Nakamura and Firouzja complete the lineup of the Skilling Open

by ChessBase
11/21/2020 – The $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour, a series of ten online tournaments featuring elite players, kicks off November 22 with the Skilling Open. The 16 participants will first play a single round robin to decide who moves on to the knockout stage. World champion Magnus Carlsen and Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour runner-up Hikaru Nakamura will both be playing in the 9-day inaugural event.

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The action begins on Sunday

The 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 will be played from November 2020 until September 2021.

Prior to the start of the first event of the tour, the organizers disclosed the lineup slowly, presenting the names of the participants one by one. While the participation of Magnus Carlsen was announced a bit over a week ago, Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzja were the last names to be disclosed.

According to their rating in rapid — the time control is 15 minutes for the game, with 10-second increments — Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Ding Liren, Nakamura and Levon Aronian are the top seeds. 

Full lineup

# Name FED Rating (rapid) Age
1 Magnus Carlsen Norway 2881 29
2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 2860 30
3 Ding Liren China 2836 28
4 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2829 32
5 Ian Nepomniachtchi Russia 2778 30
6 Levon Aronian Armenia 2778 38
7 Jan-Krzysztof Duda Poland 2774 22
8 Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan 2758 33
9 Liem Quang Le Vietnam 2744 29
10 Peter Svidler Russia 2742 44
11 Wesley So USA 2741 27
12 Anish Giri Netherlands 2731 26
13 Sergey Karjakin Russia 2709 30
14 Alireza Firouzja FIDE 2703 17
15 David Anton Spain 2667 25
16 Vidit Gujrathi India 2636 26

First, the 16 players will face off in a single round robin, to be played between Sunday and Tuesday, with five rounds being played per day. The top eight will advance to a 6-day knockout, with two days each for the quarterfinals, semifinals and final. 

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.

Skilling Open 2020

At stake are both Tour points and a $100,000 prize fund, with $30,000 for first place.

  • Winner: $30,000
  • Runner-up: $15,000
  • Semifinals: $7,500
  • Quarterfinals: $5,000
  • Preliminaries: $2,500

Tour points will take on much more importance than in the previous tour. The maximum available for a Regular event like the Skilling Open is 50 (10 for finishing 1st in the Prelims and 40 for winning the final).

Prelim result Tour Points Prize
1st 10  
2nd 8  
3rd 6  
4th 5  
5th 4  
6th 3  
7th 2  
8th 1  
9-16th 0 $2,500
Knockout result Tour Points Prize
Quarterfinal loser 0 $5,000
Semifinal loser 10 $7,500
Runner-up 20 $15,000
Winner 40 $30,000

The action each day begins at 17:00 GMT (18:00 CET, 12:00 ET).


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