Legends of Chess with star-studded lineup

by André Schulz
7/21/2020 – The fourth tournament of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour kicks off on July 21. As the name indicates, the “Legends of Chess” online event will include six illustrious players from the previous generation — Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Vassily Ivanchuk, Boris Gelfand, Peter Leko and Peter Svidler. The legends will be joined by Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Anish Giri and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Not to be missed!

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Six legends enter the online arena

Ten players will compete in the “Legends of Chess” tournament. Four of them qualified by reaching the semifinals of the Chessable Masters — Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Anish Giri — and the remaining six were invited to participate — Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Boris Gelfand, Peter Leko, Peter Svidler and Vassily Ivanchuk, all world champions, runners-up for the title or absolute top players at some point in time.

Five of these six players are still active, while Kramnik has retired from classical chess.

Vladimir Kramnik, Peter LekoAt 40, Peter Leko is the youngest of the legends, while Boris Gelfand is the oldest at 52. Both players have fought for the World Championship title before, but were defeated by Vladimir Kramnik (Leko, 2004) and Viswanthan Anand (Gelfand, 2012) respectively. Currently, both of them are passing on their knowledge as trainers for the German team, directly or indirectly. Leko is Vincent Keymer’s coach while Gelfand gives training lessons to the German squad

[Pictured: Kramnik and Leko at the 2004 World Championship match.]

The “chess24 Legends of Chess” online tournament kicks off with a preliminary round, a single round-robin of rapid chess played over nine days. Each matchup consists of four games with a time control of 15 minutes plus increments of 10 seconds. If the final score is 2:2, the winner is decided in Armageddon (White has an extra minute but is obliged to win).  A victory, without Armageddon, grants three points, while winning in Armageddon grants two points to the winner and one point to the loser.

The four top scorers of the preliminaries qualify for the knockout round. In the semifinals and final, the same format will be in place, except that instead of going immediately to Armageddon in case of a tie, a pair of blitz games will be the first tiebreaker.


  • Preliminary rounds: 10-player single round robin
    • Four-game matches of rapid chess (15'+10")
    • In case of a tie, Armageddon (White gets 5 minutes, Black gets 4 minutes and draw odds)
    • A win without Armageddon gives 3 points
    • In case of reaching Armageddon, winner gets 2 points and loser gets 1 point
  • Final 4: Knockout format with four top scorers from the prelims
    • Played to the best of 3 sets
    • Each set: Four-game matches of rapid chess (15'+10")
    • In case of a tie, 2 blitz games follow (5'+3") and then Armageddon


The action starts at 16:00 CEST both in the prelims and the knockout.

Date Round
July 21 Prelims Round 1
July 22 Prelims Round 2
July 23 Prelims Round 3
July 24 Prelims Round 4
July 25 Prelims Round 5
July 26 Prelims Round 6
July 27 Prelims Round 7
July 28 Prelims Round 8
July 29 Prelims Round 9
July 30 Rest day
July 31 Semifinals Set 1
August 1 Semifinals Set 2
August 2 Semifinals Set 3
August 3 Final Set 1
August 4 Final Set 2
August 5 Final Set 3


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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hurwitz hurwitz 7/21/2020 10:26
Does anyone know what is the recent development in the relationship between Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri?

I noticed that in the live interview after the game, Tania brought up this and Magnus confirmed there is something ...
Green22 Green22 7/21/2020 04:40
Rooting for top form from Vasyl!
Woodford Woodford 7/21/2020 12:03
Why doesn’t Kasparov’s ego get the better of him and he play in one of these? And make a fool of himself like he did In St Louis a few years ago.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/21/2020 11:27
In the 2004 Kramnik-Lékó match Kramnik did not defeat Lékó. Kramnik won the first game, Lékó equalized in the fifth, then took the lead in the eighth, which he kept until the very end, when Kramnik has beaten him in the fourteenth game, reaching a 7-7 tie. The rules back then have provided draw odds to the reigning World Champion, so Kramnik remained Classical World Champion, but, even though he retained the title, it was technically by a tie and not by defeating the Challenger. Gelfand, on the other hand was defeated by Anand in the rapid tiebreaks, even though their main match was tied as well.
Davidx1 Davidx1 7/21/2020 08:32
Prepared people: they play very quickly, few tactical mistakes, they know many variations of opening.
But today you open Fritz and everything seems easy...
hurwitz hurwitz 7/21/2020 08:01
@Gerald C: who is not a legend in this group? There are four top-10 players in the world and the rest are truly legends by any measure ...
Gerald C Gerald C 7/21/2020 07:49
All 6 participants are great players but they are not all "legends" !
Peter B Peter B 7/21/2020 04:43
It will be great to see the legends back, but I fear those who have not been at the very top recently (i.e. all except Anand and Kramnik) will lose heavily against the younger generation. But I would love them to prove me wrong!