Magnus Carlsen of Norway is the present World Chess Champion. The 24-year-old won the title in 2013 and successfully defended it in 2014. He has the highest peak chess rating in history, 2882, and was the youngest player ever to be rated No. 1 in the world.
His victorious, apparently casual, approach to the game is something of a mystery. It is believed that he spends about four hours a day studying chess. Although he is capable of playing any type of game, he prefers to accept openings that are slightly inferior to the best and is especially happy to remove the queens from the board and grind down his opponents in an end game.
After Carlsen reached No. 1 status, he seemed to be virtually untouchable. And indeed there was a growing public conviction that he was invincible.
After winning the world title from Viswanathan Anand, his results were dramatic. In 2014, he won the Zurich Chess Challenge, mixture of classical, blitz, and rapids chess. He then came in first in the powerful Gashimov Memorial. At Dubai, he won the World Blitz and World Rapids, thus becoming the sole world champion in all three categories.
He has had tough luck in his own country. He placed second in the Norway Chess 2014 and then second in the Sinquefield following a victory binge by Fabiano Caruana, but successfully defended his world title against Anand.
In 2015, he had sensational wins in Tata Steel, the third Grenke Baden-Baden, and the Gashimov Memorial with an astronomical performance rating of 2981.
Finally, in Norway, he struck massive shoals. He lost on time against Veselin Topalov in the first round as he didn’t know the correct time limit. He lost to Caruana and, inexplicitly, to his good friend Jam Hammer of Norway, toppling into seventh place. Levon Aronian won the 2015 Sinquefield Cup; Carlsen finding himself tied for second place.
After Topalov won the Norway tournament, he opined that a number of young players are able to beat Carlsen, but this prophecy remains to be fulfilled.
Winners: US Chess League, week 3: N.E. Nor’easter’s 1.5-2.5 vs New York Knights, Boston Blitz 2-2 Connecticut Dreadnoughts: Fall Action Swiss, Boylston Chess Club: 1st: 5.5-.5, 2d: Chris Williams: 5-1, 3d: Eric Godin: 4.5-1.5; N. E. Blitz Championship: 1st-2d: Vadim Martirosov, Andrew Hoy, 7-3. John A. Grefe Memorial, Wachusett Chess Club, 1st: Paul Godin: 4.5-.5.
Coming Events:Sept. 25-27, Sixth Hartford Open, Continental Chess Association, Sheraton Hotel Windsor Locks, 1 Bradley Airport, Windsor Locks, Conn., www.chesstour.com/ho15.htm
Answer to today’s problem: 1.Qa8! If 1…RxQ then 2.NxB+ and 3.NxQ wins a piece. And if 1…RxN then just 2.QxR.