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Miles and points have really helped me to be able to travel in ways I would have never thought possible a few years ago. And it’s not just the crazy “luxury” trips like Emirates First Class or a Round the World trip in 2023 – I think one of my favorite parts about miles and points is how they facilitate just “random” trips, like dashing off to Chicago for a day trip to see a play

(SEE ALSO: I can’t believe miles and points let me take this trip)

(SEE ALSO: Last-Minute Trip (thanks to miles and points))

I’ve got my eye on another last-minute potential trip that I wanted to talk about and get some of your ideas on how to best pay for it (with miles and points, of course)

Chess

I have always been a bit of a chess nerd – I remember way back in elementary school when we had indoor recess a group of us would play chess in the library. (True nerds unite!)

In high school, I wanted to join the chess club, but I didn’t want to join by myself. I tried to convince one of my friends (who I knew liked chess) to join with me, but he thought it was too nerdy.

I have played off and on online (mostly at chess.com) – I have around a 1500 ELO for daily (3 day / move) games which is decent but nothing spectacular. I am much worse in faster games and over the board.

I got back into chess during the pandemic (like many people), with the popularity of the Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit and Youtube channels like GothamChess and Hikaru Nakamura

Attending the Chess FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024 As A Fan

So with the recent interest in Chess, I was considering going to the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024, which is being held in Toronto April 3-23, 2024. The FIDE Candidates tournament features 8 men and 8 women. The winner of the Women’s and Open sections will face off against the current world champions (currently Ju Wenjun and Ding Liren) at a later date. Note that Magnus Carlsen, who most people consider the current best chess player in the world right now if not the GOAT, declined to defend his title which is why Ding Liren became world champion in 2023.

The candidates are:

Open section

  • Hikaru Nakamura
  • R Praggnanandhaa
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi
  • Vidit Gujrathi
  • Fabiano Caruana
  • Gukesh D
  • Nijat Abasov
  • Alireza Firouzja

Women’s section

  • Kateryna Lagno
  • Tan Zhongyi
  • Nurgyul Salimova
  • Humpy Koneru
  • Aleksandra Goryachkina
  • Vaishali Rameshbabu
  • Anna Muzychuk
  • Lei Tingjie

There are tickets available for around USD$50 per day, and while I didn’t think I’d want to stay the whole 3 weeks, I thought maybe a day or two might be fun. As I understand it, the tickets give you access to a Fan Zone for the whole day and then timed entry to the actual playing hall. It’s not quite clear to me what it will be like in the playing hall. There have been some recent chess cheating controversies, so I don’t know what kind of access will be allowed there (can you bring phones etc. into the hall as a spectator, etc? I assume that you wouldn’t be able to go actually down where everyone is playing, but I don’t exactly know and haven’t been able to find out details)

Where to stay for the FIDE Chess Candidates Tournament 2024

The 2024 Chess FIDE Candidates Tournament is being held in Toronto at the Great Hall, near downtown Toronto. I looked at the “official venues” for the site and they all were charging like $600 or $700 / night. And while I know that’s $600 or $700 Canadian, it’s still a lot of money :-D. Plus, what do I have all these miles and points for!

I was looking at staying at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. It’s a Category 3 hotel and costs 12,000 points a night compared to a cash cost of near $350. Plus, I have an expiring Category 1-4 certificate that I could use.

Getting To The 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament

Okay – so lodging seems like I should be able to handle it fairly reasonably, but how about getting there.

I will actually be up in Cleveland during part of that time for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse, so I’m already halfway to Toronto! But my options for getting from Cleveland to Toronto around April 9th aren’t great

  • There is a direct CLE-YYZ flight by Air Canada, but United wants $509 for it one way. There is no economy award availability but “business” is 33K miles (one way!)
  • Air Canada wants 47.1K for a one way in economy, but only 28.1K in business !?!?!

a screen shot of a website

  • I looked at a few connecting flights on American or Delta, but nothing amazing jumped out at me
  • I do have a $1000 Air Canada voucher (SEE ALSO: Outrageous Air Canada Broken Seat Compensationbut ideally I would prefer to use that for something a bit better than this
  • I even looked at renting a car and DRIVING there – it’s about $300 for a one-way car rental plus the cost of gas.

At this point I’m not sure what would be best and I’m definitely suffering from some analysis paralysis – anyone have any suggestions?

The Bottom Line

I’m looking at going to the FIDE Chess Candidates Tournament 2024 in Toronto next month, but I haven’t quite figured out a good way to get there to minimize my out-of-pocket expenses. I have a few options, none of them great, and I’d love to hear your opinions

Anyone else going to the 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament? Or have suggestions for me? Leave them in the comments below


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