Chennai, March 26 (IANS) Global chess body FIDE on Thursday stopped the ongoing Candidates Tournament at Russia's Yekaterinburg owing to the country's decision to interrupt air traffic with other countries over the Coronavirus spread.
In a statement, FIDE President Arkady Dvorovich said: "Today, the government of the Russian Federation announced that starting March 27, 2020, Russia interrupts air traffic with other countries without indicating any time frames."
He said FIDE cannot continue the tournament without guarantees for the players' and officials' safe and timely return home.
"In this situation and on the basis of clause 1.5. Rules of Candidates Tournament, the FIDE President decided to stop the tournament. It will be continued later, with the exact dates to be announced as soon, as the global situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic will allow," Dvorkovich said.
According to him, the results of the seven rounds played remain valid, and the tournament will be resumed in the same composition starting with the games of the eighth round.
The winner of the tournament would challenge World Champion Grand Master Magus Carlsen for the World Title.
Two days back, on the concerns of COVID-19 spread, FIDE announced its decision to postpone the 44th Chess Olympiad (including the competition for players with disabilities) and the FIDE Congress.
These events, to be held in Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk during the summer of 2020, are rescheduled to the summer of 2021 at the same locations. FIDE will continue to work hard in order to support various chess activities, at the same time caring first and foremost about the health and well-being of the entire chess community, FIDE said.