Magnus Carlsen’s new $1.5m year-long Champions Tour starts next weekend when 15 elite grandmasters, among them China’s world No3 Ding Liren and Russia’s 2016 title challenger Sergey Karjakin, compete in the Skilling Open which runs to the end of the month.

The Tour will have 10 tournaments, leading up to its final in September 2021. The huge prize fund is assured due to last month’s successful flotation of Play Magnus, an Oslo-listed company currently valued at about $120m, incorporating the Play Magnus app, the Chessable learning system and the Chess24 website which provides free viewing of major chess events.

The tour will receive live coverage in four languages on the Eurosport app, as well as on the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. This is a significant step forward, but for older British chess fans who can recall the popular BBC Master Game programmes of the 1970s, it may not be enough. 

The then world champion Anatoly Karpov and other top grandmasters competed against a new generation of UK stars led by Tony Miles and Nigel Short, and the dedicated weekly programmes provided compulsive viewing. It was all sparked by the 1972 Bobby Fischer v Boris Spassky match, which even now in the age of Carlsen remains an enduring landmark.

Puzzle 2393

Bu Xiangzhi v Gawain Jones, Hengshui 2019. How did the Yorkshire grandmaster (Black, to move) defeat an opponent who has scored three wins against Magnus Carlsen?

Click here for solution

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