A Nimzovich he once blurted out an inelegant phrase after a game: “Why do I have to lose to this idiot?” Raise your hand who hasn’t thought about it at some time. Magnus Carlsenin his quest to reach 2,900 Elo points, started well in the Sinquefield Cup, crushing Nepomniachtchibut in the third round he has been defeated by a semi-unknown 19-year-old grandmaster, Hans Niemann, who broke the Norwegian’s fabulous streak of 53 classical games without losing. The American was frank in the subsequent analysis: «He must have been very demoralized to be losing against an idiot like me. It must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose against me », he said without hesitation.
If anyone thinks Carlsen is easy to beat on the board, they should know that in ‘slow’ games he has only lost seven times in the last five years. It is true that in 2017 he fared worse and was forced to give up half a dozen games. The Norwegian journalist Tarjei J. Svensen provide the data:
Carlsen’s losses in classical chess by year:
— Tarjei J. Svensen (@TarjeiJS) September 5, 2022
Niemann, who is not a fool, was a day laborer in streaming, above all, but a few months ago he decided to focus less on broadcasts and more on his chess. In the ‘postmortem’ of his victory against the world champion he made more interesting comments, according to Chessdom. “I’ve noticed that sometimes when Magnus wants to impose dominance on him, he cracks a small smile. He hasn’t cracked too many smiles today, maybe one or two, and that made me feel really good. He also once said that if he thinks for more than 10 minutes on a move it’s a very bad sign, and he did that a lot in our game. That boosted my confidence.” Once again, the sign language revealed his importance in chess, where few are capable, as was Spasskyof losing a piece and putting on the face of having made a profound sacrifice.
Provisional leader in St. Louis
Niemann enters the select club of grandmasters who have ever beaten Carlsen. Although he is not yet a star, he is also no stranger and does not hide his aspirations. His victory also helped him to become the leader in the San Luis tournament and to overcome the barrier of 2700 Elo points, which he could lose this Monday. play against Alireza Firouzjaone of the few chess players born in this century who are ahead of him in the world ranking, and who seems recovered from his poor performance in the Candidates Tournament.
The American also welcomed the opportunity to play in the Sinquefield Cup. He received the invitation after the low of Richard Rapport and proved once again that the elite chess circuit may be too inbred a world. “If I didn’t have this opportunity, who knows how long it would take me to prove that I can beat the best players,” he declared.
In this sense, the great teacher and writer Jacob Aagaard suggested some reform in the circuit, to give more opportunities to “hungry youngsters”, who simply “are not allowed to play against the best”.
Following the Sinquefield Cup after the Olympiad, Abu Dhabi and other recent top tournaments, it is worth considering if the rating system is not ready for some sort of major reform. The “stars” in St Louis are not stronger than the hungry youths. They just don’t play them. pic.twitter.com/W7hkROGGAO
— Jacob Aagaard (@GMJacobAagaard) September 4, 2022
Niemann, born in San Francisco on June 20, 2003, now holds the position number 49 of the world ranking. He acknowledges that he had some luck in his game against Carlsen, as the Norwegian chose a very strange opening line to surprise him, which he had happened to look at earlier that day. At the very least, he demonstrated great intuition.
Target: world champion
Niemann now just wants to work hard and get better every day. “Even if he doesn’t win this tournament, what else does he give. The goal is to win tournaments, but the end is to improve and become world champion. For me it’s kind of black and white. I see a lot of players who have been in the top ten for a long time in their career and they are happy. But for me, the top 10 doesn’t mean much. I think this effort to be the best is a motivation. Of course, there is a long way to go.”
The complete interview with Alejandro Ramírez can be seen here.