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Vidit Gujrathi will star in the Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open

by Shahid Ahmed - 22/11/2020

Vidit Gujrathi led Team India to a historic Gold medal victory in FIDE Online Olympiad 2020 couple of months ago. He continued his impressive form in the Speed Chess invitational as he defeated Daniil Dubov and Dmitry Andreikin before losing to Sergey Karjakin. Vidit will be looking forward to making an impressive start at the Champions Chess Tour as he battles against the best of the best. The first event of the 2020-21 tour is the Skilling Open with a prize fund of 1 lac US dollars. The event will witness players like Carlsen, Nakamura, That's not all we have a great reason to rejoice as we are the official broadcast partners where Sagar Shah will do live commentary along with Amruta Mokal and IM Soumya Swaminathan.

Vidit vs the best of the world

India no.3 and currently World no. 25 GM Vidit Gujrathi will be seen in action against World class players and talented youngsters in Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open which will take place online from 22nd to 30th November 2020 organized by chess24. The tournament will have a total Prize fund is US$ 100,000 where the winner will earn $30,000.

India no.3 and World no.25 Vidit Gujrathi will battle against the best of the best | Photo: Prague Masters

Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open logo | Photo: Official s

Tour regulations

The new tour is the successor to the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour and aims to be bigger and better, but also more compact. Instead of 5 events over 4 months there will be 10 over 10 months, with the prize fund rising from $1 million to $1.5 million. Each event will last 9 days except  the final featuring 3 days of prelims followed by an 8-player knockout tournament.

Pairings and Schedule

This time round all of the first 9 tournaments will have the same structure: a 3-day round-robin (16 players for each Regular event and 12 for each Major) after which the Top 8 players advance to a 6-day knockout, with two days each for the quarterfinals, semi-finals and final.


All games will start from 10:30 p.m. IST between 22nd and 30th November 2020.

Skilling Open Participants

The tournament has a very good mixture of World's best top and youth players - World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Speed King Hikaru Nakamura, Fischer Random Official World Champion Wesley So, two-time World Cup finalist Ding Liren, reigning World Cup winner Teimour Radjabov, France no.1 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Netherlands no.1 Anish Giri, former World Championship challenger Sergey Karjakin, Russia no.1 Ian Nepomniachtchi, former World Blitz Champion Liem Quang Le, two-time World Cup winner Levon Aronian, former World Cup winner and eight-time Russian champion Peter Svidler, Spain no.2 David Anton Guijarro, talented Alireza Firouzja and Polish no.1 Jan-Krzyztof Duda will be joined by our very own India no.3 and currently World no.25 Vidit Gujrathi.

The participants of the Skilling Open

Tour points and Prizes

The Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour had a simple principle that anyone who won a Tour event qualified for the Finals. That still remains, as the winner of a Major qualifies for the Finals, while the winner of a Regular event qualifies for the next Major. In addition, the tour points will take on much more importance this time. The maximum available for a Regular event like the Skilling Open is 50 (10 for finishing 1st in the Prelims and 40 for winning the final).

Prelim result Tour Points Prize
1st 10  
2nd 8  
3rd 6  
4th 5  
5th 4  
6th 3  
7th 2  
8th 1  
9-16th 0 $2,500
Knockout result Tour Points Prize
Quarterfinal loser 0 $5,000
Semifinal loser 10 $7,500
Runner-up 20 $15,000
Winner 40 $30,000

For a Major event those numbers are doubled to 100 (20 points for finishing 1st in the Prelims and 80 for winning the final). Tour points are important since the Top 8 players on the Tour will automatically be invited to the next tournament.

Time Control

• Rapid - 15 minutes per game + 10-second increment.

• Blitz - 5 minutes per game + 3-second increment.

• Armageddon - White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4, with no increments. If the game is drawn Black wins the match.

The difference comes in the knockout stage, where instead of having best-of-three (5 or 7) matches, each encounter will be decided over two days. On Day 1 there will be four rapid games, and if the match ends 2-2 it will simply be a draw (there doesn’t have to be a winner). On Day 2 another 4-game match will be held. If both matches are drawn or the players have traded wins, then shortly after the second match there will be a playoff: two blitz games followed, if needed, by Armageddon.

Innovative Finals

Tour points will also be used to determine the players in the Finals, which this time round will be a 10-player round-robin. Each clash in each round will be played as a 4-game mini-match, with two blitz games and Armageddon if the match ends 2-2. The winner of a match that doesn’t go to playoffs gets 3 points, while points are split 2-1 if a playoff is required.


The twist is that players start the tournament with a different number of points based on their performance over the course of the tour – a system similar to that used in the FedEx Cup in golf. The incentive will be much bigger to score the maximum points over the course of the Tour.

Refined Anti-Cheating and Disconnect policies

Anti-Cheating measures will build on those used for the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour. As well as the player stream viewers can watch there will be cameras filming the players from other angles, available only to the arbiters. The players’ screens will be shared with arbiters as they play. One change, however, is that this time round, to avoid any appearance of impropriety, bathroom breaks or otherwise leaving the playing area will not be permitted during games (except with the Chief Arbiter’s approval).

Magnus Carlsen during the previous chess tour, with a camera also filming him from behind | Photo: Arne Horvei

Disconnects are always a tricky area for online chess, and the new policy is to give a player 30 seconds to reconnect, while their clock still runs. If they lose on time during those 30 seconds they lose the game. After 30 seconds, the clocks will be paused and then resumed as soon as possible after the player reconnects. The aim is to ensure, as far as possible, that chess skills and not internet connections decide results, while also avoiding situations where a game is frozen for too long in a time scramble.

Official broadcast partners

ChessBase India is the official broadcast partners as Sagar Shah along with Amruta Mokal will be the hosts of the show each day. The LIVE Commentary will take place each day on ChessBase India's YouTube Channel. They will be joined by Chess24 India's IM Soumya Swaminathan.

Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal will bring you all the live action | Photo: Lennart Ootes

One of the finest women players of India - Soumya Swaminathan | Photo: Lennart Ootes

What is Vidit up to lately?

Vidit led Team India at the FIDE Online Olympiad and won a historic Gold medal couple of months ago. A few days ago Vidit was impressive at the Speed Chess invitational as he beat Dubov 8-5 and Andreikin 7.5-2.5 to reach the Semi-Finals.

Vidit Gujrathi will have his task cut out as he faces Alireza Firouzja, Levon Aronian, Jan Krzysztof Duda, Ding Liren and Anish Giri on day one! | Photo: David Llada
Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open Day 1 LIVE commentary by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal and Soumya Swaminathan


Follow Vidit Gujrathi on twitter, instagram, youtube and facebook

Champions Chess Tour official site

Tournament regulations

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