Online Chess Tour grows

LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2020 - 12:00am

The $1.5 million Online Champions Chess Tour, a series of 10 tournaments featuring the world’s top players, kicks off its inaugural event on Nov. 22.

Elated by the success of the first edition held last April, organizers redoubled their efforts this time by inviting new sponsors, resulting in bigger cash prizes and additional tournaments, culminating in the grand finals set in Sept. 2021.

Dubbed as the Skilling Open, the first leg will be a 16-player single round-robin event, in which the top eight finishers will advance to the knockout stages, made up of quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

Time control will be 15 minutes plus 10 seconds increment, and the total prize fund per selection tournament will be $100,000.

So far, nine grand masters have confirmed their participation. They are Ding Liren (CHN), Levon Aronian (ARM), Wesley So (USA), Anish Giri (NED), Sergey Kariakin (RUS), Jan Kryzstof Duda (POL), Teimour Radjabov (AZE), Le Quang Liem (VIE) and David Anton (ESP).

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Meanwhile, defending champion Hikaru Nakamura (USA ) outplayed Armenian qualifier Haik Martirosyan, 24-5.0, to reach the quarterfinals at the ongoing Online Speed Chess Championship.

Joining Nakamura were world No. 6 Levon Aronian of Armenia, who beat Russian world No. 4 Ian Nepomniachtchi, 14-11, and American world No. 9 Wesley So, winner over Uzbekistan qualifier Nodirbek Abdusattorov, 18-10.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia earlier won and moved into the last eight.

The last two quarterfinal slots are being contested by Fabiano Caruana (USA) vs Jan Kryzstof Duda and Vladislav Artemiev (RUS) vs. Anish Giri .

All matches can be followed live with commentaries at various chess websites.

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