Russia, which seemed to be miraculously almost immune from the global pandemic, has suddenly had to face reality, with people getting the COVID-19 infection and illness at a frightening rate.
Vladimir Putin announced that starting March, 27th, 2020, all the flights to foreign countries will be stopped.
This has left no choice to FIDE, which stopped the tournament to allow people to get back home.
Here is FIDE's announcement:
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.
FIDE can not 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. As it was stipulated by the special rules agreed with the players before the start of the event, the results of the 7 rounds played remain valid, and the tournament will be resumed in the same composition starting with the games of the 8th round. FIDE is grateful to the players, officials, volunteers and the entire team of organizers, including the Chess Federation of Russia and the main partner of the tournament - SIMA-Land.
The socials are flooded with comments, more or less polemic, about what led FIDE to even allow the tournament to begin, when the pandemic was already spreading all over the World, and what they should do with Radjabov, apparently, the only one who was able to see the danger in playing the tournament.
GM Yermolinsky decided to anticipate his LIVE show to today, at 2 PM EDT, to talk about this historic and much-needed decision by the chess governing body, and in general about the immediate future of chess.
Don't miss the LIVE show!
We wish all the players and their staff to get home safely.
Stay safe out there, folks! And play Chess Online!