In 2020, the online tournament “The Magnus Carlsen Invitational” was held on the server chess24, to which eight top grandmasters were invited – Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Ting Li-zhen, Alireza Firouzja, Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The event attracted a decent amount of media attention as it was one of the few sports activities during the COVID-19 epidemic and the players split a total of $250,000 in prize money, with $70,000 going to the winner. The event is considered to be the first professional online chess tournament, and all games received expert commentary in nine languages.
The tournament was announced with specific rules applicable to modern times. The first part was played in a classic round-robin format, with players playing head-to-head matches over four rounds with a Fischer clock of 15+10 (15 minutes per game + 10 extra seconds after each move) and not being allowed to offer a draw before the 40th move. The winner of such a match received 3 points, the loser 0, and in the event of a 2:2 tie, the so-called Armageddon was played – a variation on blitz, in which white gets 5 minutes for the whole game and black only 4 minutes; however, a draw would be considered a win for black. The winner of Armageddon gets 2 points, the loser gets 1 point.
After the end of the aforementioned part, the first four players advanced to the final match, which this time was played as a knockout. The time control again consisted of a rapid 15+10. For tied matches there was a 5+3 blitz two-games match, and in case of a draw again, another Armageddon would be played.
The overall winner of the tournament was reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, whose game with Ding Liren I found particularly interesting, as it is pretty rare to see the King’s Gambit at this top level. The game was played in the first part, i.e. with a relatively slower time control of 15+10.