It’s the moment the chess world has been holding its breath for—Magnus Carlsen‘s last major outing as world champion. And it will come at the 2023 Chessable Masters.
Chess.com’s $2 million Champions Chess Tour will return with the largest-ever edition of the tournament and Carlsen topping the bill on April 4. The event runs until April 7—the day the world championship is due to start in Astana, Kazakhstan.
At stake will be $235,000, a spot in the Tour Finals at stake and a final chance to beat Carlsen as world champion. For Carlsen, it could be his final win as world champion. The 32-year-old Norwegian is due to relinquish his title when a successor is found.
The Chessable Masters will mark the end of an era for Carlsen, who has held the title for a decade. One of China’s GM Ding Liren, the current Chessable Masters champion, and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, of Russia, will succeed Norway’s chess hero before May 1, when the 14-round world championship match must end.
Three top U.S. stars, GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, and Fabiano Caruana, join Carlsen in the Chessable Masters line-up having already qualified for the knockout stage, following strong performances in last month’s Airthings Masters.
As for the rest of the roster, open qualification has already been underway before the Play-In on March 13, the last chance to make it to the Chessable Masters. After that, 56 players will be split into three divisions for the launch of the tournament itself.
Like in Tour’s first event, the winner of Division 1 will receive $30,000. The Chessable Masters is a massively expanded event from the 2022 edition, which featured 16 players. Ding, China’s world title challenger, defeated India’s GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa in the final last year.
Previous events have been won by So in 2021 and Carlsen, the reigning Tour Champion, in 2020. The Chessable Masters is the second leg of the world’s richest and most prestigious online chess circuit. In total there are six tournaments before the season reaches its climax at the Finals event in December.
The Chessable Masters 2023 will be broadcast live on Chess.com. You can follow the tournament here. Commentary and analysis will be provided from the Champions Chess Tour studio in Oslo, Norway (Carlsen’s home country) by a panel of experts led by GM David Howell, IM Jovanka Houska, GM Robert Hess, and IM Tania Sachdev.
Then it will be time to bid farewell to Carlsen as world champion, and start a new era for chess.