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Weissenhaus Freestyle G.O.A.T. Challenge SF: Caruana wins a thrilling tie-break to set up a clash with Carlsen

by Shahid Ahmed - 15/02/2024

Magnus Carlsen (NOR) drew against Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB) to advance to the Finals of WEISSENHAUS Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge. He will face Fabiano Caruana (USA). Caruana won the must-win second game against Levon Aronian (USA) to force tie-breaks. After trading wins in both Rapid and Blitz tie-breaks, Caruana won the sudden death Blitz game to make a fantastic comeback. His first win against the two-time World Cup winner, is undoubtedly the best game of the day. Speaking of comebacks, Gukesh also won a must-win second game against Vincent Keymer (GER). He won the first Rapid tie-break game and drew the next. The teenager will face Alireza Firouzja (FRA) for 5th-6th place match. Finals and 5th - 8th place game 1 starts today at 1 p.m. local time, 5:30 p.m. IST. All photos are by Amruta Mokal unless stated otherwise.

Gukesh makes a great comeback against Keymer

"I think has a great future at least for the players. I enjoy playing this. Honestly a lot more than I have enjoyed playing Classical in a while. So it's still very hard. It's hard work but it feels rewarding to be able to think for move no.1 " - Magnus Carlsen on the future of Chess960. "I really hope that this is going to be implemented in the future. I wanted that for a long time. Yeah it's a good start and I hope for more." - The world no.1 on Jan Buettner announcing a Chess960 tour in 2025.

Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana had an exciting match which the latter won
Magnus Carlsen's understanding of Freestyle chess is amazing - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Magnus Carlsen drew against Nodirbek Abdusattorov to advance to the Finals

Caruana - Aronian, Game 2

Position after 18.Qa6

Fabiano Caruana got a commanding position in less than 15 moves. After 18.Qa6, Black's position got crippled further Qc7 19.Rad1 Qe6+ 20.Ka3. Black could have traded the queens 18...Qc4+ to reduce White's domination. He won the must-win game to force tie-breaks.

Fabiano Caruana vs Levon Aronian, Game 2 - Analysis by GM Daniel King | Video: PowerPlay Chess

Aronian won the first Rapid tie-break game. Caruana had a decisive advantage for the better part of the game until he blundered an exchange. The world no.2 was once again in a must-win situation. The two-time World Cup winner, played aggressively from the beginning by bringing his queen out in the open. He won it convincingly to force Blitz tie-breaks. This time, Caruana won the first one. Aronian won the second game after Caruana ran out of time.

Fabiano Caruana vs Levon Aronian, Blitz Tie-break Game 2 | Video: ChessBase India

Caruana won Armageddon to win the match and advance to the Finals.

A game so intense that even the sponsors applauded - Aronian vs Caruana, Armageddon | Video: ChessBase India

Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian engaged in a conversation

Alireza Firouzja drew against Ding Liren to win the match | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

D Gukesh won the must-win second game against Vincent Keymer to force Rapid tie-breaks.

The Comeback Kid - Guki, Keymer vs Gukesh, Game 2 | Video: ChessBase India

Gukesh scored another emphatic victory in the first Rapid tie-break game. In the second tie-break, Gukesh managed to draw a difficult game to win the match. He will face Firouzja for the fifth place match.

Why you should never write off Gukesh, Gukesh vs Keymer, Rapid Game 1 - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Gukesh made a great comeback to win the match against Vincent Keymer

Photo Gallery

Levon Aronian and his friend, Fabiano Caruana and Miguel Santos Ruiz having a conversation

Magnus Carlsen at the soundproof confession booth

Tournament initiator - Jan Buettner announcing the starting position number with WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni

Vincent Keymer and Fabiano Caruana discussing before the game

For more Semifinals and 5th-8th place Game 2 and tie-break photos, please click here.

Interview with Miss Angola - Teresa Sara | Video: ChessBase India

Freestyle chess is having a contest about freestyle rap. The prize is signed cards by the players - Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Alireza Firouzja, Ding Liren, Levon Aronian, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, D Gukesh and Vincent Keymer. Check out a few entries


Time: Rapid and Standard

• Round robin: rapid 25 min for the game + 10 sec per move according to A5 of the FIDE laws of chess

• Tiebreak: first direct encounter, second: number of wins, third: Sonneborn-Berger

• Quarter-, semi- and finals: Two games standard 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes rest of the game additional 30 seconds per move


In Case of Tiebreak

1:1 in quarter-, semi-final or final. Tiebreak in the evening:

• two rapid games 15 min for the game + 10 sec per move

• two blitz games 5 min for the game + 2 sec per move

• then one more blitz game until a winner is found

Replay live stream

Replay Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge Semifinals and 5th - 8th place Game 2 and Tie-breaks live commentary by GM Peter Leko, IM Tania Sachdev and GM Niclas Huschenbeth | Video: Freestyle Chess


9th and 10th February: playoffs for starting order - Rapid

11th and 12th February: Quarterfinals - Classical

13th and 14th February: Semifinals - Classical

15th and 16th February: Finals - Classical

Replay Semifinals and 5th - 8th place Game 2 and Tie-break games


Semifinal Game 2

Magnus Carlsen - Nodirbek Abdusattorov: 0.5-0.5

Levon Aronian - Fabiano Caruana: 0-1 (TB: 2-3)

5th - 8th place

Ding Liren - Alireza Firouzja: 0.5-0.5

D Gukesh - Vincent Keymer: 2.5-1.5




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