General Apr 2, 2020 | 11:00 AMby chess24 staff

Magnus Carlsen launches online chess super-tournament

The Magnus Carlsen Invitational sees the World Chess Champion challenge seven of his biggest rivals to a 2-week, $250,000 battle. The 8-player online event starting April 18th will fill the current void in top-level chess, and indeed sport in general, allowing chess fans to get back to watching the best players each day. Every move will be streamed live on chess24, complete with commentary in 9 languages.

UPDATE: The full line-up has now been revealed ---> HERE

The end of the Candidates Tournament signaled the end of traditional over-the-board chess for what may be many months to come, but we’re fortunate that chess is an activity perfectly suited to online play. Magnus commented:

Chess is unique in the sports world as the moves are the same whether played on a wooden board or a computer screen.

Events like the Banter Blitz Cup have gone from strength to strength, but Magnus thinks now is the time to try something altogether more ambitious!

This is a historic moment for chess, and given that it’s possible to continue top professional play in an online environment, we have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to players and fans around the world who need a distraction when no other live, competitive sport is being played. 

The Magnus Carlsen Invitational

The $250,000 event starts on April 18th and ends on May 3rd, with the following format:

  • 8 players first compete in a single round-robin over 7 rounds
  • Each match features four 15+10 rapid games, where the winner gets 3 match points & the loser 0
  • If the match ends 2:2 an Armageddon game (5 vs. 4 minutes) is played, with the winner getting 2 points and the loser 1
  • The top four players after Round 7 enter the Final Four knockout - if match points are equal, game points are the first tiebreaker
  • The semi-finals, and final use a similar 4-game match system, except a 2:2 draw will be followed by two 5+3 blitz games, and if still drawn another two 5+3 games, and only then Armageddon

Every move will be broadcast live on chess24 with computer analysis and commentary in 9 languages. For Rounds 1-6 two matches will be played simultaneously, with each round played over two days, while for Round 7 all four matches will take place together. Players not involved on a particular day will at times join the commentary or play Banter Blitz against chess24 users, while we’ll also have player interviews after each day’s action.

The tournament will be a great chance for new fans to get interested in chess, and to make their chess journey much easier the full premium version of the Magnus Trainer app (Android, iOS) will be available for free from now and during the tournament. Enter the "school licence" INVITATION for the perfect stay-at-home activity! Full details on how to enter the code here.     

The format with four rapid games in a day isn’t accidental, since Magnus is on record as wanting it to be used for the classical World Championship itself. He explained in an interview after his victory over Fabiano Caruana in 2018

If you want to see who the best player is, make them play as many games as possible, and if you keep the rapid format then there’s still room for opening ideas, preparation and everything, but the time allowed to conceal your weaknesses and everything is not there. You just up the stakes, you increase the chances for errors and I think it makes it more exciting and it gives a more real picture of the best players.

Some very big names have already confirmed their participation, and we’ll keep you up-to-date as the line-up is finalized. Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen is in action in the Banter Blitz Cup. Today he takes on Swedish no. 1 Nils Grandelius in the quarterfinals at 19:00 CEST.     

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