Alexander Grischuk is one of three Russians in the field ©Getty Images

The Opening Ceremony for the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Candidates Tournament is set to take place in Yekaterinburg tomorrow despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

A checkpoint with a qualified nurse will be installed to test participants, officials and visitors for COVID-19 symptoms as part of measures implemented by organisers given the climate.

Pre-game handshakes are optional, facemasks and hand sanitizer will be available and spectators will not be able to access the playing area at Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The tournament is to decide who will face Norway's Magnus Carlsen at the World Chess Championship later this year.

It is a double-round-robin tournament featuring eight players, three of whom are Russian.

Two of the Russians - Alexander Grischuk and Ian Nepomniachtchi - qualified through their performance in last year's Grand Prix.

The third, Kirill Alekseenko, was chosen by organisers after being the highest non-qualifier in the 2019 Grand Swiss Tournament.

China's Wang Hao won that event to qualify, while compatriot Ding Liren was the Chess World Cup runner-up.

Fabiano Caruana won the event in 2018  ©Getty Images
Fabiano Caruana won the event in 2018 ©Getty Images

The Netherlands' Anish Giri qualified through his average rating, as did France's Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Vachier-Lagrave replaced Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan, who dropped out.

Fabiano Caruana, who lost to Carlsen in the 2018 World Chess Championship, completes the field.

The American Caruana won the Candidates Tournament in 2018.

Games are due to begin on Tuesday (March 17), starting with Vachier-Lagrave versus Caruana, Ding against Wang, Giri facing Nepomniachtchi and Grischuk playing Alekseenko.

The final round of games is scheduled to conclude the tournament on April 3.

The prize pot for the Candidates Tournament - €500,000 (£453,000/$556,000) - is the largest amount to date.