CHESS #1398

At the Diagram, Black to Play (White: Firouzja Vs Black: Carlsen, Magnus Invitational 2020, ), Carlsen is “obviously” winning and indeed. 39. -- Qc1 39. Rd3 Bd5 is convincing. As Carlsen said, he thought 39. - Rd2? was checkmate and it is, only not for him! White played 40. Rb8+ Kh7 41. Qg4 ! Qf1+ 42. Rg2 and now the horror of Qg6+ cannot be avoided. Black resigned after 42. -Qxg2+ 43. Kxg2 (1-0).
Magnus Carlsen leads in the ongoing Magnus Carlsen Invitational. This is an 8-player round robin where each match is four rapid games followed by an Armageddon tiebreak if required. The top four then play a semi-final, followed by a final. The prize fund is $250,000 with $70,000 to the winner.

Carlsen leads after three rounds with 8 match points. Hikaru Nakamura (7) is in second place with Ding Liren (6) in third. Maxime Vachier Lagrave, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana (all 5) share fourth-sixth. Anish Giri and Alireza Firouzja (0) haven’t won a match yet.

Sports is all about great rivalries (think Federer-Nadal or Ali-Frazier) and legendary chess rivalries include Fischer-Spassky, Kasparov-Karpov, Anand-Kramnik, Capablanca-Alekhine, etc. Carlsen-Firouzja may be headed in the same direction though Firouzja is just 16 to Carlsen’s 29. Carlsen is far ahead on all rating parameters and he’s been the world champion since 2013.

Firouzja has never won a classical game against Carlsen. But the teenager has won a 194 game bullet match (repeat 194 game), and a 16-game blitz match and at the ongoing invitational, he lost a Rapid match where he pulled off a ridiculous swindle.

The next big event is the Online Nations Cup organised by Fide in early May. The India squad will be Viswanathan Anand (who is stuck in Germany), Vidit Gujrathi, Pentala Harikrishna, Baskaran Adhiban, D Harika and Koneru Humpy. Teams representing Russia, USA, China, India, Rest of Europe and Rest of the World, will play in a double round robin, blitz 25-minute team format. Cheating is unlikely at these levels but there will be heavy duty electronic and visual monitoring of all players.

Cheating and accusations of online cheating have always vitiated online chess, popular as it is. This is one reason why major official events never used to take place online. But the lockdown has forced the sport to move online and this could lead to the development of new anti-cheating measures that benefit everyone.

A charity event tomorrow features Anand, Vidit, Tania Sachdeva, Nihal Sarin, etc. playing against a team of celebs including Yuzvendra Chahal, who played serious chess as a junior before he gravitated to cricket. This is for charity to raise funds for Covid workers. It will stream on several YouTube channels including that of Samay Raina.

At the Diagram, Black to Play (White: Firouzja Vs Black: Carlsen, Magnus Invitational 2020, ), Carlsen is “obviously” winning and indeed. 39. --  Qc1 39. Rd3 Bd5 is convincing.

As Carlsen said, he thought 39. - Rd2? was checkmate and it is, only not for him!  White played 40. Rb8+ Kh7 41. Qg4 ! Qf1+ 42. Rg2 and now the horror of Qg6+ cannot be avoided. Black resigned after 42. -Qxg2+ 43. Kxg2 (1-0).

Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player




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