General Apr 16, 2021 | 9:00 AMby Colin McGourty

Carlsen & co. return for the New in Chess Classic

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen will exchange commentating on the Candidates Tournament for playing as he returns to action in the New in Chess Classic, the 5th event on the $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. He’ll be joined on Saturday April 24th by 15 players who include tour leader Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, Alireza Firouzja and 15-year-old Polgar Challenge winner Praggnanandhaa. The tour days will kick off at 19:00 CEST, when the action in Yekaterinburg should be winding down.

The chess world’s leading print magazine New in Chess is the name sponsor of the $100,000 5th event on the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. The New in Chess Classic will be focussing on “great moments in chess history”, and the stellar line-up gives us every chance of getting some new moments that will live long in the memory. 

#New in Chess Classic PlayerFEDAgeRatingRankRapid RatingRankQualified by
1Magnus Carlsen302847128811Tour standings (2nd)
2Levon Aronian382781527788Tour standings (6th)
3Shakhriyar Mamedyarov3627708276113Wildcard
4Wesley So2727709274121Tour standings (1st)
5Teimour Radjabov34276510275814Tour standings (3rd)
6Alireza Firouzja17275913270334Premium vote
7Leinier Dominguez3727581427866Wildcard
8Sergey Karjakin31275716270932Wildcard
9Hikaru Nakamura3327361828294Tour standings (8th)
10Jan-Krzysztof Duda22272922277410Wildcard
11Vidit Gujrathi262726232636111Wildcard
12Liem Quang Le30270931274419Wildcard
13Gawain Jones332670672615153Wildcard
14Aryan Tari2126391202531350Wildcard
15Johan-Sebastian Christiansen2226181752521389Wildcard
16Praggnanandhaa1526082071781Polgar Challenge winner

Anish Giri, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are playing in the Candidates Tournament and therefore couldn’t accept their automatic qualifying spots for those in the top 8 of the tour standings, but Wesley So, Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura all play.

17-year-old superstar Alireza Firouzja was voted back in by chess24 premium members, who also voted for Daniil Dubov, but the Russian was unable to play as he’s commentating on the Candidates from Yekaterinburg.

15-year-old Praggnanandhaa now has the chance to face off against the very best in the world after dominating the first event on the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour. He’s going to have some help preparing from the very best.

This time there were as many as nine wildcards, with returning stars Mamedyarov, Dominguez, Karjakin, Duda, Vidit and Liem Quang Le, while there are tour debuts for England’s Gawain Jones and Norway’s young talents Aryan Tari and Johan-Sebastian Christiansen. Aryan narrowly missed out in the qualifier for the Magnus Carlsen Invitational, while Johan-Sebastian had to pull out at the last moment after being forced to go to hospital.

The New in Chess Classic runs non-stop for 9 days from April 24 to May 2 and retains the same cut-throat formula of a 3-day round-robin after which the field will be reduced to 8 players before the knockout begins. Days 1, 2 and 4 will overlap with Rounds 12, 13 and 14 of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg, but while games start at 13:00 CEST there, the Tour events will start at 19:00 CEST.

The players will once again be playing rapid chess in the chess24 Playzone, with 15 minutes per game and a 10-second increment per move. The knockout stages will feature two days of 4-game rapid matches, and if the match score is 1:1 after the second match they’ll play two 5+3 blitz games followed, if needed, by an Armageddon game, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4 but a draw counts as a win for Black. 

As this is a Regular tournament the prize fund is $100,000, with $30,000 for 1st place.

This is the 5th event on the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, with the players competing for points to qualify for the 8-player finals that it’s hoped will be held in San Francisco this September. 

We’ll once again have live commentary on all the action here on chess24, while before the New in Chess Classic begins we’ve got the hugely anticipated second half of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg. Magnus Carlsen will be commentating on the first three rounds alongside Tania Sachdev and David Howell. Don’t miss that from 13:00 CEST on Monday April 19th!  

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