The €1m world title match at The College in Holborn, London, starts on November 9, and Magnus Carlsen is worried.

Norway’s global champion, who has been ranked No1 since 2011 and has held the official crown since 2013, has seen his ratings lead shrink from over 30 points to a bare two due to the advance of his US challenger Fabiano Caruana and his own uneven form.

Before last week’s European Club Cup in Greece, Carlsen admitted that “I do not want to be second-ranked during the world championship match”, but he was close to an endgame defeat against China’s world No4 Ding Liren, who is on an unbeaten run of 94 games.

Carlsen remains favourite in the betting market, due to the significant chance that the match will finish 6-6 and speed tie-breaks where he is clearly superior.

Meanwhile, the Isle of Man Open with many of the world and UK top ends on Sunday. Lower-rated Indians were the early stars as they had elite GMs close to defeat.


Where’s the black king? Sam Loyd created this puzzle where the black king is off the board. Can you replace the king (a) where it is checkmated (b) where it is stalemated (c) where White can checkmate in one move and (d) where it can never be checkmated? The first two are easy, but you may have to search a little for (c), while (d) is harder.

Click here for solution

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