Magnus Carlsen won all seven of his matches in the online final of the $210,000 Meltwater Tour last week in San Francisco as the world champion continues to dominate internet events. The fast time limits suit his powerful and resourceful all-round play, his alertness to fleeting opportunities, and his ability to score late-game victories.
If online tournaments were classified as classical chess, his performance in San Francisco would rank above or near the all-time high of 2900 which he narrowly missed twice. Dismissing tiebreakers, Carlsen won 14 games, drew nine and lost only to Vietnamese Le Quang Liem. His 18-move victory over Shak Mamedyarov featured a first g7-g5 move by Black, a move that Carlsen himself used as a surprise but here resulted in the Black queen being trapped on e5.
Contrary to his online superiority, Carlsen’s overall rating peaked in August 2019 when it reached a peak of 2882, exactly equal to a previous peak in 2014. Since then his performance has plateaued, although exalted. a. Early last year, as he gave up on defending his Fide world title, he said his ambition was to hit the 2900 rating he had narrowly missed twice. Embarrassingly, the result is that he will very likely end 2022 with a lower rating than he started.
There will be a new opportunity in 2023, starting with chess Wimbledon at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee, which Carlsen has won eight times from 18 attempts. The event, which runs from January 13-29, will be a major arena for a clash between established GMs in their late 20s or early 30s and the new generation that has risen to prominence at the Chennai Olympiad. Carlsen, 32 next week, will be the second oldest competitor after Levon Aronian, 40. His closest rivals will be Chinese world number 2 Ding Liren and reigning US champion Fabiano Caruana.
Five fast-rising teenagers are on the pitch: 19-year-old Arjun Erigaisi, who qualified by winning the Wijk Challengers 2022; fellow Indians Dommaraju Gukesh, 16, and Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, 17; Uzbekistan fast world champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov, 18; and German Vincent Keymer, 18.
Wijk organizers are proud of their selection, and tournament director Jeroen van den Berg said: “We are always looking for the perfect mix of the best players in the world and emerging talent. In my opinion, we have succeeded”.
However, one of the missing names continues to be Alireza Firouzja, the world No. 4 and at 19 the best teenager in the world, who fell out with organizers after an incident in the final round in 2021 and then demanded financial compensation for this in 2022, plus a much higher starting fee than the organizers were willing to offer.
China and Uzbekistan will play the final of the world team championship on Friday in Jerusalem. In Thursday’s semi-final, China beat Spain 5-3 while Uzbekistan beat India 4.5-3.5. Despite the event’s world title, most of the 12 competing nations only sent second or third teams, which led to a few upsets.
The United States and Israel were eliminated in the group stage. It was arguably the worst American result ever in international team competition, although the 4.5-15.5 disaster against the Soviet Union in the 1945 radio match was a much more painful and significant loss. .
The American team from Jerusalem has won just one game out of 20, with 13 draws and six losses. Hans Niemann on the top board totaled 1.5/5. The team that impressed the most was China, whose team had little international experience but won their group and two knockout ties with a loss of just three out of 36 games.
England’s John Nunn will face the critical final two rounds on Friday and Saturday of the Senior 65+ World Championship in Assisi, Italy. The prominent author and former top-10 grandmaster led with 6.5/7 and four rounds to go after winning some fine matches earlier. He scored with a queen sacrifice in the third round, with his favorite King’s Indian in the fourth round and refuting unhealthy play in classic style in the fifth round.
Round eight, against 2012 senior world champion Jens Kristiansen, brought Nunn’s first loss. He could have traded queens, but chose a riskier line, which the Dane refuted in style, sacrificing both rooks to achieve a winning end in 24 incident-packed moves.
It’s all in play in the final two rounds, live and free to watch on Chess24.com from 2pm Friday and 1pm Saturday. Nunn shares the lead with Kristiansen on 7.5/9, but has the bottom tiebreaker and may need to win his final two games. England already have gold medals in 2022 from the 50+ and 65+ World and European 50+ Team Championships, so England fans will be eager for another.
At 81, Nona Gaprindashvili is still taking part in the 65+ world championship. After eight rounds she was undefeated at 6/8 and led all of her male rivals in the 75+ category. The Georgian, a women’s world champion for 16 years, scored a memorable speedboat success earlier this year when her libel suit was settled out of court by Netflix, which in an episode of The Queen’s Gambit described her as having never played against men, when in fact, she had faced over 50 male opponents by the relevant year.
Two of the tournaments cited in his affidavit were at Hastings, where Gaprindashvili won the Challengers in 1963-64 and finished fifth, ahead of all England, a year later. Hastings has held its annual New Year’s Eve convention for a century with breaks only for World War II, although last year was played online due to Covid.
Its 2022-23 version already has around ten grandmasters involved, as well as the 21-year-old British champion, Harry Grieve, and many English amateurs.
Earlier this month, 13-year-old Shreyas Royal scored the youngest ever English grandmaster result at the Bavarian Open and on Friday afternoon the teenager has another big opportunity.
Royal will take part in the online Mr Dodgy Invitational, a 32-player €15,000 event which features elite GMs Peter Svidler, Alexander Grischuk, Daniil Dubov and Samuel Sevian, as well as strong English representation with David Howell, Gawain Jones , Simon Williams and Lawrence. Thirty. Play begins at 4 p.m. daily from November 24 through December 2 and can be viewed on Chess24.com.
3843: 1 Rxh7+! Kxh7 2 Rh4+ Kg8 3 Bxf7+! Rxf7 4 Q or Rh8 mate. 3…Kf8 4 Rh8+ lasts one move longer. Nunn vs. Birnboim: 1 Qb5! Resign. White threatens 2 Qxe5 and 3 Qg7 mate. If 1…f6 2 Qb7! or 1…Qd1 (hoping Qg4) 2 f3!