It’s Carlsen-Duda, So-Mamedyarov, Aronian-MVL, Radjabov-Artemiev and Giri-Nakamura today as the $300,000 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals begin. The event is being played online on the chess24 Playzone, but there’s a hybrid element, since Magnus Carlsen, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Anish Giri are all in one venue in Oslo. Peter Leko returns to commentate, and will be joined by Lawrence Trent, with Danny King and Simon Williams to follow for later rounds. Don’t miss all the action here on chess24 from 11:00 ET/17:00 CEST/20:30 IST!
After 9 events over the space of 11 months the $1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is about to reach its conclusion, with 10 players battling it out for the overall title. You can check out all the pairings below.
It’s a round-robin, so the 10 players face each of their rivals once over the course of 9 rounds, with each match starting with 4 rapid games where the players have 15 minutes for all their moves plus a 10-second increment from move 1. If the match ends in rapid chess the winner gets 3 points and the losing player 0.
Only if the match is tied 2:2 do we get a blitz playoff, with two 5+3 games. If still tied there’s a single Armageddon game, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4, but a draw counts as a win for Black. There are 2 points for the winner of a playoff and 1 for the losing player.
The action is online, but with three players, Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri and Jan-Krzysztof Duda competing from Oslo. Two of them meet in Round 1 as it’s Carlsen-Duda.
As you can see, the World Champion has a healthy head-to-head lead over the Polish no. 1 in the rapid games they’ve played on the Tour so far, but Jan-Krzysztof scored the huge coup of beating Magnus in the FIDE World Cup semi-finals. “I don’t get revenge by beating people once!” said Magnus after defeating his rival in three games on Day 1 of their Aimchess US Rapid quarterfinal. He promptly did exactly the same on Day 2, but when will the revenge end?
Jan-Krzysztof starts the match with a huge 16.5 point gulf between himself and Magnus, since the Tour points scored over the course of the season were converted into bonus points to start the Final. He’s still up for the challenge!
Magnus starts with a 4-point lead at the top over his closest rival Wesley So, as he goes into what is almost certainly his final event before the World Championship match.
Anish Giri, who trails Magnus by 11 points, is also in Oslo for the event, and starts his campaign against Hikaru Nakamura.
Wesley So, who faces Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 1, is by far the best placed player to push Magnus for the $100,000 top prize, but Levon Aronian, who starts against his good friend and rival MVL, could quickly get into contention if the top two stumble.
It’s also not just first place that matters!
The revelation of the latter stages of the tour, 23-year-old Russian Vladislav Artemiev, will be playing 2019 World Cup winner Teimour Radjabov in their first encounter on this year’s tour.
The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is going from strength after Mastercard was announced as an official partner of the Tour, with Magnus Carlsen joining the likes of Lionel Messi and Naomi Osaka as a Mastercard Global Brand Ambassador.
There’s a twist for the Tour Finals, with the chance to collect some of the best moments of the Tour and even digitally own the only copy of the trophy other than the one given to the winner.
What’s on offer will become clear when the collections start to become available!
Where can I watch?
Once again you can watch all the action — from 11:00 ET/17:00 CEST/20:30 IST on Saturday 25 September — right here on chess24, using the flags below the video to switch between streams in different languages.
There are again two main chess24 English broadcasts. David Howell will be back with Jovanka Houska and Kaja Snare for the beginner-friendly broadcast from Oslo, where they’re also joined by a Danish legend of outlandish chess commentary (check out e.g. Kramnik-Fressinet), Rune Friborg.
Then we’re thrilled to announce that Peter Leko is back! For Round 1 he’ll be joined by Lawrence Trent, with Danny King and Simon Williams joining him for future rounds — Tania Sachdev is playing for India in the Women’s World Team Championship.