the world champion suffers his second consecutive defeat

“If the government of Uzbekistan gave him a flat when he became world rapid champion, what will he get now?” the Norwegian journalist wondered. Tarjei J. Svensen after the young prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattarov He will defeat the world champion and thus enter the world top 20, at the age of 18. Magnus Carlsen he had not lost two consecutive classical chess games since 2015. On Tuesday he was defeated by the Dutchman Anish Giri and this Thursday he lost with white against the Uzbek, who was not impressed by his rival’s aggressive play.

On move 14, Magnus sacrificed the exchange (gave up a rook for a theoretically less valuable bishop), in exchange for preventing his opponent’s short castling. Abdusattorov, rapid chess world champion in 2021, did not hesitate to accept the gift and chose to castle on the other side, where the king is usually more exposed. The younger player managed to exchange pieces, thus diluting the danger, and returned part of the loot at the right moment, to reach a queen ending with a pawn up.

Not even the machines were betting at that time for anything other than a draw, but Nordirbek managed to gradually improve his position and Carlsen, something unusual for him, hesitated on the ground where it seemed insurmountable, the end of the game. With a pawn and queen against queen, but with the white monarch without access to the conflict zone, the Uzbek avoided the usual barrage of checks in these cases and forced the champion to surrender on move 61, when the surviving pawn was about to to become a second black lady.

It seems incredible, but Carlsen is tenth out of the 14 participants in Wijk aan Zee, with two points from five games. The leader is Abdusattorov, with 4, followed by Giri (the other executioner of number one), with 3.5. Tata Steel is the toughest tournament on the calendar, and the youngsters have smelled blood. If Magnus does not show his usual mental strength, he is going to have a very difficult time in the remainder of the competition, which ends on January 29.

FIDE reveals the mystery

FIDE, on the other hand, has unraveled the mystery of where the next World Championship will be held. Again it will be a country on the other side of the old curtain. Astana (Kazakhstan) will organize the duel between the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi and the chinese Ding Liren, between April 7 to May 1. The throne had been vacated when Carlsen announced that he would no longer defend the crown from him, after several months in which he appeared to attempt a format change. FIDE listened to his proposals, but the Norwegian decided not to fight for the classical chess title anymore.

Argentina was the main alternative, while Mexico and China had also shown interest in hosting the World Cup. Hispanic chess thus loses a golden opportunity. Even Madrid sounded at some point, but the Spanish Federation did not pick up a glove that on the other hand is quite expensive.

The World Cup prize pool will amount to Two millions of euros, with the company Freedom Holding Corp as main sponsor. The great teacher Peter Heine Nielsenone of Carlsen’s assistants, has shown himself very critical with the election, given the alleged irregularities of the company led by Timur Turlovsanctioned in Ukraine.

60% of the two million will go to the hands of the winner, with which even the loser is assured of a fairly juicy reward of 800,000 euros, in a sport that is not as well paid as others.


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