Carlsen heads impressive lineup at Aimchess US Rapid

by ChessBase
8/28/2021 – The last ‘regular’ tournament of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, the Aimchess US Rapid, begins on Saturday. This is the final qualifying tournament to the grand finale, which is scheduled to start on September 25. The 16-player lineup is topped by Magnus Carlsen, with the likes of Wesley So, Levon Aronian and Wesley So also in the mix.

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The last event before the finals

Press release by the Play Magnus Group

The field for the Aimchess US Rapid is topped by world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, who skipped a tour event for the first time on his way to third place in the FIDE World Cup. He’s joined by half the Top 10; the likes of Alireza Firouzja and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave from outside the Top 10; and World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda

There are tour debuts for top streamers Daniel Naroditsky (USA) and Eric Hansen (Canada), while 18-year-old US prodigy Awonder Liang gets a chance as the runner-up in the recent Kramnik Challenge, since Vincent Keymer is playing the European Championship instead. Vincent will get a chance next season.

Aimchess US Rapid 2021

The action kicks off at 11:00 ET (17:00 CEST, 20:30 IST) on Saturday, August 28, and runs non-stop until September 5.

The games will once again all be played online on the chess24 Playzone with the same 16-player prelims followed by 8-player knockout format of the previous events on the tour.

Aimchess US Rapid 2021

As well as the $100,000 prize fund, this is the last regular tour event before the Finals, that are slated to take place from September 25 to October 4.

Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov and Anish Giri qualified immediately for the Finals when they won Tour Majors. Two spots in the 10-player Finals will be given to wildcards, while five more players qualify by points scored. Wesley So, Levon Aronian and Ian Nepomniachtchi are also in as they can no longer be caught.

Aimchess US Rapid

That’s where it gets interesting, however, with the remaining two points-based spots still up for grabs. Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are currently in those spots, and while it might seem that Hikaru is safe, that’s not quite the case. If Artemiev wins the event and MVL finishes runner-up (and at least 7th in the prelims) Nakamura would be out. Here are the points on offer.

Aimchess US Rapid 2021

Of course MVL’s situation is much more perilous, as if he doesn’t qualify for the knockout, he can be caught by Artemiev, Liem Quang Le, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and even Alireza Firouzja, who is currently 15th with 15 tour points, but could climb to 65 with a perfect result in the Aimchess US Rapid.

Of course, the presence of Magnus Carlsen is one factor that’s going to make anyone else scoring a perfect 50 points tricky, while there’s also intrigue at the very top.

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Scarcely any world champion has managed to captivate chess lovers to the extent Carlsen has. The enormously talented Norwegian hasn't been systematically trained within the structures of a major chess-playing nation such as Russia, the Ukraine or China.


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