World champion Magnus Carlsen's all-time record of 125 consecutive games without a loss has finally ended, in an unexpected way. The 29-year-old from Oslo led the Altibox Norway tournament after four rounds, having just defeated his US rival and world No2 Fabiano Caruana in his previous game.

Carlsen's round five opponent last Saturday, Jan-Krzysztof Duda. had lost all his previous four, and the 22-year-old Pole was considering it the worst result of his life. Then, from a routine Caro-Kann Defence, Carlsen overpressed and found himself hopelessly down on material.

Carlsen's record may never be broken, if only because the virus has reduced over the board activity so much. His previous defeat in classical chess came in July 2018. 

Going into the second half at Stavanger, Carlsen is still in contention , but there is potential for another shock as the ex-Iranian Alireza Firouzja took the lead with four rounds left. The 17-year-old is heading for one of the best ever results by a player of his age.

Live coverage from Stavanger continues daily (4pm start) until 16 October on


Black (to move) is material down and threatened with instant mate by Qa8 or Qc7. How did he turn the tables? The puzzle comes from The Complete Chess Swindler by David Smerdon (New in Chess, £16) an entertaining guide to resourceful play by an Australian grandmaster and behavioural economist.

Click here for solution

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