Online chess platform Chess.com has announced a record $2m (~£1.6m) prize pool for its upcoming 2023 Champions Chess Tour.
The tour is set to commence on February 3rd with a Play-in for the Airthings Masters, which has a prize pool of $235,000 (~£190,600). The total prize fund is the highest payout of any annual circuit in chess history.
The revamped 2023 Champions Chess Tour follows Chess.com’s acquisition of Play Magnus Group and features format elements from prior seasons of the Champions Chess Tour as well as top events from Chess.com.
The tour comprises six tournaments, with playoffs, before an eight-player finals event in December. Reigning two-time champion and world number one Magnus Carlson will defend his title at the event.
He faces other well-known chess personalities such as rival grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, known to the Twitch community as ‘GMHikaru‘ as well as 2022 Chess.com Global Championship winner Wesley So.
Chess.com remains the largest chess platform in the world and has signed global partnerships with brands like Meltwater, PUMA, Airthings and Mastercard to fuel its tournaments. Norwegian air quality company Airthings will continue its partnership into 2023.
Chess.com has made some changes to the 2023 tour in order to ‘maximise excitement and make every match count’. The new format includes open qualifiers and a play-in, followed by a knockout stage where 56 players compete for prize money and an automatic seeding in the next knockout stage.
Chess.com CEO, Erik Allebest, commented in a press release: “Chess.com will deliver the highest level of coverage we can for the fans, taking in all that was brilliant about both the Global Championship and the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. We cannot wait to share this with the chess community.”
All Champions Tour games will be played on Chess.com. The live broadcast will air on the site itself as well as its Twitch and YouTube channels starting February 3rd.