World champion Magnus Carlsen won his seventh tournament in a row at Stavanger last week and took his unbeaten run of games to 68, but he was still self-critical. “My performance has been mediocre.”

Carlsen described his final round games against America’s world No2 Fabiano Caruana as “two bad hits. It was lucky I got something out of the first one”. During play, Carlsen had visualised the brilliant missed win for the American featured in this week’s puzzle which Caruana failed to see.

Their draw meant an Armageddon replay where White has 10 minutes for all moves, Black seven minutes, but a draw counts as a win for Black in the score. Here Carlsen was soon two pawns down and later missed a fleeting chance to draw the rook endgame.

World champions are often their own sternest critics, and the final scoreboard still showed Carlsen in first place by a three-point margin, winning all his other six Armageddons. His next tournament starting in Zagreb, Croatia, at 3.30 pm BST next Wednesday, June 26, will be a tough test against the other 11 elite players in the Grand Chess Tour, but will also be an opportunity to surpass his own all-time performance rating of 2889 set five years ago.


Fabiano Caruana v Magnus Carlsen, Altibox Norway, Stavanger 2019. America’s world No2 missed a rare opportunity as White (to move) here for a brilliant victory against the world champion. Can you do better?

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