At age 58, the legendary Garry Kasparov makes a rare over-the-board cameo comeback this weekend when the $150,000 Zagreb Grand Tour event reaches its climax in Croatia. Kasparov will be playing 18 five-minute blitz games against opponents led by the current Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi, who challenges for the world crown later this year.

Kasparov’s games on Saturday and Sunday, nine each day at 30-minute intervals starting 2pm BST, can be watched live and free with grandmaster commentaries at grandchesstour.org

Kasparov is still the all-time No1 in the eyes of many, among them Norway’s current world champion Magnus Carlsen. who will himself be competing in the $1.9m 206-player World Cup in Sochi next week.

Carlsen travels to the Crimea as the 30-year-old world champion struggles to recover from a bout of uneven form online. It is very rare for him to lose three games in a row, even at online speed chess, but it happened twice last week at the $100,000 Goldmoney Asian Rapid-first in his losing semi-final against world No5 Levon Aronian, then in his third place play-off against China’s world No3 Ding Liren, which Carlsen still won in a speed tie-break.

The No1’s self-prognosis for the World Cup, which he has never won, was unusually guarded: “ In such a big knock-out if you go there with a mindset that anything but a victory is a disappointment you’re setting yourself up to fail. So I won’t be thinking in those terms, more of getting good training and trying to advance as far as possible”.

Carlsen has a bye into round two of the World Cup on Thursday 15 July. UK hopes in Monday’s opening round will rest with 22-year-old Ravi Haria after England’s top grandmasters all turned down a place, preferring to wait until autumn when the Fide Grand Swiss is staged in the Isle of Man.

Puzzle 2426

Colin McNab v Attila Groszpeter, Denmark 1992. Black to move. Black is a piece and pawn down, while White threatens instant mate by Qxg5. How did Black manage to save the game?

Click here for solution


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