Carlsen and Nakamura Tie For 1st in the Champions Chess 960 Showdown

Susan Polgar

For Immediate Release

Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura Tie For First in the Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX Tournament

World Champion and Newly Signed Esport Grandmaster Take Home $31,250 Respectively

SAINT LOUIS, September 13, 2020 -  The final day of Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX concluded with World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen and recently signed TSM Esports GM Hikaru Nakamura sharing the win and splitting the first and second place total prize of $62,500. Carlsen and Nakamura will each take home $31,250. This tournament featured three exciting days of online chess playing by the world’s best in Chess960 or Fischer Random chess. 

Over the last few days there were many exciting games including day 1’s win by legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov over 17-year old Alireza Firouzja. Kasparov went on to draw in his second game against World Champion Magnus Carlsen, which was the first official time these two had faced off since their encounter in the Reykjavik Rapid tournament in 2004. Day 2 was filled with more action and when the smoke cleared, Levon Aronian emerged as the leader of the tournament. He won all three of his games and sat half a point ahead of Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So. As day 3 unfolded, Aronian slipped in the rankings, allowing World Champion Magnus Carlsen and reigning U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura to overtake the field. 

“The Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX is always such a treat for chess fans watching from around the globe,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “Historically this event has been played as a series of exhibition matches, so this year’s tournament format added an extra level of excitement for viewers. To have legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov return to the board this year certainly made for an unforgettable three days.” 

“Like all 960 positions it seems like when you get an advantage early on it’s there for one or two moves and if you miss it, it takes its toll on you psychologically,” said Hikaru Nakamura. “I felt that I kept it together and ultimately was able to draw and tie for first with Magnus. The two of us have played against each other regularly over the past few months in these major tournaments online which I believe speaks to the consistency of our chess play.” 

“I feel like I played a decent positional game up to a certain point, right towards the end which was an unfortunate oversight. I am very impressed by how Hikaru came back today, he keeps finding ways to beat his opponents in unique ways,” said Magnus Carlsen. “I am optimistic about my play in the upcoming Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz which begins next week.” 

Daily round recaps from Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX can be found online at and the video highlights and full commentary can be watched on the Saint Louis Chess Club's Youtube and channels.

About Chess960

Chess960 or Fischer Random. Chess960 is a variant of chess created by Bobby Fischer in the late 1990s in which the pieces on the home rank are randomized, with 960 representing the number of possible starting positions. Players did not know the order of the home rank pieces until they arrived before the start of each round.