Chess player Magnus Carlsen won his first victory in the rank
The premiere performance of Magnus Carlsen in the status of a former world champion turned out to be very spectacular. The outstanding Norwegian grandmaster, who voluntarily parted with the title of world champion, which went to the Chinese Ding Liren in April, played disgustingly in the first half of the super tournament in Warsaw, and in the second, smashing elite opponents one after another in a blitz, easily devoured a huge backlog from the Pole Jan-Krzysztof Duda and took the usual first place.
Magnus Carlsen has long been the main attraction for the public in any chess competition he gets to. But circumstances provided before Superbet Rapid and Blitz Poland, the second stage of the largest commercial series in chess Grand Chess Tour, a special interest in his person even by the usual standards for a Norwegian. For the first time in ten years, Carlsen played there in the status of not the current, but the former world champion. He announced a voluntary parting with the title last summer, and in April he finally said goodbye to him after the championship match for the vacant title ended in Astana: in it, Ding Liren defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi.
There was neither a Russian nor a Chinese grandmaster in Warsaw. Nepomniachtchi did not enter the Polish tournament at all.
Ding Liren showed up, but, having failed in the first half of May at the opening stage of the Grand Chess Tour in Bucharest, he realized that he had no strength to continue playing at a high level immediately after the championship match, and withdrew, giving way to the American Levon Aronian and slightly lowering the degree of intrigue: that's all After all, a battle between the newly-baked official champion and the ex-champion, whom many chess fans still consider to be much more “real” than the lucky Chinese, would look very nice. But Magnus Carlsen himself provided a chic intrigue.
Superbet Rapid and Blitz Poland consisted of two parts. The first is a one-round rapid chess competition, the second is a two-round blitz. So, Carlsen's rapid game produced the same type of funny comments on chess websites. Fans, having seen a decent growth of vegetation in all parts of the head and, it seems, slightly plump Norwegian, compared him with the hero of the movie "The Big Lebowski" and assumed that, apparently, he spent his time in recent months in much the same way. That is, there was no smell of sports mode here, at best, bowling with beer. The results are the best proof of that.
Plus confirmation of the version that Carlsen, after a decade spent alone at the top of the chess hierarchy, a decade of almost absolute dominance, really had terrible problems with motivation.
Eerily similar to Lebowski at the start of the tournament, Carlsen, having played a strange opening, lost to the Pole Radoslaw Wojtaszek, out of the remaining eight games he broke with his opponents in the world in six, winning only against the Romanian outsiders Bohdan-Daniel Diak and Kirill Shevchenko. This part, in which two points were given for a win and one for a draw, he finished only in fifth position, three points behind the leading Pole Jan-Krzysztof Duda, and it was simply impossible to imagine that Carlsen would catch up. Especially considering that in blitz the scoring system was already quite traditional - one for a win, half for a draw.
But then there was a spectacular transformation.
In the blitz part, Magnus Carlsen appeared exactly as the former Magnus Carlsen — an unmistakable grandmaster with some kind of inhuman endgame technique.
In the very first round, having given out a series of five victories in a row, he got close to Jan-Krzysztof Duda, and the game with Levon Aronian was an ideal illustration of his courage. On this day, the 50-year-old was celebrated by the Dane Peter Heine Nielsen, who had long served as Carlsen's second in the most important matches. And in honor of him, the Norwegian decided to play a trick, playing with White the rarest opening in elite chess today - the Northern Gambit, which in Europe and America is called the Danish Gambit. And Aronian, an outstanding tactician, a brilliant connoisseur of the finest variations, turned out to be unprepared for this sharp beginning.
On the second day of the blitz, Magnus Carlsen's uniform didn't disappear. One after another, under his pressure, such remarkable grandmasters as the Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the American Wesley So, and the Romanian Richard Rapport surrendered. Jan-Krzysztof Duda, however, fought for the championship to the end. In the final game, a point behind Carlsen, he desperately tried to find a path to success with Black. The magnificent game lasted 124 moves, but nevertheless taxied to a draw, which suits the Norwegian, who said goodbye to the champion title, but did not say goodbye to the title of chess frontman.