Magnus Carlsen has had several setbacks since the world champion’s 30th birthday celebration in November on a beach in the Seychelles coincided with his losing to America's No2 Wesley So in an online final.

The month of December brought uneven form, while the No. 1’s return to over-the-board chess at Wijk in January saw the Norwegian slip to sixth place at the “chess Wimbledon”, highlighted by a loss to Russia’s Andrey Esipenko, 18. 

This week, Carlsen is in action at the $100,000 Opera Rapid, part of the year-long $1.5m Champions Tour, where he seems back to form and has used two very offbeat openings, 1 e3 and 1 c4 c6 2 Qa4. 

Play continues with knockout rounds until Sunday, February 14, with games starting at 4pm GMT daily on and free grandmaster commentary by England’s David Howell and Jovanka Houska.

Meanwhile, Carlsen’s Play Magnus Group, quoted on the Oslo market, is taking over New in Chess, widely regarded as the best chess magazine. Carlsen himself has been a subscriber for more than 20 years.


Ruslan Scherbakov vs Alexander Panchenko, European Club Cup 1995. Black to move. Queen and knight against queen is normally a draw, but not here. Can you find Black’s winning move? 

Click here for solution

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article