Carlsen, So & Nakamura back for Airthings Masters

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen will be out for revenge
against Champions Chess Tour leader Wesley So when the first Major of the tour
kicks off on December 26th. The 12-player tournament runs until January 3rd and
has a $200,000 prize fund, with the winner picking up $60,000 and a guaranteed
place in the grand final next September. Airthings, who produce world-leading
radon and indoor air quality monitors, is partnering with the Tour and will
measure the air quality in the players’ homes as they play.

All-star lineup for the Airthings Masters

We’re thrilled to announce the field for the second event on
the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour, the Airthings Masters, which features 8 of the world’s
top 11 players according to the classical rating list. The average rating is 2761 and the
average age 30.6.

The lineup includes the eight players who qualified as the top 8 on the Champions Chess Tour after the first event, the Skilling Open, which was won
by Wesley So after a thrilling final victory over Magnus Carlsen

Those players are joined by Spanish Champion David Anton,
who was voted back into the Airthings Masters despite finishing outside the
qualifying places, and Russian 3-time World Blitz Champion Alexander Grischuk,
who won the second public vote among chess24 premium members.

They’re also joined by two wild cards, Russia’s Daniil Dubov, who
was the only player other than Magnus to win an event on the Magnus Carlsen
Chess Tour, and India’s Pentala Harikrishna, who has been ranked as high as
world no. 10.

Double the prize fund

The prize fund for the first Major on the Champions Chess
Tour is $200,000, double that for Regular events like the Skilling Open, with the top
prize rising to $60,000. One difference this time is that there will also be a
match for 3rd place, to run in parallel with the final.

The winner is guaranteed a place in the Champions Chess Tour
Finals next September, while the top 8 players in the overall tour standings after
the Airthings Masters will automatically be invited back to the next
16-player Regular event on the tour in February 2021.

Bridging Christmas and the New Year

The Airthings Masters will be a Christmas and New Year treat
for chess fans as it runs without a rest day from Boxing Day, December 26th to
January 3rd. Once again there’s a 3-day preliminary stage where the players
play each other once, before the top 8 players go forward to the knockout.

The chess should be over by midnight on New Year’s Eve
wherever the players are based since the starting time for this event will be
15:00 CET (09:00 ET), three hours earlier than for the Skilling Open.

Breathe better, play better?

Airthings will be the title partner of the Airthings Masters
and the Official Air Quality Partner for the full first season of the Tour. Airthings
will monitor and stream the air quality levels in the players’ homes to raise
awareness about the importance of good indoor air and how it impacts our
cognitive abilities, decision making, and health.  

World Chess Champions Magnus Carlsen commented:

Chess players expect perfect conditions during tournaments. Normally, the air quality is taken care of by those who organise the tournaments, and the conditions are the same for everyone. But, since we play separately, we have to take responsibility for this ourselves.

By monitoring the air quality in the room, we can ensure that the air we breathe is good. I think it will be important to maintain a high level throughout the tournament.

Andreas Thome, CEO of the Play Magnus Group, said:

For players, the Champions Chess Tour demands high-stakes
decision-making, often under time pressure. It is going to be fascinating to see how the world’s best perform
in the Airthings Masters while at the same time being able to see in real-time
how the conditions are different in each of their homes using Airthings’

Oyvind Birkenes, CEO of Airthings, highlighted the
importance of air quality:

For chess, esports, and gamers, concentration is key, and
with players sitting for hours in a room, the air they breathe plays a key role
in how well they perform, make decisions, and reason. By monitoring the air
quality in the room, chess players can make sure the air they breathe is as
healthy as can be and that they stay on top of their game throughout a

The Airthings Masters logo

All the logos for the Champions Chess Tour are graphical
representations of particular chess games. The Skilling Open logo was produced
by 13-year-old Bobby Fischer’s Game of the Century, while the Airthings Masters
logo was chosen by a vote.

The winner was the brilliant
attacking game
that gave Wesley So victory over Hikaru Nakamura in the semi-finals of the Skilling Open.

The best live chess coverage around

The Airthings Masters will be broadcast live in languages that include English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Turkish, Italian and Portuguese, with TV channel NRK showing the action in Norway while Eurosport streams live in over 60 markets around the world. Here on chess24 we’ll again have multiple streams
in English, catering for everyone from beginners to seasoned chess fans. You don’t want to miss it!

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