World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen will play in the European Club Cup in Chalkidiki, Greece, from October 12th to October 18th in his final rated tournament before his much-anticipated World Championship Match against American Fabiano Caruana in November. Carlsen will be playing for the Norwegian Club Valerenga Sjakklubb.
The European Club Cup is a team tournament, similar to the Chess Olympiad that just concluded, with each team consisting of six players and two alternate reserves. There will be seven rounds played under the classical time control of 90 minutes for 40 moves, with an additional 30 minutes afterwards for the rest of the game, and a 30-second increment per move. As of this writing, there are more than 60 teams registered to play, with more than 400 total players.
Carlsen will not be the only big-name GM to play at the European Club Cup. He will face tough competition in the likes of Ding Liren, Dmitry Jakovenko, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, David Navara, Peter Svidler, Wang Hao, and Peter Leko, among many other Grandmasters in the field.
Fabiano Caruana, the World Title Challenger for November, showed that he is ready for Carlsen, with a silver-medal winning Olympiad performance last week, playing on the top board for Team USA. Caruana finished the tournament undefeated with a record of four wins (against Viswanathan Anand, Boris Gelfand, Denis Kadric and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov) and six draws. Caruana also increased his overall rating to 2832.3, only 6.7 rating points shy of Carlsen’s 2839.0.
Many people will be following this tournament to see what kind of form Carlsen is in, just weeks away from the most important match of his historic chess career. Stay tuned to ChessHeadlines for updates as the tournament progresses.