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Chess: Magnus Carlsen in Olympiad motion as world No 1 targets document score

Magnus Carlsen, newly retired from world title matches, is in Chennai this weekend for Friday’s opening spherical of the 186-nation Olympiad, the place, resulting from Carlsen’s elevated score, Norway are the No 3 seeds behind the US and India.

Spherical one Olympiad pairings (chosen): Angola v USA, India v Zimbabwe, Lebanon v Norway, Spain v Wales, England v Cyprus. Girls: Tajikistan v India, Ukraine v South Africa, Iraq v Georgia, Libya v England. For full pairings, view

The five-times champion has underperformed in earlier Olympiads, and India, with 4 quick rising teenage grandmasters, appear extra doubtless bronze medallists. Video games are reside and free to observe on-line from 10.30am each day. Carlsen will goal for the person high board gold and a lift to his new ambition of a world document 2900 score.

Earlier, Carlsen gained six blitz video games in a row on the Zagreb leg of the US-backed Grand Tour, his first occasion since his announcement that he wouldn’t defend his crown in 2023. His surge was checked on the ultimate day when he misplaced his final two, together with one to Alireza Firouzja, the 19-year-old who he has recognized as a future rival. After going clear, Carlsen ended up with a 22.5/36 whole and edged first prize by half some extent.

As ever, his feedback had been goal and self-critical: “I felt my play was fairly shaky all through many of the day, however I gained a bunch of those very nervy time-trouble duels the place no one actually knew what was happening”. The Norwegian, 31, holds the Tour document of 27/36 factors, achieved at Kolkata 2019, together with a number of different excessive totals.

Carlsen’s chess future remains to be unclear. His plan after giving up his crown is to goal for a document 2900 score, a stratospheric degree which he has twice missed by fewer than 20 factors. If, freed of the drudgery of match prep, he might now unleash his full inventive powers and obtain the chess Everest inside a yr or two, that might absolutely cement his standing because the clear all-time No 1 forward of Garry Kasparov.

In actuality, the technical and private obstacles are vital. The net fast/blitz Tour is a significant diversion of his power from over-the-board classical chess. For 2900, he wants what he has been lacking not too long ago, constant 75% totals and sustained profitable runs towards 2790 opponents. The classical calendar is smaller than it was, and two of what was his greatest occasions, Shamkir and the Grenke Basic, have ceased. His rankings chart for the previous decade is a 2850 plateau, with peaks and dips 25 factors or so both aspect.

Way back, Alexander Alekhine dominated his rivals in 1930-31, Bobby Fischer crushed them in 1970-71, and Garry Kasparov reached his peak of 2851 in 1999. In 1999-2002, Kasparov performed 10 classical tremendous tournaments, gained 9 of them, tied first within the different, and misplaced as soon as in 115 video games. These distinctive performances had been all achieved earlier than the present period of super-computers and of opening prep deep into the center recreation, so 2900 for Carlsen might legitimately be claimed as a contemporary equal at a better, extra subtle degree.

The query is whether or not, after attaining a lot, his ambition nonetheless actually burns vivid. A decade in the past, in his early 20s, he was usually requested how lengthy he would proceed, and his reply was to the impact that he wouldn’t be like Kasparov or Anatoly Karpov, who continued to hunt success of their 40s. If his new try at 2900 stalls, then steadily winding down and enjoying extra poker and pedal tennis could begin to appear enticing.

Carlsen is well-known to want a world championship format the place fast, blitz, and even one-minute bullet play an element, with the goal to seek out the most effective all-round competitor quite than the most effective at sluggish classical chess.

Requested in an interview this week if he had considered coming again to the world championship cycle and enjoying the Candidates once more, Carlsen stated: “I’ve by no means dominated out a return sooner or later. If some modifications are made to the world championship, then something can occur.”

Again on the Olympiad, England are seeded tenth, and hope for a top-six end. A number of of the crew are in good present kind, and the current observe document is promising: fifth at Baku 2018, the final Olympiad earlier than the pandemic, second to Russia within the 2019 World groups, and gold on the current World 50+ and 65+ groups.

Within the absence of China and Russia, the 162-team ladies’s Olympiad seems to be shut between India, Ukraine and Georgia. England, led by the favored commentator Jovanka Houska, are seeded twenty first, and can hope for a marker for future years when present ECF insurance policies to encourage extra woman gamers ought to bear fruit. She Performs to Win supplies free on-line teaching for woman newcomers.

Shreyas Royal, 13, scored his greatest consequence but on the Sparkassen Open in Dortmund. The London teen tied for third with 7/9 amongst 185 gamers, defeating a GM by a fierce assault.

3826 1…Qxg1+! 2 Bxg1 Bg2 mate.

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