How do players qualify?
All nine qualifying tournaments are done and dusted. Now the top eight in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour go through to battle it out in the end-of-season Finals event. Here’s how the eight left standing got there:
The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour finals are the pinnacle of online chess. This round robin event will determine the world’s strongest online chess player starting on September 25.
Put simply, there are three routes to the finals available to players during the season.
Who will make it through?
Route 1 Winning a Tour “Major”
Winning a Tour Major is the only way to guarantee a golden ticket to the Finals. There are three Majors during the nine-event season before the Finals, so three opportunities.
This season, 2020-2021, Teimour Radjabov won the first Major (the Airthings Masters); Anish Giri won the second (the Magnus Carlsen Invitational), and Magnus Carlsen won the third (the FTX Crypto Cup). All three go straight to the Finals.
Route 2 Qualifying with Tour points
Five spots are available to the players with the most points at the end of the season. All those already qualified via Route 1 are set aside, then the top five go through.
Players pick up points for their placings in all tournaments throughout the season, both Majors and Regulars, which are reflected on the Tour leaderboard.
For example, during a Regular event there are up to 10 points available in the prelim stage with a sliding scale down to 1 point for the player who finishes eighth on the leaderboard.
Then when it gets to the knockout stage, there is another sliding scale of additional points which reaches 40 for the winner.
Therefore, the maximum number of points available in a Regular is 50. So far, only Magnus Carlsen (New In Chess Classic), Levon Aronian (Goldmoney Asian Rapid) and Wesley So (Chessable Masters) have managed to take maximum points.
The numbers are doubled for a Major, so the maximum number of points available to one player is 100 – and no-one has managed that yet.
In the event of a tie between players after the last Regular of the season, qualification for the Finals will be decided by a play-off between the tied players.
Route 3 Being awarded a “Wild Card”
When all is said and done, there is still a chance for two players to make it through: two spots go to those given Wild Cards. We’ll decide how they are awarded, and we take various factors into account. We may put it to a vote, or it could be a play-off, you’ll just have to wait and see!