The Opera Euro Rapid, the next stage on the $1.5 million tour, kicks off on February 6 and carries a $100,000 prize pot, Play Magnus Group revealed today.
Sixteen of the world’s top online chess players will be taking part, with the line-up topped by World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen.
But in a first for Meltwater Champions Chess Tour events, all the participants will be offered the same fast and lightweight Opera browser.
“Online chess is now an established eSport that requires serious tech and Opera’s browser is exactly that,” Tour Director Arne Horvei said.
“The Tour now has two tournaments in the top three most watched chess events in recent history alongside the latest World Chess Championship.
“We believe the partnership with Opera – whose products are known, trusted and used worldwide by millions of people every month – represents a massive opportunity to accelerate the popularity of the Tour and chess.
“We are excited to have Opera as the title partner for the Opera Euro Rapid and the Official Browser Partner of the Tour moving forward.”
Opera is a fast and lightweight browser that provides players with data to identify and fix any potential performance problems.
All arbiters and tournament controllers involved in the event will be required to use it and Opera will be the official browser of the tour.
Chess as an eSport
Krystian Kolondra, EVP Browsers at Opera, said: “Gaming and eSports are becoming an increasingly important part of the browser experience.
“Chess streaming experienced explosive growth in 2020, and the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour on chess24.com garnered massive viewership.
“As many of our users are gamers, eSports and chess fans, we believe partnering with the Play Magnus Group and the Tour is a perfect fit for us. We can’t wait to see the games that will be played out during the Opera Euro Rapid.”
The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, organised by the Play Magnus Group, is the first full season of online chess events.
It comprises nine Regular and Major tournaments culminating in a $300,000 Final which starts in September.
All matches are played in a rapid chess format with blitz and “armageddon” tie-breaks if needed.
New names on Tour
Coverage is broadcast in nine languages on chess24.com’s Twitch and YouTube platforms, live on TV 2 in Norway and in 70 countries worldwide by the Eurosport TV network.
Azerbaijani Grandmaster Teimour Radjabov currently leads the tour standings ahead of the American Wesley So.
World Champion Magnus Carlsen is fourth.
There are three new names on the Tour appearing in the Opera Euro Rapid: US stars Sam Shankland and Leinier Dominguez and German number 1 Matthias Bluebaum.
Six entries were given wildcards and two were voted in by chess24.com Premium members.
|#||Player||Qualification||Rating||N Rank||W Rank|
|1||Teimour Radjabov||No||#1 Tour||2765||#2 AZE||#10|
|2||Wesley So||No||#2 Tour||2770||#2 USA||#9|
|3||Levon Aronian||No||#3 Tour||2781||#1 ARM||#6|
|4||Magnus Carlsen||No||#4 Tour||2862||#1 NOR||#1|
|5||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave||No||#5 Tour||2784||#1 FRA||#5|
|6||Hikaru Nakamura||No||#6 Tour||2736||#4 USA||#20|
|7||Ian Nepomniachtchi||No||#7 Tour||2789||#1 RUS||#4|
|8||Daniil Dubov||No||#8 Tour||2710||#8 RUS||#29|
|9||Ding Liren||No||Premium Vote 1||2791||#1 CHN||#3|
|10||Alexander Grischuk*||No||Premium Vote 2||2777||#2 RUS||#7|
|11||Anish Giri||No||Wildcard||2764||#1 NED||#11|
|12||Vidit Gujrathi||No||Wildcard||2726||#2 IND||#24|
|13||Jan-Krzysztof Duda||No||Wildcard||2743||#1 POL||#19|
|14||Sam Shankland||Yes||Wildcard||2691||#6 USA||#44|
|15||Leinier Dominguez||Yes||Wildcard||2758||#3 USA||#14|
|16||Matthias Bluebaum||Yes||Wildcard||2670||#1 GER||#67|