Aronian won the Stavanger-hosted Norway Chess tournament in June 2017, the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament two months later, and snatched the World Chess Cup victory in Georgia in late September. Also, the Armenian grandmaster won the fourth leg of the FIDE World Cup in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Other notable entries include reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, world no.3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, former World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India and a record-breaking level of grandmasters from over 40 countries, FIDE reveals.
The incumbent World Rapid and Blitz Champions - Sergey Karjakin (Russia) and Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), along with over 180 top grandmasters have also confirmed their participation, making the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships the strongest open events of the year.
The dress code of the event will be dark blue or black formal suits, with white shirts, either open necked or with a tie, for men and dark blue or black formal trouser suits, with high necked white blouses for women. There will be no need to wear a hijab or abaya during the games, this will be a first for any sporting event in Saudi Arabia.