“My dream is a Grand Slam of Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenges on five continents”

Jan Henric Buettner shares exciting plans and ideas for the future

Magnus Carlsen was challenged, and he won what he called his “dream tournament.” The world number one rated player was crowned the winner of the inaugural Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge on Friday afternoon at the closing ceremony, held in the playing hall half an hour after the last game had ended. After the players received their prizes, organizer and host Jan Henric Buettner announced big plans for the future.

“This tournament has been a dream come true for me,” Carlsen said after being called on stage and receiving his prize. “I would have said that regardless of how the tournament had gone, but I felt that this whole tournament was a joy to play and I think all the players really, really enjoyed this format and will be happy to be back. So, just a joy to start from start to finish and I can’t wait for the next one.”


Carlsen: “This whole tournament was a joy to play.” Photo: Maria Emelianova.

Carlsen indeed described the general atmosphere among all eight players, who were in good spirits despite not everyone achieving the result they had hoped for. All wearing their specially colored jackets, they seemed quite happy to have been part of this historic first edition in WEISSENHAUS, and the top five is eager to return next year. Because there will be a next year.

“I can now say that we will definitely have another event here in one year from now in February,” Buettner said. “We just have to see about Magnus, he will set the time, like this time, so when it suits, if it’s February again, it’s fine, if it’s another time, it’s also fine. We are ready. We are happy.”

The news was welcomed with a round of applause, but more was to come.

“My dream is a Grand Slam of Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenges on five continents,” Buettner added. “So, five times a year one of these tournaments, with these rules that I apply with five times the prize money. We’re going to five-fold the prize money so that we have at each tournament a million dollar prize money. The winner would take $300,000, the eighth player would get $40,000.”

Buettner and his wife Holly plan to work on these exciting plans starting from coming Monday, when they already scheduled business meetings. It’s not official yet, but who doesn’t like to dream a little (or big)?


Jan Henric Buettner announcing his dream: a freestyle Grand Slam. Photo: Maria Emelianova.

It was also revealed that Hikaru Nakamura, the reigning World Fischer Random Chess Champion, has an “extended invitation,” so the American top GM and streamer will likely join the field in 2025. He had to decline for the first event because he wanted to prepare differently for the upcoming Candidates Tournament.

Starting from the next tournament, only the top four players will qualify for the edition after that. “We make this a real very narrow possibility to participate,” said Buettner. “Again, I make the analogy always like to Formula 1: there are only 20 cars, 20 seats, and so you have to get one seat and you have to prove yourself and you have to stay in it. Otherwise you are replaced by somebody else. We’re gonna do that.”

Who else cannot wait for next year?


By hitting the gong, Carlsen officially closed the tournament. Photo: Maria Emelianova.

Peter Doggers

By Peter Doggers

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