Magnus Carlsen is in action again this week, as the Norwegian legend becomes the first reigning world champion to compete in Africa.

The occasion is the first leg of the Grand Chess Tour, played at a new venue in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. All Carlsen’s games will be free and live to watch online, and all 27 of them will be at speed, either rapid (about one hour per game) or blitz (about 10 minutes). The 28-year-old will be the favourite, with China’s world No3 Ding Liren and the US champion Hikaru Nakamura his main rivals.

Carlsen’s next classical tournament is Altibox Norway in June, and that promises to be unusually interesting on two counts. First, the No1 is within striking distance of his own tournament performance world record set in 2014. Second, the organisers have announced drastic and innovatory rules to eliminate draws.

The main game will be all moves in two hours, with no draws allowed before move 40.

Draws in the main game will be replayed using the controversial Armageddon format. White will have 10 minutes on the clock, Black seven minutes, and a draw in that game will count as a win for Black.

Carlsen’s record attempt will be under traditional scoring where Armageddon games will not count. Confusing? It could be.


White mates in two moves, against any defence. You would expect Black’s lone king to be quickly dispatched, but the answer is a surprise.

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