Carlsen in the final of the Banter Blitz Cup lost to 16-year-old Iranian Firouzja

In the world of chess, as in all other sports, the season is suspended, and the chess players have gone to self-isolation. However, this does not prevent chess players from playing and keeping fit from home. An Internet chess server Chess24 held the Banter Blitz Cup, an online tournament featuring a number of eminent players such as the current world champion Norwegian Magnus Carlsen. As it was expected, he reached the finals without any problems.


An Iranian 16 years old Alireza Firouzja is the silver medallist at the World Rapid Championship. Before the final match against the Norwegian, he beat his rivals of about the same level as Magnus. And although some of them were superior in rating, the advantage was on his side.

Firouzja also dominated in the online finals, and Carlsen, as the organizers noted in their report, repeatedly scolded himself for mistakes. Ultimately, the game ended with a score of 8.5: 7.5 in favour of Alireza Firouzja.
“No doubt that Alireza is an incredibly talented player,” Carlsen noted after losing. Firouzja became a grandmaster at age 14. He twice participated in Chess Championships and team world championships. He became the champion of his country, and is generally considered one of the most promising chess players in the world.
Magnus leads the ranking of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in classical and rapid chess. However, according to the rules of which he lost to the Iranian, he took second place in blitz.
As the winner of the Banter Blitz Cup, Firouzja will get $ 14,000, which is very significant for him, because the pandemic prevented him from earning a living as a chess player. Carlsen will be awarded $ 9,000 for taking the second place. The tournament’s total prize pool was $ 50,000 and importantly, every chess player received a guaranteed fee.
By the way, there were several Russians among these. Apart from the loser to Carlsen Syugirov, they are Dmitry Gordievsky, Petr Svidler, Grigori Oparin, Alexander Shimanov, Maxim Chigaev, Alexey Dreev and Alexander Galkin.
Carlsen was inspired by the idea of ​​holding his own tournament. The virtual competition organized by the Norwegian starts on 18 April. Invitations were sent to five grandmasters who will play for the right to participate in the finals at the Contenders Tournament (on 26 March, it was suspended due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus in Yekaterinburg) : American Fabiano Caruana, Russian Yan Nepomnyashchiy, Frenchman Maxim Vashye-Lagrava, Chinese Ding Liren and Dutch Anish Giri. In addition, American Hikaru Nakamura, as well as Firouzja, will get a chance to prove themselves.
Over the course of 16 days, the participants of the prestigious event will play a prize fund of $ 250 thousand, of which the winner will get $ 70 thousand. Chess players will play each other in one round, after which the semi-finals and the finals will be held.