FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.

Taking place from 9-28 November, the 12-game Match will see current World Chess Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, defend his title against a challenger to be decided at the forthcoming FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament in March.  

The contest consists of 12 games, with every move avidly followed and analyzed by a global audience of hundreds of millions of chess fans.

The last World Championship match, held in New York, in 2016, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.5 billion people.

Chess is enjoying increased popularity around the world and is the only game that is pre-downloaded on nearly every new smartphone. Hundreds of millions of games are played over the internet every week, and more people play chess regularly than golf and tennis combined, according to YouGov.

Chess’s celebrity fans include Jay Z, Jude Law, Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Barack Obama.

At 26, Magnus Carlsen has helped transform the profile of chess globally particularly since his crowning moment in the 2016 World Championship Match in New York. Chess is now the most popular computer game in the world, with a huge online audience in the hundreds of millions, that is growing exponentially. Recent developments with virtual reality have enabled chess to stay ahead of the curve and allow its audience to enjoy a rich experience via pay-per-view platforms, and smartphone apps.

All eyes will be on the enigmatic Carlsen as he defends his title. A chess prodigy of exceptional talent, he became a grandmaster in 2004 at the age of just 13 years and 148 days – making him the third-youngest grandmaster in history. He is the highest-rated player in the world and in the history of chess, with a peak rating of 2881 in 2014, and is the subject of the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary “Magnus”.

Georgios Makropoulos, FIDE Deputy President, says: “FIDE is very pleased to bring the Match to London. We know that this city loves chess, most major newspapers run regular chess columns, and we hope that the fans will love a chance to see the greatest minds in the world fight to the Championship title live.”

Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, the commercial rights holder to the FIDE Chess Championship cycle, says: “Chess is now one of the world’s most popular computer games, but it has long-standing traditions, and we believe that London is the perfect setting for the next Championship Match. We are transforming the sport and making it modern and hip, but mindful of millennia-old traditions – and we hope to conduct this transformation as gracefully, as London does.”

“And, of course, no one is better to make the first move in the Royal Game as the member of the Royal Family (Congratulations, Prince Harry!),” – adds Merenzon.

World Chess also announced today they are incredibly excited to welcome official partner PhosAgro, the leading chemical company, that has signed a long-term contract with World Chess.

Andrey Guryev, CEO of PhosAgro, Russian Chess Federation Board of Trustees Member, said: “Long-term sponsorship of the World Chess championships, which we signed today, is part of PhosAgro’s established corporate responsibility programme, which supports education, science, medicine and sports. We already sponsored the 2014 World Chess Championship match in Sochi and the 2016 World Chess Championship match in New York and are committed to continue. We are delighted with the choice of the city: London is where tradition and modern technology meet, and this is exactly our vision for the future of chess. Can’t wait to the chess fever to commence in London!”

Leading brands continue to support the Championship cycle and will be represented in the Match: Kaspersky Lab as World Chess and FIDE Official Cybersecurity Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; and Isklar as Official Water.

Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said: “It makes me proud that, as a partner of FIDE and World Chess, we can support and promote the genius game of chess. It’s an amazing game, where creative thinking meets deep logic and analytical skill: just like in the world of cybersecurity! And that’s why we enjoy supporting the World Chess Championship, and why we’ll continue protecting FIDE, the players, and tournament’s infrastructure in the future.”

Details of ticket pricing and booking will be made available soon, however chess fans can already book online-tickets and start receiving subscriber-only benefits today at www.london2018.worldchess.com. World Chess will provide a free live broadcast of the moves of the Match exclusively on www.worldchess.com and media partner sites. The premium online broadcast will cost $15 for the Match or $25 for the full year and will include multi-camera video feed, behind-the-scenes access, studio show with expert commentary and special guests, as well as other subscriber-only benefits, such as limited edition merchandise, possibility to ask grandmasters questions during press conferences and more. 10% of all digital tickets will go towards increasing the prize fund for the Match.

The Championship Match will have a prize fund of EUR 1,000,000.

Official hashtag: #LondonPlaysChess.

Photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/10ad47pnfwtlvd2/AABxmuXNQPY67kWinWvZpqBOa?dl=0