Magnus Carlsen includes this weekend on another victory as Norway’s world champion at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee is half a point ahead with three rounds left. The 31-year-old has previously won the “chess Wimbledon” seven times.
Carlsen, 31, started slowly but was at his best in the middle rounds, especially as he used his active towers to defeat world number 7 Shak Mamedyarov when the pair equal for the lead. The number one attributed his strong form to the use of preparation left over from his world title defense last month in Dubai.
However, even these impressive results showed what a difficult undertaking Carlsen set himself when he declared that his next chess ambition was to set an all-time record rating of 2900. He started with Ward with 2965, an unbeaten 7/10 with three rounds to go, while his rating up to. . . 2966
After two happy moments for the Dutchman, Anish Giri is only half a point behind Carlsen. First, Fabiano Caruana extinguished in a winning position, then Danill Dubov failed his round seven match. One of the Russian’s assistants caught Covid, and so the organizers asked Dubov to wear a mask pending his test result, but he refused on principle because it was not specifically mentioned in his contract. The test was negative.
District’s last three rounds can be viewed for free and live online (13:00 GMT starts Friday and Saturday, 11:00 Sunday). For this occasion I recommend looking further skaak.comwhich has close-ups of the playroom.
The annual Gibraltar Open is one of Europe’s strongest and most popular events, but due to Covid and a change of venue, its format has been changed for 2022. Gibraltar organizers have the new idea of a Battle of the Generations between 10-player teams of men and women, which are equally similar in terms of average age and Fide international rating.
Both teams average about 2400, international masters standard. The men include Joe Gallagher, a former British champion who now represents Switzerland, and Ravi Haria, the rising star of English chess, but some of their colleagues are less well known. The women count almost all in the world top 50, and include two former world champions. Yet out of the two power stations of women’s chess, there are no Chinese players and only one Russian.
The prize money is £ 100,000, to split 75-25 rather than the 60-40 that is normal in the world championship. It will probably be a lifetime’s best chess pay day for some of the lesser known contestants, so a highly competitive match is assured. There was a shock at the beginning when the women’s team won rounds one and two (out of 10) with a wide margin of 6.5-3.5, but then the men’s team hit back in round three with a 7-3 score, despite the black pieces. in every game.
Round one in action here on flickr.
Levon Aronian v Loek van Wely, Tata Steel Wijk 2014. Puzzle-find Swart’s winning move. Black is two pawns down, while White’s queen and tower are fishing for Qg8 mate, but Aronian could not spot a hidden tactic.
click here for solution