Colin McGourty

4 months

Carlsen faces Duda & Wojtaszek as Polish GCT begins

Wesley So and Magnus Carlsen

Wesley So takes on Magnus Carlsen on Day 1 | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

Magnus Carlsen will play Poland’s Radek Wojtaszek and Jan-Krzysztof Duda, as well as Wesley So, as the Superbet Rapid and Blitz Poland starts Sunday, May 21st in Warsaw. The much-anticipated clash between the old world champion and the new, Ding Liren, has been postponed, since Ding understandably pleaded exhaustion and was replaced by Levon Aronian.

The 10-player Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland is the 2nd event on the 2023 Grand Chess Tour and follows the familiar pattern of three days of rapid chess (25+10), where the players face each other once, and then two days of blitz (5+2) where the players face each other twice. The pairings are out:

Watch all the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland games on chess24!

The event in the Polish capital of Warsaw has been heavily promoted, with posters at bus and tram stops around the city.

On the day of the opening ceremony an event was staged next to a shopping centre by the main train station, at the very heart of the city.

Giant chessboard

Speed chess gets tougher with larger-than-life pieces | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

Palace of Culture

The Palace of Culture and Science is Warsaw's most recognisable modern building | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

The players appeared for a drawing of lots and a simultaneous exhibition.

Players and pawns

Everyone gets a pawn! | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

Magnus Carlsen simul

A chance to play the world no. 1 | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

There were strong players on both sides of the board.

One question that had been delicately raised by Anish Giri was about haircuts.

But as we've seen, Magnus' hair has only grown and grown. The good news, however, is that he's got no intention of quitting chess for poker or anything else.

He commented:

I’ve played some poker tournaments recently. I have no intentions whatsoever of pursuing that, it’s just for fun, and I’m not very good at it, but I like it. In terms of the world chess championship, I’ve no plans of competing in those events in the near future, but I don’t rule it out either. In terms of future plans, I love playing chess and I’ll continue to do that, starting tomorrow!

Magnus is one of five wildcards in action, and there won’t be long for Polish fans to wait to see him take on the best local players, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radek Wojtaszek.

It’s also curious that Magnus takes on three Romanian players on the final day, though Kirill Shevchenko (from Ukraine) and Richard Rapport (from Hungary) have changed federation because of generous offers to support their careers.

Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian replaces Ding Liren in Warsaw | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

This will be the first tournament Magnus Carlsen plays after giving up the world championship title, and originally we were set to get to see three games between Magnus and the newly crowned champion Ding Liren. Understandably, however, Ding wanted a break after following the match with a tough event in Bucharest, and that gave a chance to Levon Aronian, who for the first time since 2015 is not a Tour regular.

The Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland starts at 14:15 CEST (8:15am ET, 17:45 IST) will be live here on chess24. 

That’s not all the chess action we’ve got to look forward to, with Hikaru Nakamura, Alireza Firouzja, Fabiano Caruana and Nodirbek Abdusattorov the clear favourites when the ChessKid Cup, the 3rd event on the $2 million Champions Chess Tour, starts on Monday at 17:00 CEST.

Once again there are three double-elimination divisions and you can watch all the action live here on chess24!


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