Magnus Carlsen defeats Wesley So on third attempt amid copycat scolding | Magnus carlsen
Magnus Carlsen’s uneven progress through the Meltwater Champions Tour online, two tournament wins in six attempts, still leaves the world champion on pole for the 10-man Tour final on the chessboard in San Francisco in September.
It has been suggested that the 30-year-old lacks focus at times, and he admitted he didn’t feel well on the penultimate day of last weekend’s FTX Crypto Cup, but the Norwegian still wins his share of impressive matches. His hard fight victory over Wesley So was important because the American champion had beaten Carlsen in two previous finals and became the main rival of the world No.1 on the Tour.
One of Carlsen’s eccentricities has been his use of 1 b2-b4, the Pole / Sokolsky / orangutan discussed in last week’s column and a rare visitor to elite chess. Carlsen took him out again in a critical game against So, but got nothing from the opener, then went horribly wrong in a level position.
Carlsen’s World Championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi finished third, and the duo will face each other twice in Stavanger in September ahead of their 14-game, € 2.2m title streak in Dubai. San Francisco and Stavanger are both scheduled just two months away from Carlsen’s global defense, which some former champions would have considered too short an interval for preparation.
Complaints multiply about the Tour players’ willingness to halve quickly by using copy sequences, which often consist of an early triple repetition of position or vacuuming most pieces from the board. The Tour’s event structure, with all-play-all preliminaries qualifying the top eight for the knockout stage, encourages a safety-oriented approach.
In the Crypto Cup qualifying rounds, So won his first two games, beat an outclassed tailender, and drew almost everything else in familiar patterns. Hikaru Nakamura and Teimour Radjabov have often been criticized in viewer comments online.
There have been calls for the Tour to ban certain opening sequences, which would be an ineffective remedy as there are plenty of other design lines to choose from. Removing players from the Tour invitation list is the drastic and last resort, but it would weaken the Tour’s claim to feature the best players in the world.
The Covid-19 pandemic is easing in some countries, and the annual Speedboat Tour organized from St Louis, canceled in 2020, resumes this Saturday with a classic all-play-all elite in Bucharest, Romania. No Carlsen or Nepomniachtchi, but a strong squad is led by world number 2 Fabiano Caruana and the rest of the top 10. The game starts at 1pm BST and takes place free to watch live online.
The annual Gibraltar open has been canceled, but its Caleta hotel has just hosted the Women’s Grand Prix which qualified two players among the 2022 female candidates and a possible challenge to China’s Ju Wenjun. The Rock has always made it a key policy to encourage female chess, and its former contestants have included the two best women of all time, Judit Polgar and Hou Yifan.
Zhansaya Abdumalik was the star. The 21-year-old was unbeaten on 8.5 / 11, won top prize with a round to go, scored 2,500 who qualified for the GM title at open level, jumped out of the world top 10 female and received congratulations from the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Abdumalik’s most visual victory came when she refuted the erratic opening play trap his opponent’s queen in 17 moves.
Oddly, Abdumalik was officially only a reserve player for the Grand Prix, so he was not eligible for the qualifying places of the candidates, who went to Indian Humpy Koneru, who stayed on the sidelines after winning two previous tournaments, and to the Russian Kateryna Lagno. The event drew a large online audience from Eastern Europe and Asia, and more than 100,000 spectators watched it on VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook.
The Crypto Cup, Bucharest and Gibraltar are all big events, but a small all-play-all that starts in Budapest on Saturday may turn out to be bigger than any of them.
Abhimanyu Mishra, the 12-year-old American who already has two of the three standards required for the Grandmaster title, goes for his third and final GM standard with a performance rated 2,600 to First Saturday in June in the Hungarian capital.
Mishra’s live odds are 2498, with 2500 needed, so that’s no problem. In his last event, he lost twice early but made a strong recovery and took the lead in the tie-break with 6/9, just one point behind the GM title. His final round victory over the seed is impressive as Black gradually uses his wide cross to create a decisive attack on the white king.
Mishra became the youngest international master in the world at 10 years, nine months and three days, breaking India’s previous Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa record of 17 days. The plan then was to break Sergey Karjakin’s grandmaster age record of 12 years and seven months by as wide a margin as possible as a step towards even higher goals.
Then the pandemic took over, so Mishra hardly played any over-the-board tournaments in 2020. Hence the bold plan to move to Eastern Europe in order to take advantage of the all-round tournament circuit. -play-all from Budapest with guaranteed title. standards, although requiring a high point total, normally 7/9.
Mishra was born on February 5, 2009, so he still has until September 5 to break Karjakin’s record, although his results suggest it will happen much sooner. This is only an incidental goal, a stop on the way to his true ambition to become the youngest player ranked 2,600 and 2,700 by mid-teens. Caruana hit 2,600 at 15 and Carlsen 2,700 at 16, but it’s still a rigid benchmark. Can the boy from Englishtown, New Jersey give birth? The first Saturday, with the pressure, will provide a serious test. Live coverage is expected on major viewing websites.
3726 1..Rxe5! 2 dxe5 Qg4 (attack d1 and g2 therefore forcing the reply) 3 Qf1 Nh3 + 4 Kh1 Qxd1! (Nxf2 + also wins) 5 Qxd1 Nxf2 + 6 Kg1 Nxd1 and White, a downed knight, has resigned.