Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri topped their respective groups to lead eight players into the quarterfinals of the Chessable Masters.
The Chessable Masters is the third event in the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, the World Champion’s series of elite online chess tournaments.
Carlsen, Giri Tops in Group Stage
This leg of the tour separated 12 world-class grandmasters into two groups of six for double round-robin play. Competitors needed to finish in the top four of their groups to reach the quarterfinals.
In Group A, Carlsen came back from a tepid start to share first place with Vladislav Artemiev. Both players finished on six points from 10 games, though Carlsen had the better tiebreakers and took the top seed.
Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge winner Daniil Dubov failed to qualify for the quarterfinals. After finishing in a three-way tie for third at five points, Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Grischuk went through on tiebreakers ahead of Dubov and Pentala Harikrishna, who scored just three points.
In Group B, Giri took sole possession of first place with six points, a half-point ahead of Ding Liren and Ina Nepomniachtchi. Caruana grabbed the last spot on five points, just a half-point ahead of Teimour Radjabov. French grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave brought up the rear with 3.5 points.
The results set up some mouthwatering quarterfinal clashes. Not only will Carlsen and Caruana play again – they recently met up in the Clutch Chess International, with Carlsen again coming out on top – but Nakamura and Ding will square off in a battle between two of the Chessable Masters favorites. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the bracket is guaranteed to produce a first-time finalist on the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour.
Chessable Masters Odds (To Win Tournament)
Odds via Bwin
Online bookmaker Bwin lists Carlsen as an overwhelming -112 favorite, but it’s anyone’s tournament after him. Nakamura (+600), Nepomniachtchi (+800), and Artemiev (+800) line up right behind the World Champion, and all eight players appear capable of making a run at the title.
Knockout Rounds: Best-of-Three System Returns
The Chessable Masters is using the same knockout system as the Rapid Challenge. Beginning on Thursday, players will compete in a best-of-three match format, similar to a best-of-three sets match in tennis. Each match consists of four games, plus an Armageddon tiebreaker, if needed. The first player to win two matches advances to the next round.
While that format gives stronger players plenty of time to outplay opponents, upsets are still possible. The tightest quarterfinal matchup figures to be the clash between Nepomniachtchi (-134) and Artemiev (+100). While Nepomniachtchi is ranked fourth in the world in classical chess – compared to Artemiev at No. 29 – the two are evenly matched in rapid play, where Nepomniachtchi outranks his countryman by just nine points on the ratings list.
Chessable Masters Quarterfinal Odds
- Magnus Carlsen (-500) vs. Fabiano Caruana (+320)
- Vladislav Artemiev (+100) vs. Ian Nepomniachtchi (-134)
- Hikaru Nakamura (-182) vs. Ding Liren (+135)
- Alexander Grischuk (-200) vs. Anish Giri (+145)
Odds via Bwin
The Chessable Masters will wrap up by July 5, with the final beginning on July 3. Players are competing for $150,000 in prizes, with the winner taking home $45,000.