Russian Minister of Sport Oleg Matytsin, tennis star Anastasia Myskina and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich at the draw ©FIDE

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) have announced the pairings for the upcoming Candidates Tournament after the draw was held at the Ministry of Sport in Russia.

Newly appointed Russian Minister of Sport, Oleg Matytsin was present for the draw alongside the FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich, 2004 French Open tennis champion Anastasia Myskina and legendary chess coach, Anatoly Bykhovsky.

The winner of the tournament in Yekaterinburg in Russia will face current world champion and FIDE world number one, Norway's Magnus Carlsen.

"We’re glad that Russia, the long-time partner of FIDE, is hosting the Candidates event, the key leg of the World Championship cycle," said Dvorkovich.

"There will be players from China, Azerbaijan, The Netherlands, United States, and Russia. 

"We welcome all chess lovers to visit Yekaterinburg or to follow this amazing event online."

Highest seed in the competition, the U.S.' Fabiano Caruana faces Chess World Cup 2019 winner, Azerbaijan's Teimour Radjabov in the opening round while Chinese pair Ding Liren and Wang Hao will play each other too. 

Anastasia Myskina draws the number five, belonging to wildcard Kirill Alekseenko ©FIDE
Anastasia Myskina draws the number five, belonging to wildcard Kirill Alekseenko ©FIDE

World number four and FIDE Grand Prix winner Alexander Grischuk faces fellow Russian, wildcard Kirill Alekseenko with Dutch player Anish Giri facing the other Russian in the tournament, Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Alekseenko was controversially awarded a place in the tournament under the wildcard rule which saw Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave miss out, leading to both players denouncing the rule. 

Other notable match-ups include Ding versus Caruana in round three with world number three playing number two, as well as top Russian players Nepomniachtchi and Grischuk in round two.

In the double round-robin competition, Caruana will play Grischuk in the final match on April 3 with the other notable match being Ding against Nepomniachtchi.

Matytsin said, "Before we started this ceremony we discussed with Anastasia Myskina that a lot of great sports are called 'chess in motion'.

"Football is 'chess in motion', tennis also, but the great mystery of chess is always there as the game itself and the best chess players are admired all over the world. 

"Russia is known for its chess traditions and we are happy to host such a great tournament, we can guarantee that the organisational level will be top-notch as always for the events hosted by Russia.”