March 16, 2021 – 13:01 AMT
Aronian announced in late February that he was leaving Armenia to represent the United States, maintaining that the Armenian government had not been honoring its commitment to develop chess in the country.
The tournament is headlined by early leaders GMs Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri, with the former entering the quarterfinals as the top seed with 10.5 points.
The rest of the knockout stage qualifiers are American GMs Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura as well as GMs Alireza Firouzja, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
The Champions Chess Tour’s Magnus Carlsen Invitational runs March 13-21 on chess24. The preliminary phase is a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players advance to a six-day knockout that consists of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advance to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $220,000 with $60,000 for first place.