2023 PRO Chess League Begins With February 1 Qualifier, Main Event February 14

2023 PRO Chess League Begins With February 1 Qualifier, Main Event February 14


The PRO Chess League (PCL) returns on February 1 with a $110,000 prize fund. Don’t miss your favorite players like GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Hikaru Nakamura—both confirmed!—in action in this long-running team rapid event. The qualifier begins on February 1, the Main Event on February 14, the playoffs on March 28, and the finals will be on May 11-14.

Announced last October, the new season of the PCL is shaping up to be the most entertaining yet, bringing star-studded rosters and a new elimination format into the chess boom. High stakes, great chess, and fun broadcasts and clips are all in store in the first full PCL season since 2020.

Who will Carlsen be playing for in the 2023 PCL season? Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

From 2017-19, the PRO Chess League quickly became the premier team event in online chess with players like Carlsen and Nakamura participating in the very first year, joined later by other stars like world championship challengers GMs Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi. The 2023 edition will continue to feature top grandmasters leading balanced rosters of other top players, bringing in a jam-packed Chess.com calendar for 2023.

15 of the 16 teams with captains from all over the world have been invited out of dozens of applications. Some of your favorite teams from PCL’s past are returning like the Gotham Knights, the ChessBrahs, the Indian Yogis, and the St. Louis Arch Bishops. 

Hikaru himself is playing for the Knights, along with GMs Le Quang Liem and Vladimir Fedoseev. Caruana returns this year as the Arch Bishops’ top player.

2023 PRO Chess League Gotham Knights Hikaru Nakamura

Other exciting teams include the Shanghai Tigers featuring women’s world champion GM Ju Wenjun and super GM Wei Yi. Commentator extraordinaire GM Daniel Naroditsky will be playing for the Charlotte Cobras, as well as eight-time U.S. women’s champion GM Irina Krush. And FM James Canty III captains the Garden State Passers, joined by fellow streaming star GM Baadur Jobava as well as super-GM Sam Sevian.

As for the 16th team? The Qualifier from February 1-2 will decide! Players will individually contest a nine-round Swiss tournament, and the four teams with the highest cumulative scores will play a team knockout tournament to determine the final team for the main event. Click this link to apply for the qualifiers.

After that, the Main Event begins and will run for five weeks. The stakes will be significant from the get-go as two teams will be eliminated as early as week three. By the end of five weeks, eight teams will be eliminated, and eight will move on to the playoffs.

Round Dates Time (PT) Time (CET)
Qualifier Week Feb 1-2 8:00 AM 17:00
Week 1 Feb 14-17 7:30 AM 16:30
Week 2 Feb 21-24 7:30 AM 16:30
Week 3 Feb 28-Mar 3 7:30 AM 16:30
Week 4 Mar 8-10 7:30 AM 16:30
Week 5 Mar 16-17 7:30 AM 16:30
Arena Royale Mar 24 8:00 AM 17:00
Playoffs – QFs Mar 28-31 7:30 AM 16:30
Finals May 11-14 TBD TBD

Teams will be competitively balanced by rating, and women and juniors will be represented on all squads. Whoever your favorite team or player is, fans will have someone to root for.

The playoffs will involve all-play-all matches of 16 games total and after the online quarterfinals, the semis and the finals will be played in May at a location to be determined.

Over $100,000 of the prize fund will be awarded for the Main Event, distributed as follows:

Place Prize
1st $25,000
2nd $15,000
3rd $10,000
4th $7,500
Eliminated in Quarterfinals $5,000
Eliminated in Week 5 $4,000
Eliminated in Week 4 $3,000
Eliminated in Week 3 $2,000

Arena Royale also returns this season on March 24. Every player on the PCL roster from both active and eliminated teams will be able to participate in this blitz event.

Full rules and regulations here.

Who are you most excited to see in action in the 2023 PRO Chess League? Let us know in the comments!


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