Today sees the first games of a new Pro Chess League with competitions online by some of the top-rated players in the world, including grandmasters Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Participating in the league are 48 teams from five continents, and divided in to four divisions for the convenience of scheduling games.
The inaugural season will feature 7 weeks of regular play with most games taking place on Wednesdays. Games are to be of the rapid format, meaning time controls of 15 minutes plus a 2 second increment per move. Matches will follow the Scheveningen system—each team will post four players and each player on one team will face each player on the other team—so that even the not-so-highly-ranked members will have an opportunity to play against the top grandmasters.
In fact, every week, teams are required to put up four players with an average FIDE Elo rating under 2500. Also three of the four must be from the team’s local area.
At the end of the regular season, half the teams will proceed on to a single-elimination playoff, the top-four of which will enter a championship match scheduled for March.
This first season of the Pro Chess League carries a prize fund of $50,000. Most of that is to be divided between the winner and runner-up of the championship.
All games will be broadcast live online with commentary at www.chess.com/tv.