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While Magnus Carlsen has problems in slow classical chess, as shown by his twelve draws against Fabiano Caruana, he remains supreme in rapid (15 minutes per player per game) and blitz (five minutes).
Success seemed distant when Carlsen made a horrific start in the world rapid at St Petersburg, He lost on time in round one, startled his round two opponent with the beginner’s move 1 e4 e5 2 Qh5?! then, worse, got his queen trapped. 0/2!
He fought back over the remaining 13 rounds and tied for second behind the new Russian talent Daniil Dubov, 22.
In the blitz, which he also won at Riyadh in 2017, Carlsen showed his real power as he won unbeaten with 13 wins and 8 draws despite a challenge from Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda.
If, as widely predicted, time limits for the classical world championship are speeded up before Carlsen’s next title defence in 2020, it can only benefit the Norwegian, a legend whose every move is broadcast live on state television.
Decades ago when long games were adjourned, the English grandmaster Stuart Conquest sealed his next white move, then went off to dinner without analysing the position. His opponent, needing a win, decided to go hungry and spent two hours seeking a way for his rook, two knights and pawn to defeat White’s queen and bishop.
When the game was resumed, it lasted only two moves on each side including White’s sealed move. Can you explain?
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