Magnus Carlsen was first at the Lindores Abbey Stars in Newburgh, Scotland, last weekend, for his sixth tournament victory in a row — but it was a struggle. The world champion won only one game and drew the other five, with worse positions in three, to finish half a point ahead of China’s world No3 Ding Liren and Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, with India’s legend Vishy Anand last on 2/6.

Carlsen actually lost rating points on the official one-hour rapid list rather than setting a new record, as had been hoped. The games were played in the Lindores distillery itself, where Carlsen complained of feeling cold, and a special heater had to be provided.

Otherwise the event was a clear success, thanks to local hospitality and fine facilities for a full house of spectators and the online audience too. It was the strongest tournament ever held in Scotland, staged just a few miles away from Dundee, where the first world champion Wilhelm Steinitz played in 1867, and will be a boost to the game.

Carlsen’s first prize is a barrel of whisky, maturing in three years.


White (to move) has his full army of 16 men, while Black has only a king and bishop-but Black threatens instant checkmate by Bxc7. What is the result? The answer to the puzzle is just a single line of play, with several surprise moves to test your imagination.

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