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General Mar 10, 2021 | 6:33 PMby Colin McGourty

Magnus Carlsen faces Firouzja & Giri on Day 1 of his Invitational

Magnus Carlsen takes on Tata Steel Masters winner Jorden van Foreest, rapid no. 2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja and his arch-rival Anish Giri one after the other as the Magnus Carlsen Invitational starts Saturday at 17:00 CET. The full pairings are now out and include a first round clash between Levon Aronian, not yet officially representing the USA, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who is making his Meltwater Champions Chess Tour debut.

Just 3 days to go!

When you invite the world’s best players to your little tournament you can’t expect an easy ride, and Magnus Carlsen’s first day will be anything but.


His preparation this time has involved a less tropical location than for some of the previous events on the Tour.

Other exciting first round match-ups include So-Nepomniachtchi and MVL-Firouzja, while the qualifiers have a tough start. Alan Pichot takes on 2016 World Championship challenger Sergey Karjakin while Nils Grandelius is Black against the always dangerous Daniil Dubov.

Until late Monday night European time Argentina's Alan Pichot had no idea he had a chance to play in the Tour - now after winning the Qualifier he's facing a daunting first day...

Check out the full pairings for the Preliminaries below – hover over a player’s name to see all his pairings.

There are five rounds of rapid chess a day for the 3-day Preliminary stage, with each player eventually facing all 15 of their rivals. The overriding goal is to finish in the Top 8 and qualify for the quarterfinals, though there are bonuses for finishing even higher – more Tour points, a better seeding in the knockout and the right to choose the colour in any Armageddon games.

The partnership with Breakthrough Initiatives and the Breakthrough Junior Challenge means the tournament is going to have a space theme! 

Don’t miss all the action from 17:00 CET this Saturday, with a wealth of streams in multiple languages right here on chess24

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