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The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour will return on Feb. 19 with a new format. A prize pool of $1.6 million will be on the line.

According to organizer Play Magnus Group, a series of changes to the rulebook will ensure that every chess game has weight. In the new season, there will be cash bonuses for the rapid games played during the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. This will be in addition to earning three points for a win and one point for a draw during the round-robin stages.

As for the two-day knockout rounds, they will be updated to single matches where the winner takes all.

Meltwater Champions Chess Tour dates
Tournament dates. | Provided by chess24

The hybrid chess part of the tour will consist of players duking it out against each other online from the same location. This aspect of the tour will be rolled out in more events under supervision, according to the announcement.

In terms of the tournament structure, it will have nine events. Each of these events will have separate prize pools, and three of the events will be majors. The chess player who earns the largest prize on the leaderboard at the end of the final event will become the champion.

Returning grandmaster Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, the five-time world champion, will participate in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour to defend his title.

“Always up for a new challenge,” Carlsen said in the announcement post. “Bring it on!”

Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Season 2 begins on Feb. 19
Season 2 begins on Feb. 19. | Provided by chess24

Tour Director Arne Horvei also expressed excitement for the upcoming online tournaments in the announcement. “The Tour goes from strength-to-strength and we are expecting another titanic battle to decide the champion in 2022,” he said.

Horvei added that the upcoming season will have new faces, new rules and a new look.

Fans and supporters can watch the tour on chess24.com. More details about the first tournament will be revealed soon.