Aimchess Rapid: Carlsen’s marathon

by André Schulz
7/11/2023 – Professionals today have tight schedules. There are many more tournaments in the world, with the extra addition of online events. After Norway Chess, the Global Chess League in Dubai and the Grand Chess Tour event in Zagreb, Magnus Carlsen is now playing in the Aimchess Rapid — with no signs of fatigue. Carlsen beat Jorden van Foreest, and will face Fabiano Caruana next. | Photos: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour

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A tight schedule

Magnus CarlsenMagnus Carlsen, freed from the burden of defending the title of (classical) world champion, is currently going through a chess marathon. He is playing his fourth tournament in a row, without much of a break in between.

In June, he competed in his home tournament, Norway Chess, in Stavanger, but only ended up in the middle of the field. Then the Norwegian travelled to Dubai and played in the inaugural edition of the Global Chess League. On the first board of the Alpine Warriors, he and his team were well in the running for a place in the play-off final, but then failed to make it. From Dubai he made his way to Zagreb for the Grand Chess Tour Rapid & Blitz, where he impressed in the blitz section of the event. On Monday, the marathon continued with the Aimchess Rapid.

The format of these online tournaments was devised by the Play Magnus Group at the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine. After the sale of the company to, the format lives on, in a slightly different form. has expanded the tournament field with qualifying tournaments and several divisions, but also made it more confusing.

It has also introduced a double knockout system for the matches. Players who lose their match are not eliminated, but are allowed to compete again in a losers’ bracket. Thus, the tournament does not end with the final, but only with the grand final, in which the winner of the losers’ group competes against the winner of the winners’ group.

The participants play 4-game matches. If the final score is 2-2, a bidding Armageddon follows. The two players indicate the amount of time they want to play with. The player who has stated less thinking time may choose the colour and then receives the thinking time he has stated, which includes an increment. The other player gets a fixed 15 minutes, without increment.

Carlsen and Caruana to face off

Division I of the Aimchess Rapid features eight top grandmasters. Carlsen faced Jorden van Foreest, who had played the final of the Dutch Championship on Sunday and lost to Anish Giri in a play-off. The contest clearly favoured the 16th World Champion, who scored two wins and a draw. Carlsen opened the first game with 1...a6 against Van Foreest’s 1.e4.

Fabiano Caruana, also in constant activity, won just as smoothly against Eduardo Iturrizaga, also by a 2½-½ score.

Levon Aronian had a little more trouble against Vladimir Fedoseev, as he defeated the Russian by 2½-1½. One win and three draws were enough for the Armenian grandmaster now playing under the US flag.

The fourth match was decided in Armageddon and won by Nodirbek Abdusattorv against Wesley So.

Division I - Games and brackets

Division II - Games and brackets

Division III: Games at | Brackets at


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.