Chess: Magnus Carlsen hoping to reach new heights at Sinquefield Cup

first_imgAfter eight consecutive tournament victories and a run of 79 classical games without defeat Magnus Carlsen has his sights on 2900, the record round number of rating points with echoes of Mount Everest’s height of around 29,000ft. Norway’s world champion plays next at the $325,000 Sinquefield Cup at Saint Louis from 17-29 August, with his current rating, now 2882, equal to his previous official peak set in 2014.Carlsen is in fantastic form, yet his chances of 2900 at Saint Louis look slim. His 8/11 total at Zagreb clocked up a performance rating of 2949 but raised his overall rating by only 10 points from 2872 to 2882, with 18 to go. Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger Share via Email … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. 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The answer could be that Carlsen in his prep spotted a 2016 game where the Frenchman did well with the pawn exchange and so repeated it.Then some commentators failed to mention that Carlsen’s 22 Bb5? could have spoilt the win where the Norwegian super-computer Sesse gives 22 Rc7! with a +2 assessment and reckons that after 22 Bb5? g5! Black may hold.3627 1 Nf6+?? exf6 2 gxf6 – but it was White who resigned after 2…Qxf2+! when if 3 Kxf2 Ng4+ and Nxh6 or 3 Kh1 Qxf6. Read more Share on Twitter Timothy Whitworth obituary Share on LinkedIn Topics Both Saint Louis and Zagreb are part of the Grand Tour which also includes several speed events and has its semi-finals and final at the London Classic in December. Saint Louis will be a straight rerun of Zagreb with the same 12 elite grandmasters, the only difference being that colours will be reversed from Croatia so that Carlsen will benefit from an extra White.A possible scenario if the 28-year-old from Oslo keeps up his momentum is that he reaches around 2890 at Saint Louis and then has four classical games in London followed by the 13-round Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands to complete his climb.Carlsen’s six winning classical tournaments in a row, including tied first at Saint Louis 2018, beat Bobby Fischer’s five in succession in 1968-70, and Carlsen’s opposition was much stronger. Garry Kasparov, however, won 10 classical elite tournaments in a row from 1999 to 2002 – five at Linares, Spain, three at Wijk aan Zee, two at Sarajevo, and one at Astana.After Zagreb Carlsen’s rivals were full of praise for his new and positive approach, especially in the openings. Levon Aronian commented: “He started going into the main lines, which he was usually not doing in previous years. I think he trained pretty well for his match with Fabiano [Caruana]. Now he does something which is unusual for him, he plays very critical opening lines from the start. He plays central chess, something he wasn’t doing. And it works well for him.” One fan went further, describing Carlsen as “a combination of Karpov, Ficher and Kasparov updated by AlphaZero.”For Carlsen himself it was beyond his best expectations. He noted that he “had never scored anything like plus five against such a field before” and later added: “For me it’s huge. It’s the first time basically that I’ve played an event like this – 12 players, all absolute elite. It’s been a dream, especially the second half has gone so well.”Carlsen’s final round win at Zagreb, where he demolished the previously reliable Grünfeld Defence of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave by elegant use of the bishop pair, was one of his most impressively smooth and pleasing creations in Croatia. news Chesslast_img read more