Magnus Carlsen has hit a rich vein of form in 2019, and the world champion’s current run of victories has evoked comparisons with the legendary streaks of Alexander Alekhine in 1930-31 and of Bobby Fischer in 1970-71.

The Norwegian, 28, continued this week where he left off in his previous successes at Tata Steel Wijk in January and at Shamkir earlier this month. He won his two opening rounds at the Grenke Classic in Karlsruhe, both by hard-fought and patient grinds with the black pieces, before halving with his old rival Vishy Anand.

The Grenke event moves to Baden-Baden, headquarters of the IT leasing group, for its closing rounds and is viewable free and live online (2pm BST start) until next Monday except for Thursday’s rest day.

Controversy continues over Alireza Firouzja, Iran’s 15-year-old talent, who forfeited his round three game in the Grenke Open when paired with an Israeli. The world body Fide’s policy till now has been to avoid such pairings, but its next board meeting will consider a tougher approach.


Francisco Vallejo Pons v Magnus Carlsen, Grenke Classic, Karlsruhe 2019. The world champion ground down his Spanish opponent in a long endgame, where after 1 Ke1 Bf2+ the white king was driven to the corner square a1 and inevitable mate. Could White (to move) have done better here by 1 Kg2? Check your answer carefully, it’s not so simple as it looks.

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