Magnus Carlsen Wins Champions Chess Tour!

The Finals of the Champions Chess Tour ended just yesterday, but Magnus Carlsen’s dominant performance meant that he was the mathematical winner several days before the Finals ended. Wesley So’s crushing round-seven loss to Levon Aronian meant that Carlsen’s lead was out of reach to all players.

The Champions Chess Tour consisted of ten tournaments held online over the past year. In each tournament sixteen of the world’s best players competed in a round robin, with each round consisting of four rapid (15+10) games followed by blitz (5+3) tiebreakers if needed. The top eight then participated in a series of knockout rounds. After the first nine such events Magnus Carlsen was in the overall lead, with Filipino-American Wesley So in a close second place.

The format for the Finals was a nine-round round robin, featuring the top ten competitors in the tournament to date.

But in round seven of the Finals, So lost badly to Levon Aronian, blundering badly in game two and finding himself at the wrong end of a King hunt in game three. Aronian took the round 2.5 to 0.5 points. Even though Carlsen lost his round seven to Teimour Radjabov three games to one, by winning a single game he found himself with an unbeatable lead.

The Finals had a dramatic series of chess thrills, including a very dubious Queen sacrifice by Carlsen, a weird mouseslip by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and a bewildering blunder by Levon Aronian which led to him being mated on move 18.

Young Russian GM Vladislav Artemiev surprised by defeating Carlsen in their round.

The final standings of the Champions Chess Tour are:

  1. Magnus Carlsen
  2. Teimour Radjabov
  3. Levon Aronian
  4. Wesley So
  5. Hikaru Nakamura
  6. Vladislav Artemiev
  7. Anish Giri
  8. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
  9. Jan-Krzysztof Duda
  10. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

The Champions Chess Tour is the most watched chess tournament in history, and we’re pleased to report that the next edition of the Tour will start in February 2022.

Carlsen emerges from the tour $300,000 richer, with about six weeks left to prepare for the 2021 World Chess Championship against challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi in Dubai.