Grandmaster Hou Yifan will become the first woman to compete in the Champions Chess Tour on Saturday when she joins an elite field of 16 players in the Goldmoney Asian Rapid online tournament.

Goldmoney Asian Rapid odds
The top women’s chess player in the world, Hou Yifan (left) and World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen (right) will headline the field for the Goldmoney Asian Rapid. (Image: Eric van Reem/

Hou comes in as a +5000 pick to win the Goldmoney Asian Rapid, according to online sportsbook Unibet.

Hou makes tour debut in Goldmoney Asian Rapid

Those odds suggest that the former Women’s World Chess Champion should be among those fighting for a top-8 spot and a position in the knockout rounds. Hou is a three-time women’s world champion, and currently ranks 85th in the world overall, as well as No. 1 among female players.

As the seventh tournament on the Champions Chess Tour, the Goldmoney Asian Rapid begins the home stretch towards the tour final. There are just three regular events left, and no more majors. That means players will be fighting for five guaranteed spots in the final based entirely on the number of tour points they’ve collected.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen doesn’t have to worry about that. He booked his place in the Tour Final by winning the FTX Crypto Cup last month, booking his second consecutive tournament win. Still, the Norwegian will look to extend his lead at the top of the tour standings, as higher point totals will give players an edge in the final event.

Carlsen enters the Goldmoney Asian Rapid as a -125 pick to win the tournament. His closest competitor is American grandmaster Wesley So (+600), who has also won two events this season. In fact, Carlsen and So have met in the final of three of the first six tour events, including the recent Crypto Cup.

Ding still looking for first points this season

Anish Giri comes in as the +900 third choice to win. The winner of the Magnus Carlsen Invitational, Giri has already clinched his spot in the Tour Final. Chinese grandmaster Ding Liren also sports +900 odds, despite having not yet reached the knockout round in any of his three appearances in tour events this season.

The Goldmoney Asian Rapid will utilize the standard format for Champions Chess Tour events. The 16 players will compete in a full round-robin over three days, playing five games in each session. At the end of the preliminaries, the top eight players will advance to the knockout rounds.

Goldmoney Asian Rapid Odds (via Unibet)
Magnus Carlsen: -125 Wesley So: +600
Anish Giri: +900 Ding Liren: +900
Levon Aronian: +1400 Alireza Firouzja: +1400
Daniil Dubov: +2000 Vladislav Artemiev: +3000
Jan-Krzysztof Duda: +3000 Santosh Gujrathi Vidit: +4000
Peter Svidler: +5000 Hou Yifan: +5000
Adhiban Baskaran: +8000 Salem Saleh: +10000
Dommaraju Gukesh: +25000 Arjun Erigaisi: +50000

At that point, players will compete in two-day matches. Each day, the players will play a four-game “set.” A player earns a full point for winning a set, or a half-point in the case of a 2-2 tie. Should the two-set match end knotted at 1-1, the players will compete in blitz and potentially Armageddon tiebreakers to determine a winner.

The winner of the Goldmoney Asian Rapid will take home a prize of $30,000. The two finalists will face off on July 3-4, with the runner-up earning $15,000.

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