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Champions Chess Tour Chessable Masters 2023 play-in begins as grandmasters join the tournament

The Chessable Masters tournament continues today with the play-in, where those qualified will have a chance to compete for a £1.65m prize pool.

The second event in The Champions Chess Tour starts today after qualifying wrapped up in August for titled players besides grandmasters.

Four grandmasters have already been invited to the knockout stages of the tournament in April after their performances in the CCT’s previous event, The Airthings Masters.

The highest rated Classical and Rapid player in the world Magnus Carlsen is amongst those in the later stages of the tournament alongside rival and five-time U.S. Chess Champion Hikaru Nakamura.

The Airthings Masters’ highest division ended with Carlsen defeating Nakamura in the final, going on to beat him once again in the grand final after the American won the losers bracket final against Wesley So.

The grand final saw Magnus Carlsen win the first game, starting in an Anglo-Indian system, before bringing the pawn out to d4 on the fourth move and transposing into the commonly seen Queen’s Gambit Declined.

Queens Gambit Declined: Three Knights Variation

The Three Knights Variation is a staple of Slovenian-Ukrainian grandmaster Alexander Beliavsky. The opening allows chances for black to counter queenside, but Carlsen avoided this, trading pieces to an early endgame.

Nakamura resigned while equal on material, with his King pinned to the back rank by Carlsen’s Rook and pressure from the Knight.

Winning the first event gave leader Carlsen 150 points, with Nakamura second with 100. A first place finish in the events earns the winner £25,000. The winner of the CCT Finals will walk away with a £165,000 purse.

The play-in will use the same 10+2 time control as the qualifiers did. The knockout stages will use the longer rapid format of 15+3.

All six events throughout the year culminate with the in-person Finals in December to decide the winner overall.

The second leg of the tour starts on the 13 March, 2023 at 15:00 GMT with the knockout phase starting in early April.

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