Magnus Carlsen has an abundance of personal targets, but could be in danger of fof over-ambition, With over-the-board chess reviving after a year of pandemic-induced online games, the world champion’s thoughts should be focused on his €2m, 14-game title defence against the Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi, to be staged at Expo Dubai in November-December.

However, Carlsen has never won the biennial knock-out World Cup, so has entered for its 2021 edition at Sochi this month. The No1 is also leading in the Meltwater Champions Tour, a series of online tournaments played monthly until September.

He seems overplayed, and his online form has shown vulnerability, which continued this week at the Goldmoney Asian Rapid, an event aimed at the huge popularity of chess in India. 

Carlsen has had his victories, notably in a final move with a queen sacrifice. In Wednesday’s quarter-final against the US champion Wesley So, his main rival on the Tour, he survived some anxious moments before winning the speed tie-break.

The final (noon start both days) is this weekend, free and live to watch on, with grandmaster and computer commentaries. Before that, a semi-final is between top players from Russia and China, Vladislav Artemiev v Ding Liren.

A 12-year-old from Englishtown, New Jersey, US, has just become the youngest ever grandmaster, breaking Sergey Karjakin’s age record which the former world title challenger had held since 2002.  Abhimanyu Mishra played a stamina-sapping tournament series in Budapest to reach a 2500 Fide world rating and score three GM norms at 2600 level.

Mishra was already the youngest ever international master at 10 years 9 months. Boris Spassky and Judit Polgar are among the former youngest GMs who have achieved greatness, and Mishra will have his chance at the top level this month with a World Cup wild card. 

Puzzle 2425

Nigel Short v Garry Kasparov, Amsterdam 1996. White to move. Short’s poor career score against the all-time No 1 would have been much better if he had converted his strong positions. Can you find the hidden winner that White missed here?

Click here for solution

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