Et are exciting days for Magnus Carlsen. First he won the world championship in classical chess, then he indicated that it might have been his last defense of his title, then he went to the more popular variant of rapid chess at the World Cup – and to his annoyance missed the overall victory there.
Because the favored Carlsen lost his world title in rapid chess to the only 17-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorow. The Uzbek duped the prominent competition and, quite surprisingly, prevailed at the tournament in Warsaw. For Carlsen, who again became world champion in classical chess two weeks ago against the Russian Jan Nepomnjaschtschi, it was only enough to finish third on Tuesday evening.
After the scheduled 13 rounds, four players showed 9.5 points, the regulations stipulated that only the two best placed in a jump-off should win the world title among themselves. Thus Carlsen was out of the running, and Abdusattorow ultimately defeated Nepomnyashchi. “It’s a big win, but I’ll play even better,” the teenager from Uzbekistan announced on Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
In the end, Abdusattorow had the best rating of those four tied players. In the event of a tie, the regulations stipulated that the first two would play off. As third place with equal points, top favorite Carlsen was out of the race – and then spoke of “an absolutely idiotic rule”. Rapid chess is played with 15 minutes per player plus ten seconds per move.
World Cup duel only with Firouzja?
Carlsen had won both tournaments again in 2019 and thus held all world titles at the same time for the first time. This is no longer the case. In the women’s category, the Russian Alexandra Kostenjuk won. On Wednesday and Thursday the world championship blitz chess follows in Warsaw with three minutes of basic thinking time plus two seconds per move. The total prize money for all four competitions is one million US dollars.
Carlsen had recently indicated that he would no longer defend his title in classical chess in 2022 – unless he met Alireza Firouzja. “I will probably have to disappoint those who expect me to compete in the next World Cup,” Carlsen said in a podcast interview before Christmas. Firouzja is the youngest climber in chess, in the world rankings of the world association FIDE he is in second place – only Carlsen is better. In addition, the native Iranian is the youngest player to break the Elo rating of 2800.
However, 31-year-old Carlsen emphasized that he did not want to quit chess. He continues to enjoy the game a lot. Carlsen had recently successfully defended his world title. In what ended up being a rather one-sided World Cup duel, he defended his title against his Russian challenger Jan Nepomnjaschtschi. The next title fight is actually planned for spring 2023. Carlsen’s upcoming challenger is set to be determined in late summer or autumn 2022, and Firouzja is one of the candidates. If someone else wins the candidates tournament, it is unlikely that he will play the next World Cup game, Carlsen said in the interview.