This is now Magnus Carlsen’s longest drought since he became world champion in 2013. The Norwegian legend failed to finish first for the sixth tournament in a row last weekend, when he was relegated to third place in the $200,000 Invitational named after him.

Most chess fans still view the sequence as just a blip, and irrelevant for when the 30-year-old defends his crown at Dubai starting November 24. Earlier, in September, the $1.5m Meltwater Tour has its final, and Carlsen will be there even if he fails to win any of the 10 preliminary events.

These tournaments, culminating in the Tour final and the world championship, should give a boost to his Play Magnus Group, whose Admission Document published last year noted that the 2020 Tour final, in which Carlsen defeated Hikaru Nakamura, had a peak online audience of 194,000.

Anish Giri, 27, who defeated the Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi last weekend, has been dogged by a reputation for excessive draws, and his break-through has come at a timely moment. He was close to winning at Wijk in January, and will be only a point behind the leaders when the Covid-halted world title candidates resumes on April 19 in Ekaterinburg. 

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Artsiom Siniauski v Mikhail Antipov, European championship, Minsk 2017. Black (to move) is a pawn down, but is attacking. What was his winning move? (Spoiler: 1...Qb1+ 2 Qf1 Rh1+ doesn’t work because White can take the h1 rook with the e4 bishop).

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