Magnus Carlsen and Jan Henric Buettner found Freestyle Chess Players Club

by Press release
3/15/2024 – The Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T Challenge in Weissenhaus caused quite a stir. Now Magnus Carlsen and Jan Henric Buettner are following suit and announcing the founding of the Freestyle Chess Players Club. They are also launching the Freestyle Chess Grand Slam Tour. Four to six tournaments a year are planned, the first in India in November 2024.

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Press release

Freestyle Chess Players Club and global Freestyle Chess Grand Slam Tour announced by Magnus Carlsen and Jan Henric Buettner

Only a few weeks after the successful inaugural edition of the Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T.
Challenge in Weissenhaus (Germany), Magnus Carlsen and Jan Henric Buettner are opening
up a new chapter in the history of chess. Carlsen, the world's greatest chess player, and the
German entrepreneur Buettner, who initiated and hosted the event, have invited the world’s
top chess players to become members of their newly formed, exclusive Freestyle Chess
Players Club (FCPC). At the same time, Carlsen and Buettner confirmed the launch of a
worldwide Freestyle Chess Grand Slam Tour, a series of five tournaments per year on five

Eligible for membership of the new Freestyle Chess Players Club are all players with a current
ELO of >2725 who have a significant current international activity level. “We are excited, that
all 25 invited eligible players have responded positively and joined the FCPC”, said Jan Henric
Buettner. Among those who joined are the world’s current top ten players behind Magnus
Carlsen, i.e., Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Nodirbek Abusattorov, Ding Liren, Alireza
Firouzja, Wesley So, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Wei Yi, Arjun Erigaisi and Viswanathan Anand.

Members of the FCPC will have the unique opportunity of being one of currently only 25
players who are eligible for a potential invitation to one or more of the elite tournaments of the newly formed Freestyle Chess Grand Slam Tour, that Carlsen and Buettner announced in a
joint statement on Friday. “We are currently planning four to five such tournaments per year.
Our next event has already been scheduled for India from November 10-17, 2024”, Buettner
confirmed. In 2025 the next stop will be Germany (Weissenhaus) from February 7-14. Further
Grand Slams are currently planned for summer, fall and winter 2025 in New York, Cartagena/Colombia, and Cape Town/South Africa, as well as for Australia in 2026.

"My personal goal for the Freestyle Chess Grand Slam is nothing short of making it as
commercially successful as iconic sports events like the ATP for tennis, PGA for golf, and
Formula 1 for motorsport. Central to our approach is placing the players at the forefront of our
endeavors. It's my earnest desire to see each of our FCPC members thrive professionally,
even to the extent of securing individual sponsorship deals outside of FCPC's purview.
Drawing from the successes of these renowned sporting events, we understand the paramount importance of cultivating recognizable and distinct personalities within the realm of
chess. Our aim is to create a league of chess icons whom the younger generation across
various international markets can relate to and admire.", Buettner wrote in his welcoming letter to all 25 FCPC members.

Qualified for each next ten-player tournament are those players who finish first, second, third,
and fifth in the previous tournament, as well as possibly one player winning an open
qualification tournament. The remaining positions will be filled by members of the FCPC.
Those players are selected for extraordinary achievements, and/or individual significance to
such specific regional markets, in which the tournament is to be held. While the prize fund for
the first event in Weissenhaus (February 2024) was $200k, it shall be increased to $500k for
the India Grand Slam, to $750k for the next Weissenhaus Grand Slam, and to a target of $1
million for each Grand Slam thereafter.

“The response from the chess world to our inaugural event in Weissenhaus in February was
overwhelming. It wasn't just the players who were enthusiastic about the new format. We
achieved a worldwide media reach of more than half a billion. This underscores that we have
made considerable progress on our way to popularizing chess and inspiring an additional new
audience around the world. The Freestyle Chess Players Club and the global Freestyle Chess
Grand Slam Tour are the logical next steps,” said Buettner.

About Freestyle Chess

Freestyle Chess is a registered trademark. All tournaments will be held in exclusive venues
with an aura of luxury, style, and classiness. All games will be played according to chess960
rules (also known as Fisher Random). The first two round robin days of each tournament will
be played with rapid time limits. Quarter, semi-finals and finals will then be played with
standard time limits. All events will be streamed live with commentary on the events’ websites
and via other partners’ channels. A specific mass-market-oriented TV-format will be developed
around the next Freestyle Chess Grand Slam in India in November 2024.