The world’s top online chess event, the $1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, returns for a new season on February 19 with a revamped format designed to raise the stakes higher than ever before.
Norway’s five-time World Champion Magnus Carlsen will be back to defend his coveted Tour title and is set to face the strongest challengers the chess world has to offer.
If that’s not enough, the Tour will feature a diverse line-up of debut stars that will include the brightest up-and-coming talent.
New for 2022, a series of changes have also been made to the rulebook devised by the event organisers Play Magnus Group to ensure every game in every event is critical.
They include cash bonuses for every rapid game played and a football-style 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw, scoring-system at the round-robin stages.
Two-day knockout rounds have also been slimmed down to a winner-takes-all single match to up the excitement factor.
In another significant change, hybrid chess – where players compete online from the same location – will be rolled out in more tournaments under supervision of arbiters.
The tournament structure has also been tweaked with nine events, each with separate prize pots, now comprising the Tour. Three of the events will be considered “Majors” and carry greater prestige and have more money at stake.
The overall Tour winner will be the player who amasses the largest prize on the leaderboard at the end of the ninth event in November.
Players now have every incentive to battle hard and win every game – because every game matters.
Tour Director Arne Horvei said: “The Tour goes from strength-to-strength and we are expecting another titanic battle to decide the champion in 2022.
“We know the players are excited about the changes we have made. The new season will see new rules, new faces and also a new look for the Tour – so look out for that.”
The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour launched in 2020 as an innovative new chess circuit organised by Play Magnus Group now entering into its second full season.
The record-breaking event offers the richest prize pot in online chess history. During its last season, the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour amassed more than 115 million live broadcast views and nearly 30 million hours watched.
Partners supporting the Tour include Meltwater, Mastercard, FTX, Julius Baer, Aker BioMarine, Airthings, Concordium and more.
Zubair Timol, Vice President EMEA Meltwater, said: “We are very excited to be partnering with the Play Magnus Group for the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. The previous season was a tremendous success, as chess continues to grow as a sport, with increased online viewership, enriched by social conversations across multiple platforms.
“Looking ahead, Meltwater is delighted to contribute to the sport and look forward to the ongoing collaboration with PMG.”
Full and free commentary of every tournament in several languages is available on chess24.com.
Fans can enjoy coverage on official Tour streams provided by chess24 in several languages. The broadcast in English from the Play Magnus Group’s Oslo studio will return, featuring the familiar team of Kaja Snare, David Howell and Jovanka Houska plus new addition Simon Williams.
Or they can follow a separate stream in English provided by chess24’s commentary team.
Details of the first tournament, including its name and player line-up, will be revealed soon.