Charity Cup Day 1: Le, Niemann lead as Ding beats Carlsen

GM Le Quang Liem and GM Hans Niemann, underdogs for overall victory, share the lead after the first day of the Charity Cup. In what is the second leg of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2022, World Champion Magnus Carlsen suffered an early loss to GM Ding Liren. The event will continue on Sunday, March 20 at 9:00 a.m. PT / 6:00 p.m. CET.

Both Le and Niemann picked up three excellent wins and a draw to start the 16-man preliminaries. After four days, only half of the field will advance to the knockout stage of the tournament which has a total prize pool of $150,000. In the first four days, a win earns $750 while a draw earns both players $250.

Le’s win over GM Praggnanandhaa R. in the second round was an exciting affair as the young Indian GM lost a trade but got a pawn in return and could create two setters for White. A tricky check on move 58 would have been good for a draw:

Niemann started with a draw but went on to win three games in a row. One was a win with the black pieces over Ding, where the American grandmaster showed himself above the latest English opening theory, but the game was upside down:

Nieman said: “With the experience of the first [event], I really didn’t feel nervous at all. When I’m relaxed, good things happen.”

Ding rebounded strongly in the final round of the day when he beat Carlsen, who had previously scored two wins and a draw. The Chinese GM beat the world champion in the opener, won a trade, then returned it for a different advantage, and converted convincingly:

Ding Liren. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The preliminaries have a 3-1-0 scoring system, where winning players get three points; shooting players, one; and the losers, zero. This leads to the next ranking after the first day.

Charity Cup | Ranking of the 1st day

# fed name Rating Perf Points
1 Niemann, Hans Moke 2624 3034 ten
2 Le, Quang Liem 2723 2989 ten
3 Ding, Liren 2752 2906 9
4 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2723 2856 8
5 Van Forest, Jordan 2714 2853 8
6 Carlsen, Magnus 2854 2803 7
7 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2720 2801 6
8 Praggnanandhaa, R. 2664 2669 5
9 Report, Richard 2762 2680 5
ten Hansen, Eric 2669 2644 4
11 Anton Guijarro, David 2694 2493 3
12 Navara, David 2700 2517 2
13 Ju, Wen Jun 2560 2478 2
14 Lei, Tingjie 2535 2491 2
15 Harikrishna, Pentala 2716 2577 2
16 Jones, Gawain 2672 2336 1

This second stage of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is dedicated to raising funds for the victims of the war in Ukraine. A few days before the start of the event, Play Magnus Group decided to use it to raise funds for UNICEF’s lifesaving support for children and their families. On the first day, over $17,000 was raised.

Another decision of Play Magnus is not to have Russian players in the event, which the world champion himself, shareholder of the company, tweeted about: “Personally, I would have liked to see all the qualified participants invited to the tournament, because it would have given the Russians a chance to take a brave stand and preserve the sporting integrity of the tournament.”

All Games Day 1

The Champions Chess Tour 2022 Charity Cup Masters runs from March 19-27 on chess24. The preliminary phase is a rapid round robin (15+10) with 16 players. The top eight players qualify for a knockout which consists of one four-game rapid match during the quarter-finals and semi-finals and two four-match rapid matches during the final. The game switches to blitz (5 + 3) and armageddon (white has five minutes, black has four with no increment) only decides if a knockout match ends in a tie. The total prize money for the event is $150,000, with $750 for each win and $250 for each draw in the preliminaries.

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