General May 18, 2020 | 11:12 PMby Colin McGourty

Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge starts with a bang

Magnus Carlsen will play all four of his closest rivals on Day 1 of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge. Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian, Ding Liren and Hikaru Nakamura is the murderers’ row ahead for the World Champion in the 2nd event of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour. The tournament starts with a 3-day all-play-all preliminary stage that will eliminate 4 of the 12 players before the knockout stage begins. We’ll have live commentary in 10 languages here on chess24 from 16:00 CEST.

There’s no rest in the frenetic new world of online chess, and the pairings are already out for the preliminary stage of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge:

As you can see, the field is incredibly strong – it features 6 of the Top 10 on the rapid rating list – but it’s also one with a lot of new faces. Only Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzja played in the Magnus Carlsen Invitational, so there are 8 players making their tour debut: Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin, Wesley So, Yu Yangyi, Daniil Dubov, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Wei Yi. That list is in descending order of age, and it’s a curiosity that the oldest player, 37-year-old Aronian, plays the youngest, 16-year-old Firouzja, in Round 1!

We’ll be publishing in-depth profiles of all the players during the tournament, but for now, suffice it to say, they could all challenge for first place if things go their way. Before that, however, they have to survive the first 3 days, when the participants play each other once (4 rounds Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday and 3 on Thursday) and will be striving not just to finish in the Top 8 but to finish as high as possible. The pairings for the quarterfinals are no. 1 vs. no. 8, no. 2 vs. no. 7 and so on, meaning an 8th place finish means a better than average chance of facing the World Champion or some other monster in the quarterfinals!

Any player reaching the semi-final of the Lindores event will be guaranteed a place in the Online Chess Masters, while the winner immediately qualifies for the $300,000 4-player Grand Final

All the games are 15 minute + 10 seconds a move rapid and the 4-game matches we saw in the Magnus Invitational will return for the knockouts, only with a twist! Each knockout clash will feature up to three such mini-matches, with the first player to win two going to the next round. Once again, each mini-match must have a winner, so if it’s 2:2 we get Armageddon.

As well as broadcasting every move live we’ll have live commentary in what, with the addition of Italian, has become 10 languages. In English that means Peter Svidler, fresh from showboating against Magnus in the Steinitz Memorial, will join Jan Gustasfsson and Lawrence Trent, though we can expect Peter Leko and other assorted guests to appear in later shows:

It’s going to be a lot of fun, and if you want to have a little more at stake yourself why not take a shot at our FantasyChess Contest – make sure to fill out your answers before the action begins!

Catch the preshow here on chess24 at 15:00 CEST, before the games begin at 16:00 CEST.

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