Levon Aronian lived dangerously as he beat Liem Quang Le, Eric Hansen and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to take the sole lead with 4/5 after Day 1 of the Aimchess US Rapid, the penultimate event on the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. Magnus Carlsen got off to a dream start by beating Wesley So, but ended half a point behind Levon after getting mated by Alireza Firouzja. MVL has work to do to qualify, as does World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who lost his first two games and remains winless at the bottom of the table.

There are still two days and ten rounds to go before the eight qualifiers for the knockout are determined, so everything remains up for grabs. Follow all the action here on chess24 each day from 11:00 ET/17:00 CEST/20:30 IST.

See also:

  • Champions Chess Tour website
  • All the Aimchess US Rapid action with computer analysis and live commentary: Prelims, Knockout
  • Wesley So triumphs in the Chessable Masters
Oct 10, 2016

3rd edition of Millionaire Chess starts

The concept of the Millionaire Chess festival has been as unique as it has been inspiring. Although there are unquestionably opens with even stronger lineups at the top, such as the Isle of Man running concurrently off the British Isles, this was never what really made it so special. Of course, it is thrilling to see a player such as Kramnik, Caruana, or Nakamura in a tournament you are playing in, but when it comes down to it, unless you are one of these elite players, you know who will be fighting for the top prizes, and that unless you get paired with them in the first or second rounds, you won’t be seeing them across the board from you.

This is where Millionaire Chess comes in. It still won’t promise you a one-on-one against these top players, but even the lowliest Under-1200 player could finish with a prize that exceeds theirs. This is no idle boast either. Sure, the first prize of the Open Section will win a cool $30 thousand, which no other player will beat, but even the first prize of the Under-1600 section will win over $10 thousand, which is higher than the 3rd prize in the Open Section. So yes, while the entry fee for all may be a hefty $549 (if registered by August), the payoff for all players promises to be proportionally attractive.

All players have been invited to have a ‘Red Carpet’ photo taken, much like the prize ceremonies we see on TV
The opportunity was taken up by many, who got a chance to have a top-notch portrait taken

As many opens in the United States, the schedule is both intense, and somewhat confusing compared to more common organizations in Europe and elsewhere. This does not mean it is disorganized, just that there are myriad options not usually seen. The basic five-day schedule is a fairly normal two rounds per day at 120 minutes for 40 moves plus a 30-minute sudden death. However, for players with less time, or wishing to save money on one day of hotel rates, there is also the four-day schedule. For these players, the first four rounds are packed into a single day playing four consecutive games of 45 minutes for each side. After that, they join the rest for the final rounds, all played at 40 moves in two hours as above, competing for the same prizes.

Chess Tournament website

source chess base

Jan 30, 2017

Carlsen plays Karjakin in the final round of the 2017 Tata Steel Masters

Magnus Carlsen plays Sergey Karjakin in the final round of the 2017 Tata Steel Masters knowing a win will likely mean a title playoff against Wesley So. In the penultimate round Magnus beat Pavel Eljanov from a position he was struggling merely to hold, while Levon Aronian inflicted a 7th loss of the tournament on Loek van Wely to move into a tie with Wei Yi and Carlsen for 2nd place. In the Challengers Jeffery Xiong’s hopes lie in tatters after he lost to Aryan Tari while Markus Ragger and Gawain Jones both won to overtake him.

Magnus Carlsen has now won all five classical games he’s played against Pavel Eljanov, with the World Champion admitting “maybe it was in the back of his head”. Carlsen played the Stonewall Dutch and soon ended up in what looked to be close to a strategically lost position.
Then the old, familiar Magnus took over, arguably playing his best chess of the event so far. Lawrence Trent takes us through the game:

Before the round the key showdown was Wesley So’s game against Wei Yi, with the young Chinese player theoretically in with a chance of overtaking the long-term leader. Karjakin-Nepomniachtchi, with both Russian players already out of the race for first place, was drawn in a blink-and-you-missed-it 21 moves, while Wojtaszek-Andreikin was a complicated 51-move draw in which the balance was never seriously upset.

Going into the final round of the Challengers Jones and Ragger lead on 8.5/12, but have the black pieces. Xiong is joined half a point behind by Ilia Smirin, who also has Black. Xiong is the only contender with the white pieces, which is not to be dismissed given he’s won all his games with White so far in Wijk aan Zee! He faces Benjamin Bok, who has stabilised with five draws in a row after a bad start.


Nov 14, 2020

FIDE Grand Swiss returns in 2021

The World Chess Federation has accepted a bid by the Isle of Man to host the 114-player FIDE Grand Swiss on the Isle of Man from October 25 to November 8, 2021. The event will now select two Candidates, one more than in 2019, though if it goes ahead as scheduled it’s likely to finish before the previous cycle is complete, with Magnus Carlsen’s next World Championship match also pencilled in for late 2021. The Grand Swiss will now be joined by an inaugural 50-player FIDE Women’s Grand Swiss, with a combined prize fund of $550,000.

When the bidding procedure for the FIDE Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss events was announced on October 22nd, eyebrows were raised that only two weeks were being given to submit bids for such expensive events. From today’s FIDE announcement it’s unclear if anyone else bid, but the Grand Swiss is returning to the Isle of Man, where it was held in 2019. Back then it was a 154-player open tournament that selected a single player for the 2020 Candidates Tournament.

As you can see, Wang Hao was the surprise winner, while in fact Kirill Alekseenko also made it to the Candidates since his result on the Isle of Man made it possible for the Russian Chess Federation to select him as a wild card.

In 2021 the 11-round open will be limited to 114 participants, with the world’s Top 100 invited by rating, followed by 9 FIDE nominees and 5 organiser wildcards. It’s not confirmed in the FIDE press release whether the organisers will again be Chess.com and the Scheinberg family, as in 2019, though billionaire Poker Stars founder Isai Scheinberg is a free man again after being given only a token $30k fine and “time served” (house arrest after surrendering to US authorities in January) when the Black Friday case dating from 2011 finally ended in September.

See also: