Freestyle Super Tournament in Germany - Seven top players challenge Magnus Carlsen

by ChessBase
12/1/2023 – From 9 to 16 February 2024, the Weissenhaus Private Nature Luxury Resort on the Baltic Sea in Germany will be the venue for a super tournament in "Freestyle Chess", also known as Chess960. Seven world-class players, including world champion Ding Liren and Vincent Keymer, will challenge the G.O.A.T (Greatest of all Times), Magnus Carlsen, in a Chess960 tournament with classical time control.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Press Release

Magnus Carlsen vs. Ding Liren at WEISSENHAUS on the Baltic Sea:

World’s Best vs. World Champion - Chess Summit in Germany

Hamburg, December 1, 2023. G.O.A.T., Greatest of All Time: Magnus Carlsen is considered the best chess player there ever was and probably ever will be. From February 9 to 16, 2024, Carlsen will face seven challengers of absolute world-class caliber in WEISSENHAUS on the Baltic Sea, as they aim to challenge his status at the FREESTYLE CHESS G.O.A.T. CHALLENGE. The Norwegian, who voluntarily relinquished his world champion title in 2023 after ten years, will compete against the new and current world champion, Ding Liren, marking the first Norwegian-Chinese summit at the board since the change of title.

Together with investor and entrepreneur Jan Henric Buettner, creator and financier of WEISSENHAUS Private Nature Luxury Resort and the event's host, Magnus Carlsen has conceived a tournament format designed to test his unwavering sporting ambition: the FREESTYLE CHESS G.O.A.T. CHALLENGE. "But it's not about me," says Carlsen. "I see another challenge here: advancing the sport of chess.”

The event takes place at WEISSENHAUS, owned by Jan Henric Buettner, who provides a five-star environment for the super grandmasters in the seclusion of Northern Germany. Buettner says, "I am very excited to present the FREESTYLE CHESS G.O.A.T. CHALLENGE together with Magnus Carlsen as a highly innovative format with a particularly exciting mode for new target groups. This makes chess very attractive to an even broader audience. WEISSENHAUS as a stage will provide the perfect setting to showcase eight of the world's absolute best chess players in February 2024."

In addition to Magnus Carlsen (33) and Ding Liren (31), the following six players will compete: Fabiano Caruana (31, USA/Italy, #2 in the world), Levon Aronian (41, USA/Armenia, #4 of all times), Alireza Firouzja (20, France/Iran, #5 in the world), Dommaraju Gukesh (17, India, top world rank #9), Nodirbek Abdusattorov (19, Uzbekistan, world rank #25), and Germany's number one, Vincent Keymer (19, top world rank #18).

"Chess960" will be played (also known as Fischer Random), hereby redefined as FREESTYLE CHESS. On the first two days, participants will play a rapid chess preliminary round, determining the starting numbers for the knockout phase. From the third day onwards, they will play quarterfinals to the final in a knockout system, with two-game matches with classical time controls. If a match is tied 1:1 after two games, an evening rapid tiebreaker will decide the winner. The total prize money is 200,000 dollars, with 60,000 dollars going to the winner.

"With this format, a dream comes true for me," says Magnus Carlsen. "I have long wished for a competition where Chess960 is played at the highest level with classical time control in a tournament."

The "Big Barn Studios" located at WEISSENHAUS Private Nature Luxury Resort, one of the most beautiful and modern recording studios in Europe, will host the arena for the competitions. Tournament director Sebastian Siebrecht explains, "An ideal place to showcase the players in a novel format for worldwide broadcasting." The field of participants is composed excitingly. "The four dominant superstars of the past decades, including the world number one Magnus Carlsen, are facing off against four young rising stars from the global top 20, including the German Vincent Keymer."

Each FREESTYLE CHESS game day will begin with the live-streamed ceremonial drawing of the starting positions. The global chess community can thus debate and analyze the best opening moves before the games start. Then, the players must demonstrate their strategies on the board. The FREESTYLE CHESS team will provide media coverage and analysis of all game days, from the drawing of the initial positions to the live broadcast of the games and subsequent interviews. For those who miss anything, summaries will keep them informed.

In short, WEISSENHAUS ( is pushing the boundaries of chess by bringing together the greatest players of all time to compete in an exciting new format called FREESTYLE CHESS. This event is poised to become one of the most significant chess tournaments in history, not only for chess enthusiasts but with the goal of reshaping how people worldwide view chess as a spectator sport.


Now Redefined as FREESTYLE CHESS, Chess960 (also known as Fischer Random Chess) is a variant of chess invented by former world champion Bobby Fischer. The main difference is the starting position of the pieces on the back rank. In FREESTYLE CHESS, the pieces are placed randomly on the back rank. The pawns are placed on the second row as usual. 960 starting positions are possible.

Whether Chess960 or Chess, the same guidelines apply on the board. The pieces must be developed, the king must find safety, both sides want to dominate the center of the board. The idea of FREESTYLE CHESS is to emphasize creativity and talent, as the random starting positions eliminate the memorization of opening theory prevalent in traditional chess. Every game of FREESTYLE CHESS is a fresh challenge from the opening.

“I have been waiting for a tournament like the FREESTYLE CHESS G.O.A.T. CHALLENGE my whole career,” says grandmaster Levon Aronian. The multiple World Championship candidate hopes that FREESTYLE CHESS or Chess960 will be played at most elite tournaments in the near future. 

The WEISSENHAUS Private Nature Luxury Resort

The Weissenhaus Resort has a rich history that dates back to the 16th century. It was originally founded in 1607 by the noble family Pogwisch. It is is now a luxury resort located on a 75-hectare property. In 2005, Jan Henric Buettner bought the estate, including the associated village of Weissenhaus. From then on, he began a fundamental restoration of all buildings, which was completed in 2014.

The resort consists of several historic buildings located in a 400-year-old park. It is about an hour’s drive from Hamburg. The spacious rooms and suites at Weissenhaus are modernly furnished and offer luxurious welcome packages. The resort is known for its stunning architecture and its idyllic location by the sea. It is a perfect venue for a chess tournament as it provides a quiet and inspiring environment.

Today, the Weissenhaus Resort is one of the most exclusive hideaway hotels with a spa in Germany. It offers its guests an impressive natural backdrop in a direct beach location. It is a true retreat for the soul and creates a soothing distance from everyday life.

For more information, please visit

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.