20 January 2024

Freestyle Goats Challenge

I admit it; I just can't stop. In my previous post, Sayonara? (December 2023), I wrote,
Now I'm going back into hibernation, although I won't rule out an occasional post if I have something to say about a subject.

The hibernation can wait for now, because an upcoming event deserves to be promoted. From two of the top chess news sources:-

  • 2023-12-01: Freestyle Super Tournament in Germany - Seven top players challenge Magnus Carlsen (chessbase.com; Press Release) • 'From 9 to 16 February 2024, the Weissenhaus Private Nature Luxury Resort on the Baltic Sea in Germany will be the venue for a super tournament in "Freestyle Chess", also known as Chess960. Seven world-class players, including world champion Ding Liren and Vincent Keymer, will challenge the G.O.A.T (Greatest of all Times), Magnus Carlsen, in a Chess960 tournament with classical time control.'

  • 2023-12-04: Carlsen, Ding, Caruana In New $200,000 Classical Fischer-Random Event (chess.com; TarjeiJS) • 'Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T Challenge will take place February 9-16 and marks Carlsen's first battle with his successor, World Champion GM Ding Liren, since the Chinese grandmaster took over the throne.'

Freestyle? It's becoming a rite of passage for a new chess960 sponsor : invent a new C960/FRC name for a new tournament. I'll add it to the names at the top of the blog. The more the merrier! From the 'Press Release':-

In addition to Magnus Carlsen (33) and Ding Liren (31), the following six players will compete: Fabiano Caruana (31, USA/Italy, #2 in the world), Levon Aronian (41, USA/Armenia, #4 of all times), Alireza Firouzja (20, France/Iran, #5 in the world), Dommaraju Gukesh (17, India, top world rank #9), Nodirbek Abdusattorov (19, Uzbekistan, world rank #25), and Germany's number one, Vincent Keymer (19, top world rank #18).

Where are GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So? I imagine it's a coincidence that both were threats to Carlsen in high-visibility chess960 matches. But enough nitpicking -- the show must go on!

The official site is Weissenhaus - Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge (freestyle-chess.com). I know that I'll be coming out of hibernation to spectate.