From outer space: Magnus Carlsen Invitational kicks off Saturday

by ChessBase
3/12/2021 – The fourth event of the Champions Chess Tour, the Magnus Carlsen Invitational, will take place on March 13-21, with sixteen players fighting for Tour points and a share of the US$ 220,000 prize fund. According to their rapid ratings, Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura are the top seeds.

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Partnership with Breakthrough Initiatives

Going into the fourth event of the series, the organizers of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour have agreed on a partnership with Breakthrough Initiatives — “a suite of space science programs investigating the fundamental questions of life in the Universe”, as described on their website

The idea is to celebrate the 60th anniversary of humans reaching outer space for the first time, as Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. The Breakthrough Initiatives are funded by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, a group created by tech investors and philanthropists Yuri and Julia Milner. The foundation has been awarding $3 million prizes for major advances in Mathematics, Fundamental Physics and Life Sciences.

The foundation also supports the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, where young people are awarded for their ability to explain scientific theories in short videos. 

Magnus Carlsen Invitational 2021

The tournament

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is the successor to the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour. It consists of 10 events taking place over 10 months, with the prize fund rising from $1 million to $1.5 million. Six Regular tournaments, three Majors and the Finals are taking place from November 2020 until September 2021.

Originally, each Major was supposed to include a 12-player lineup in contrast to the 16-player field seen in the regular tournaments. However, the fourth event of the tour, a Major, will have 16 players fighting in the preliminaries, since the organizers consider that the larger lineup makes for a more entertaining preliminary round robin — 8 out of the 16 participants move on to the knockout stage.

The preliminary stage is an all-play-all tournament, with five rounds played per day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. 

In the knockout stage, each encounter will be decided over two days. On day 1, there will be four rapid games, and if the match ends 2:2 it will simply be a draw (there doesn’t have to be a winner). On day 2, another 4-game match will be held. If both matches are drawn, or the players have traded wins, then shortly after the second match there will be a playoff: two blitz games followed, if needed, by Armageddon.

Magnus Carlsen Invitational 2021

The eight players that top the Tour standings were automatically invited to the fourth stage of the series — currently, Wesley So and Teimour Radjabov are leading the overall standings, followed by Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian in third and fourth places respectively. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (5th), Hikaru Nakamura (6th), Ian Nepomniachtchi (7th) and Daniil Dubov (8th) were also invited based on their overall standing in the series.

Two spots were given based on popular vote, with Anish Giri and David Anton getting the largest amount of support from the public; Carlsen himself invited four wildcards — Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alireza Firouzja, Sergey Karjakin and Jorden van Foreest; while Alan Pichot and Nils Grandelius qualified in a four-player double round robin played on Tuesday.

The action each day begins at 16:00 GMT (17:00 CET, 11:00 ET, 21:30 IST).

Full lineup

# Name FED Rating (rapid) Age
1 Magnus Carlsen Norway 2881 30
2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 2860 30
3 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2829 33
4 Levon Aronian Armenia 2778 38
5 Ian Nepomniachtchi Russia 2778 30
6 Daniil Dubov Russia 2770 24
7 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan 2761 35
8 Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan 2758 34
9 Wesley So USA 2741 27
10 Anish Giri Netherlands 2731 26
11 Sergey Karjakin Russia 2709 31
12 Alireza Firouzja FIDE 2703 17
13 David Anton Spain 2674 25
14 Nils Grandelius Sweden 2632 27
15 Alan Pichot Argentina 2548 22
16 Jorden van Foreest Netherlands 2543 21

Meltwater Champions Chess Tour


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