In November some of the world's strongest grandmasters will be returning to St. Louis for what is called the Champions Showdown. The four matches are Hikaru Nakamura vs. Veselin Topalov, Fabiano Caruana vs. Alexander Grischuk, Wesley So vs. Leinier Dominguez and Magnus Carlsen vs. Ding Liren.
Some top players had already hinted at playing in St. Louis, and now it's officially announced. Eight players, four matches, rapid and blitz only. This is the format of the 2017 Champions Showdown.
Four players were asked which player they want to play in a match. Nakamura chose Topalov, Caruana chose Grischuk, So chose Dominguez and Carlsen chose Ding, the Chinese rising star who made it to the World Cup final last month.
That last match, between Carlsen and Ding, will start and finish two days after the other three matches. Here's the full schedule.
|Thursday||Nov. 9||1 - 6:30 PM||G/30 Rounds 1 - 4|
|Friday||Nov. 10||1 - 5:30 PM||G/20 Rounds 1 - 6|
|Saturday||Nov. 11||1 - 5:30 PM||G/10 Rounds 1 - 8|
|Carlsen vs. Ding G/30 Rounds 1 - 4|
|Sunday||Nov. 12||1 - 5:30 PM||G/5 Rounds 1 - 12|
|Carlsen vs. Liren x G/20 Rounds 1 - 6|
|Monday||Nov. 13||1 - 5:30 PM||Carlsen vs. Liren G/10 Rounds 1 - 8|
|Tuesday||Nov. 14||11 AM - 4:30 PM||Magnus Carlsen vs. Ding Liren G/5 Rounds 1-12|
The games will be played with no increment and no delay so unlike at e.g. the World Cup or the Grand Chess Tour, we may see crazy time scrambles happening.
"We were looking for something special for some of the world’s top players to come to St. Louis in November," said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club. "With no time increments or delay, we believe this will be one of the most watched and exciting set of matches of the year."
All matches have a $100,000 prize fund each with $60,000 going to the winner and $40,000 to the loser. As always, the local tv crew will provide a daily video broadcast with Maurice Ashley, Yasser Seirawan and Jennifer Shahade.
All players have played in St. Louis before. That includes Ding, who participated in the 2016 Sinquefield Cup. Topalov will be playing his first chess since the Paris Grand Chess Tour in June, which means he was away from competitive chess for 137 days.
In last year's Showdown, also mid-November, Caruana, Nakamura, Topalov and Viswanathan Anand were involved in a five-day standard, rapid, and blitz tournament. Anand won.