Carlsen, So & Nakamura back for the Airthings Masters

Carlsen, So & Nakamura back for the Airthings Masters

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen will be out for revenge against Champions Chess Tour leader Wesley So when the first Major of the tour kicks off on December 26th. The 12-player tournament runs until January 3rd and has a $200,000 prize fund, with the winner picking up $60,000 and a guaranteed place in the grand final next September. Airthings, who produce world-leading radon and indoor air quality monitors, is partnering with the Tour and will measure the air quality in the players’ homes as

We’re thrilled to announce the field for the second event on the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour, the Airthings Masters, which features 8 of the world’s top 11 players according to the classical rating list. The average rating is 2761 and the average age 30.6.

# Airthings Masters Player FED Classical Rank Rapid Rank Age
1 Magnus Carlsen 2862 1 2881 1 30
2 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2784 4 2778 9 30
3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2784 5 2860 2 30
4 Levon Aronian 2781 6 2778 8 38
5 Alexander Grischuk 2777 7 2784 7 37
6 Wesley So 2770 9 2741 21 27
7 Teimour Radjabov 2765 10 2758 14 33
8 Anish Giri 2764 11 2731 24 26
9 Hikaru Nakamura 2736 20 2829 4 33
10 Pentala Harikrishna 2732 22 2705 34 34
11 Daniil Dubov 2702 37 2770 12 24
12 David Anton 2675 60 2667 72 25

The lineup includes the eight players who qualified as the top 8 on the Champions Chess Tour after the first event, the Skilling Open, which was won by Wesley So after a thrilling final victory over Magnus Carlsen.

Those players are joined by Spanish Champion David Anton, who was voted back into the Airthings Masters despite finishing outside the qualifying places, and Russian 3-time World Blitz Champion Alexander Grischuk, who won the second public vote among chess24 premium members.

They’re also joined by two wild cards, Russia’s Daniil Dubov, who was the only player other than Magnus to win an event on the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, and India’s Pentala Harikrishna, who has been ranked as high as world no. 10.

Double the prize fund
The prize fund for the first Major on the Champions Chess Tour is $200,000, double that for Regular events like the Skilling Open, with the top prize rising to $60,000. One difference this time is that there will also be a match for 3rd place, to run in parallel with the final.

The winner is guaranteed a place in the Champions Chess Tour Finals next September, while the top 8 players in the overall tour standings after the Airthings Masters will automatically be invited back to the next 16-player Regular event on the tour in February 2021.

Bridging Christmas and the New Year
The Airthings Masters will be a Christmas and New Year treat for chess fans as it runs without a rest day from Boxing Day, December 26th to January 3rd. Once again there’s a 3-day preliminary stage where the players play each other once, before the top 8 players go forward to the knockout.

The chess should be over by midnight on New Year’s Eve wherever the players are based since the starting time for this event will be 15:00 CET (09:00 ET), three hours earlier than for the Skilling Open.

Breathe better, play better?
Airthings will be the title partner of the Airthings Masters and the Official Air Quality Partner for the full first season of the Tour. Airthings will monitor and stream the air quality levels in the players’ homes to raise awareness about the importance of good indoor air and how it impacts our cognitive abilities, decision making, and health.


Andreas Thome, CEO of the Play Magnus Group, said:

For players, the Champions Chess Tour demands high-stakes decision-making, often under time pressure. It is going to be fascinating to see how the world’s best perform in the Airthings Masters while at the same time being able to see in real-time how the conditions are different in each of their homes using Airthings’ technology.

Oyvind Birkenes, CEO of Airthings, highlighted the importance of air quality:

For chess, esports, and gamers, concentration is key, and with players sitting for hours in a room, the air they breathe plays a key role in how well they perform, make decisions, and reason. By monitoring the air quality in the room, chess players can make sure the air they breathe is as healthy as can be and that they stay on top of their game throughout a tournament.

The Airthings Masters logo

All the logos for the Champions Chess Tour are graphical representations of particular chess games. The Skilling Open logo was produced by 13-year-old Bobby Fischer’s Game of the Century, while the Airthings Masters logo was chosen by a vote.

The winner was the brilliant attacking game that gave Wesley So victory over Hikaru Nakamura in the semi-finals of the Skilling Open.

The best live chess coverage around
The Airthings Masters will be broadcast live in languages that include English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Turkish, Italian and Portuguese, with TV channel NRK showing the action in Norway while Eurosport streams live in over 60 markets around the world. Here on chess24 we’ll again have multiple streams in English, catering for everyone from beginners to seasoned chess fans. You don’t want to miss

David Howell, Jovanka Houska and Kaja Snare will be back in our Oslo studio

Magnus Carlsen will play in Wijk aan Zee 2021!