Kramnik vows to entertain as Legends of Chess get ready for chess24’s battle of the generations

One of the greatest chess players ever will come out of retirement today to battle it out online in the chess24 Legends of Chess super-tournament.

Vladimir Kramnik, the man who conquered Garry Kasparov to become the 14th World Chess Champion, will face Russia’s current number 1 Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Kramnik, aged 45, is among a host of chess greats of the past and present competing in the online battle of the generations that kicks off today.

Yesterday, Kramnik appeared on a chess24 Q&A and “Banter Blitz” session where he played casual games online against fans.

Speaking about his chances in the tournament, he said: “I’ll try to get emotions and give emotions to the public… to entertain the public and myself with chess. That’s all I have left these days!”

India’s greatest ever player Vishy Anand, 50, is also in action against eight-time Russian champ Peter Svidler.

Meanwhile, reigning World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen comes up against his rival Anish Giri, the Netherlands number 1. The pair have not stopped their on-going Twitter exchanges since the last tournament.

It promises to be a fascinating first day as five pairs begin the round-robin battle for a semi-final place.

The event, the fourth 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.

Both will be keen to show age is no barrier to success in chess.

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

The official tournament social media hashtag will be #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.


Five-time World Champion Vishy Anand said: “I am looking forward to returning to the chessboard and particularly excited to participate in this inter-generational challenge.”

World Champion 2000-2007 Vladimir Kramnik said: “I am glad to get a chance to play some chess online thanks to the efforts of chess24 to keep it going during this strange and uncertain time. I hope my play will not be too disappointing, but in any case, I will enjoy every minute and every game of this wonderful event!”

Two-time World Championship Candidate and 2004 title challenger Peter Leko said: “It is a great honour to be part of this truly unique event. A battle of the generations and clash of different playing styles makes for a wonderful mix at the Legends of Chess.”

Six-time World Championship Candidate and 2012 title challenger Boris Gelfand said: “I am delighted to take part in the forthcoming Legends tournament. Looking forward to playing chess against great masters!”

Former World Blitz and Rapid Champion Vasyl Ivanchuk said: “Why do I want to play in a chess legends tournament? My main answer is very simple! I just want to play chess against exciting opponents and I want to enjoy it!”

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.

Leon Watson