Norway’s world champion Magnus Carlsen, 29, has this month faced the first serious threat of his seven-year reign from a younger generation rival. Carlsen has survived the challenge so far, but his legend has been dented.
Alireza Firouzja, 16, quit his native Iran due to its policy of forbidding games against Israelis. He now plays under the flag of the global chess body Fide.
His speciality is bullet chess, all your moves in just one minute. Carlsen is also strong at bullet, so on April 2 they met in an informal match which the teen won 103.5-90.5.
Next up was the Banter Blitz Cup, where players commentate verbally on their moves during the game. After a tense struggle, Firouzja won that, too, 8.5-7.5.
So this week’s Carlsen Invitational, a $250,000 event where the champion meets his major rivals, was critical for Carlsen, who defeated Firouzja on Monday by 2.5-1.5 despite being caught by a surprise queen sacrifice. They could still meet again if both qualify for the semi-finals. The event continues free and live online daily at 3pm on chess24.com, with matches attracting audiences of 40,000.
Dejan Bojkov v Jura Borisek, Gothenburg 2005. White has an extra queen, but Black threatens instant checkmate by Rh1. Can you save the game for White?
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