Your chance to qualify to the Kazakhstan Cup, costs covered – with a $50,000 prize fund!


A $2,000 prize fund event - with the winner qualifying to Pavlodar Open

Starting 22 October, Pavlodar in northeastern Kazakhstan will host a nine-round classical open tournament with a whopping $50,000 prize fund up for grabs.

Three lucky players can qualify through a series of tournaments held only on Lichess. They will have their flights, full board, and accommodation in Pavlodar covered for them by the Kazakhstan Chess Federation – as well as a share of a $2,000 prize fund for the online qualifier.

The Lichess qualifier will have three stages. The first will comprise nine open-entry arena tournaments, aimed especially towards the timezones of North and South America, Europe, and Central Asia / India.  

The top 20 players from each arena will then play a single 11-round Swiss tournament, where they may be joined by up to ten wildcard players.

Finally, the top seven finishers from the Swiss tournament will be joined by a wildcard player, and the qualifiers will be determined by single-encounter Round Robin Tournament. 

Everyone who makes it to the knockout stage will receive a share of a $2,000 prize fund. 

Prize fund

The Kazakhstan Chess Federation has contributed $2,000 towards the online prize fund, a share of which will be awarded to everyone who qualifies to the Round Robin stage of the qualifier, broken down as follows:

  • 1st – $400 and flights, full board and accommodation to the Pavlodar Open, with a ~$50,000 total prize fund on offer (around $10,000 to first place).
  • 2nd – $350 and flights, full board and accommodation to the Pavlodar Open
  • 3rd – $300 and flights, full board and accommodation to the Pavlodar Open
  • 4th – $250
  • 5th to 8th – $175 each

Schedule and regulations

Nine first-stage arenas will be held online. Each arena will be two hours long, with a time control of 3+0. Berserk will be allowed. The top 20 players from each arena will qualify to the second stage. Players may enter multiple arenas as long as they have not already qualified.

In the second stage, a single Swiss tournament will be held for at least 180 players. This will be an 11-round tournament with a time control of 5+2. The top seven players from the tournament will qualify for the third stage.

A single encounter Round Robin tournament for the top seven players from the Swiss tournament, plus a Lichess wildcard. The time control will be 10+2

All players in the knockout stage will be required to join an online call with FIDE-licensed arbiters. Lichess also reserves the right to ask for this at earlier stages.
Interested players should read the full regulations carefully. All qualifier participants will be assumed to have consented to the regulations, which can be found here. 

Wildcards will be decided based on a combination of factors, including age, rating, and current playing opportunities. All wildcard decisions are final and made solely at the discretion of Lichess.

About the Kazakhstan Cup

The Kazakhstan Cup is a series of tournaments held in Kazakhstan and organised by the Kazakhstan Chess Federation. These qualifier events are possible thanks to the generosity of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation.

The tournament held in Pavlodar will be a nine-round event with a time control of 90+30.

Cover photo: Zac Allan