Opera Euro Rapid starts with a showstopper: Carlsen vs Wesley So

Magnus Carlsen's pairings for Day 1 of the Opera Euro Rapid

The curtain goes up on the Opera Euro Rapid online chess event on Saturday with World Champion Magnus Carlsen facing US star Wesley So in the first round.

The tournament, part of the $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, kicks off with 16 elite Grandmasters all in action from 17:00 CET.

Carlsen tops the bill and is gunning for his first Tour win of the season after a disappointing run since he turned 30.

The Norwegian faces stiff competition from Azerbaijani maestro Teimour Radjabov, who leads the standings overall after an emotional victory in last month’s Airthings Masters final.

Pairings for Round 1 of the Opera Euro Rapid

The American Wesley So is second having beaten Carlsen in the Skilling Open final and is also a big threat along with Twitch sensation Hikaru Nakamura, the world’s number 1-rated blitz player.

There are three new names on the Tour appearing in the Opera Euro Rapid: US stars Sam Shankland and Leinier Dominguez and German number 1 Matthias Bluebaum.

Six entries were given wildcards and two were voted in by chess24.com Premium members.

Opera is the official browser of the Tour and title partner of the event which carries a $100,000 prize pot.

The Opera Euro rapid schedule

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, organised by the Play Magnus Group, is the first full season of top-level online chess events.

It comprises nine Regular and Major tournaments culminating in a $300,000 Final which starts in September.

Euro Opera Rapid prize fund

All matches are played in a rapid chess format with blitz and “armageddon” tie-breaks if needed.

Every move will be streamed live around the world on Twitch and YouTube with coverage from the tour’s broadcast studio in Oslo and in 62 countries on the Eurosport TV network from the knockout stage.

The logo chosen for the event represents Daniil Dubov’s sensational win over World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the last Tour event, the Airthings Masters.

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