid and then blitz games coming if necessary. And they will be necessary often: it’s far from rare for two elite players to draw back-to-back games against each other.

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