The Freestyle Chess Challenge, which holds at the prestigious WEISSENHAUS Private Nature Luxury Resort in Germany from the 9th of February till the 16th of February, 2024 began powerfully with the iconic players involved, honoring the challenge. The eligibility for the challenge termed ‘G.O.A.T’ specifically refers to players who has achieved a highest peak ELO Rating of 2882, clarified by Magnus Carlsen, which is out of reach for anyone below the range.
Magnus Carlsen introduced a unique competition format for the challenge which includes a format of Round robin tournament against each player with a Rapid time control of 25 minutes per game + 10 seconds per move, with the pairings for the quarter-finals would result from the ranking in the robin: 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7 e.t.c, as it was stated in the preliminaries. Towards the end of the game, there is to be a standard time control of 90 minutes per 40 moves + 30 minutes per rest+ 30 seconds per move, starting on move 41, all players are to remain in the tournament till it’s over, to mention a few.
The prize fund for the winners is $200,000 and $60,000 for first place.
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Upon the arrival of the esteemed players at the Quarter Finals Day 1 of Freestyle Chess GOAT Challenge, they came in style as some of them came with someone dear to them to grace their performances: GM Ding Liren from China came with his mother, GM Alizera Firouzja from France came with his father, GM Magnus Carlsen from Norway came with his girlfriend, GM Fabiano Caruana from the US came with his second, GM Miguel Santos Ruiz, GM Levon Aronian also from the US came with his friend, but GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov from Uzbekistan came all alone.
Other players are GM Dommaraju Gukesh from India and GM Vincent Keymer from Germany.
In the game, Vincent Keymer dominated the first day of the preliminary round of the challenge, he defeated Ding Liren, Fabiano (world number 2) and Aronian who lead the field with 3.5 points from 4 games. He was only able to manage a half point against Magnus.
Vincent Keymer was able to notice more than just his own performance after playing with the others, observing that Ding Liren was not at his peak, in the third-round clash between the two of them.
Ding Liren’s moves started worse which resulted in losing all his six games, he had a difficult start even after playing with Magnus Carlsen. He blundered a piece while also playing with Fabiano, affecting his whole game with just a move. Ding’s tournament went from bad to worse, and these mistakes observed by the online watchers resulted in mocking him on the internet, regarding it as “The World Champion shockingly blundered a piece” and the likes. However, he managed to salvage a draw against Alireza Firouzja and finished in last place.
The Weissenhaus chess battleground was said to be like a shark-infested arena where any sign of weakness can incite a feeding frenzy among opponents.
While the 19-year old Nodirbek Abdusattorov from Uzbekistan came first in the round robin tournament, after playing against Magnus. He was the only grandmaster to remain undefeated with a score of 5.5 points. In his words, “Everything went smoothly…a dream performance for me!”
The first (classical) games of the Quarterfinals started on February 11, the world number one (Greatest of all time) Magnus Carlsen was beaten by Alireza Firouzja, and Ding Liren also was outplayed by Nodirbek. Carlsen also lost to Nodirbek in the last round and got frustrated against Fabiano Caruana, but was able to outsmart Ding Liren who is regarded as the World champion, and also managed to play the most satisfying move of the day.
In the Knockout game 1 part, the 19 year old GM Nodirbek beats GM Ding Liren with 1 point, GM Vincent Keymer draws with GM Levon Aronian, GM Fabian Caruana beats GM Gukesh Dommanraju with a point, and GM Alireza Firouzja also outplayed GM Magnus Carlsen with a point.
Ding Liren played on to the bitter end, he made many strong but overly-fast plays in complex positions let him down which has resulted in the increase of Ding’s heart rate that was said to be 122 bpm.
The ongoing game presents an immense, demanding, and formidable challenge for the players. Stay updated till the end of the tournament at Chess.com