Carlsen in (chess) fantasy land

Magnus Carlsen showed his mind wasn’t just on Premier League fantasy football today as he put Ding Liren to the sword in the $150,000 chess24 Legends of Chess event.

Carlsen, who is joint-top of the tournament leaderboard and sure of a semi-final place, has been in red hot form recently and came up against an opponent who has been in a terrible slump.

Ding, the normally super-solid Chinese number 1, had won only 1/5 going into today’s round and Carlsen quickly made it 1/6 with a 2.5-1.5 win.

The match had been rearranged to take place three hours before the final matches of this season’s Premier League football kicked off.

Carlsen stood fourth in a table of 7.6 million and only 12 points off the top spot. After today’s round, he admitted he was going to have at least one eye on the results and thanked Ding for agreeing to the change.

Asked if he wanted to win, he said: “I hope so, but it’s a long shot. But as long as there is a chance that’s cool and I would like to thank Ding for agreeing to play at an earlier time today. So that I can sweat again properly later today.”

Carlsen summed up his day afterward: “It went fairly well. I guess the first game was uneventful, the second game he didn’t really get out to the opening at all.

“Obviously the third game was really tough but when I survived that, that was the key point for me, for sure.”

Asked if he is enjoying the Legends tournament, Carlsen said: “It’s been fun. I would say yesterday [against Vasyl Ivanchuk] was not a lot of fun though, I was just labouring the whole day. But otherwise, it has been great.”

Today was day six of the round-robin battle for four places in the Legends of Chess semi-finals.

The event, the fifth leg of the $1 million Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, runs until August 5 and will carry a $150,000 prize fund.

The winner will scoop a top prize of $45,000 and the last of the coveted spots in the tour’s Grand Final in August.

Carlsen, Anand and Kramnik are the last three undisputed world champions together in one tournament.

Anand is the man Carlsen wrestled his world title from seven years ago, while Kramnik ushered in a new era in chess in 2000.

Commentary is provided by Jan Gustafsson, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, and Tania Sachdev and special guests – including more legends to be announced later. The event is also be broadcast in 10 languages by

The official tournament social media hashtag is #ChessLegends.


  • The 16th, and current, World Champion Magnus Carlsen;
  • The 15th World Champion Vishy Anand;
  • The 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik;
  • Blitz and Rapid Champion Vasyl Ivanchuk;
  • Eight-time Russian champion Peter Svidler;
  • World title challenger in 2004: Peter Leko;
  • World Cup winner and 2012 world title challenger Boris Gelfand;
  • Netherlands No.1 and 2020 Candidate Anish Giri;
  • Russian No.1 and 2020 Candidate Ian Nepomniachtchi;
  • China’s No.1 and 2020 Candidate Ding Liren.

Tournament rules and schedule

The time control will be a rapid 15m + 10s from move 1 played in the chess24 Playzone. There will be two stages starting with a 10-player round-robin (July 21-29) with each round consisting of 4-game matches and Armageddon tiebreaks if needed.

The top four will advance to the knockout semi-finals (July 31-August 2) and two will go through to the final (August 3-5). July 30 is a free day. All sessions will begin at 16:00 CEST.