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Magnus Carlsen wins the inaugural Weissenhaus Freestyle G.O.A.T. Challenge

by Shahid Ahmed - 17/02/2024

Magnus Carlsen (NOR) defeated Fabiano Caruana (USA) in the second game of the Finals to win WEISSENHAUS Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge. After losing to D Gukesh, Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB) in the Playoff Rapid, the world no.1 suffered his sole Classical time control loss against Alireza Firouzja (FRA). However, he changed his gear and drove straight towards the finish line without any speed bumps. Levon Aronian (USA) finished third by defeating Abdusattorov. Firouzja won his match versus Gukesh to finish fourth. The top five finishers have qualified to the next G.O.A.T. Challenge. The total prize fund was US$ 200000. The top three prizes were US$ 60000, $40000, $30000 each. Photos: Amruta Mokal

Top five qualify to the next G.O.A.T. Challenge

"First of all, thank to Jan, Holly and everybody. This tournament has been a dream come true for me. I would have said that regardless of how the tournament had gone but I felt that this whole tournament was a joy to play. I think all the players really enjoyed this format and we will be back. Just joy from start to finish and I cannot wait for the next." - Magnus Carlsen at the closing ceremony. 

Magnus Carlsen is the champion of the inaugural Weissenhaus Freestyle Chess Challenge
Magnus Carlsen wins US$60,000 | Closing Ceremony of Weissenhaus Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge 2024 | Video: ChessBase India

Carlsen - Caruana: 1-0

Magnus Carlsen started the game with 1.g4 and 2.0-0-0. He made his intentions clear early in the game that he wants to finish things off in Classical time control. The world no.1 pushed five of his pawns from d to h-file to the fourth rank in the first ten moves and got himself a clear advantage by move no.15.

Position after 22.a4

White pushed his sixth pawn 22.a4 to the fourth rank. 22...Nxc5 23.dxc5 d4 would have kept the game going. However, 22...Nxc3 23.bxc3 fxg4 24.Rxf8 Qxf8 25.Qxc7+ Kxc7 26.Nxe6+ Kd6 27.Nxf8 Rxf8 28.h6 ended things in a hurry.

The reason why he is called the G.O.A.T - Magnus Carlsen vs Fabiano Caruana, Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

A determined Magnus Carlsen is very difficult to overcome

Magnus' good friend David Howell tweeted on the former's triumph

Aronian - Abdusattorov

Position after 30...Rh1

In an already winning position, Levon Aronian found a nice finish 31. Rxe4+ fxe4 32.Qxe4+ Ne5 33.Qxh1 Bb4+ 34.Kc2 Qxh1 35.c8Q and White won the game in the next two moves.

Levon Aronian won the match against Nodirbek Abdusattorov to finish third

The Artist - Levon Aronian posted a beautiful tweet

Alireza Firouzja drew against D Gukesh to finish fifth

Vincent Keymer defeated Ding Liren once again to finish seventh

Photo Gallery

Fabiano Caruana, Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Vincent Keymer discussing before the last game of the Finals

Ding Liren takes a quick look of Gukesh and Firouzja's game

Players at the closing ceremony

Magnus Carlsen delivers his speech

Magnus glances at his prize

Magnus Carlsen with the participants, tournament initiator - Jan Buettner and his better half Holly Hock

For more Finals and 5th-8th place Game 2 and Prize distribution ceremony photos, please click at the respective links.

Video Gallery

That Ding Liren smile we have all been waiting for | Video: ChessBase India
Levon Aronian teaches some vital opening tricks of Chess960 | Video: ChessBase India
"I am extremely tired" - Nodirbek Abdusattorov finished 4th, qualifies to the next Freestyle tour | Video: ChessBase India
"Magnus Carlsen and Freestyle Chess is coming to India" - Jan Buettner | Video: ChessBase India
World's tallest Grandmaster and his story with Vishy Anand - Sebastian Siebrecht | Video: ChessBase India


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 Finals and 3rd - 8th place Game 2 live commentary by GM Peter Leko, IM Tania Sachdev and GM Niclas Huschenbeth - Part 1 | Video: Freestyle Chess
Replay Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge Finals and 3rd - 8th place Game 2 live commentary by GM Peter Leko, IM Tania Sachdev and GM Niclas Huschenbeth - Part 2 | Video: Freestyle Chess
Replay Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge - Closing Ceremony live stream | 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 Finals and 3rd - 8th place Game 2


Final Game 2

Magnus Carlsen - Fabiano Caruana: 1-0

3rd - 4th place

Levon Aronian - Nodirbek Abdusattorov: 1-0

5th - 6th place

D Gukesh - Alireza Firouzja: 0.5-0.5

7th - 8th place

Ding Liren - Vincent Keymer: 0-1




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