Magnus Carlsen is on fire, and is on the way to being recognised as the greatest of all world champions. The Norwegian, 28, notched up his eighth consecutive tournament victory at Zagreb, which with nine of the global top 10 competing was itself on a par with historic events like Avro 1938 and Linares 1994.
Carlsen scored 8/11, stretched his unbeaten run in classical chess to 79 games, and equalled his own monthly record of 2882 rating points set five years ago. It could have been better still, for he missed possible winning chances in two of his draws.
Zagreb’s last great chess occasion was in 1970, when Bobby Fischer took the prize during his dazzling run which culminated in the American’s victory over Boris Spassky at Reykjavik 1972. But Fischer, though supreme in match play, never had a tournament victory of the quality of Carlsen last weekend.
The Sinquefield Cup at Saint Louis in August, brainchild of a billionaire FT reader, will be Carlsen’s next classical tournament. His targets will be his daily rating record of 2889 and then a round 2900, the Everest for champions which appropriately resembles the actual mountain’s 29.000-plus feet.
This queen endgame from Poland looks a potential marathon, as White’s g6 pawn is blocked and Black threatens queen checks. So how did White (to play) gain a winning position in just two moves?
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