Kasparov says Carlsen is ‘struggling with age’ as champ makes final

Magnus Carlsen displayed a killer instinct reminiscent of watching great Garry Kasparov today as he booked his place in the final of the chess24 Legends of Chess.

The World Champion, who has won a stunning 10 matches in a row in this event, crushed eight-time Russian champ Peter Svidler 2.5-0.5 with a game to spare.

Carlsen will now face either Ian Nepomniachtchi or Anish Giri in the $150,000 event’s final on Monday after a thrilling Giri comeback kept him in the match against Russia’s number 1.

However, as Carlsen won his match with relative ease, the real excitement was in the commentary box where former World Champion Kasparov made a rare appearance.

The 57-year-old, who many consider the greatest player ever, had this assessment of Carlsen: “Magnus, whether he likes it or not, he’s also struggling with age. He makes more mistakes than he did before.”

On Carlsen’s upcoming defence of his world title, Kasparov added: “It will be tougher… if not 2020/1 or 2022/3 he may be facing a younger player, maybe [Alireza] Firouzja.”

Speaking about the launch of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, which the Legends event is a part of, Kasparov praised chess24’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “I feel quite happy that chess can adjust to these new challenges. I think that is exactly what we need these days to show that the game is resilient even to the virus.

‘Chess is resilient to COVID-19’

“As a chess fan, as someone who is watching these games, I’m quite pleased to see that top players are not giving up to the coronavirus and they keep playing exciting chess.”

The event, the fifth leg of the $1 million Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, runs until August 5 and will carry a $150,000 prize fund.

The winner will scoop a top prize of $45,000 and the last of the coveted spots in the tour’s Grand Final in August.

Commentary is provided by Jan Gustafsson, Judit Polgar, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Erwin L’Ami, and Tania Sachdev and special guests.

The event is also be broadcast in 10 languages by The official tournament social media hashtag is #ChessLegends.

Tournament rules and schedule

The time control will be a rapid 15m + 10s from move 1 played in the chess24 Playzone. There will be two stages starting with a 10-player round-robin (July 21-29) with each round consisting of 4-game matches and Armageddon tiebreaks if needed.

The top four will advance to the knockout semi-finals (July 31-August 2) and two will go through to the final (August 3-5). July 30 is a free day. All sessions will begin at 16:00 CEST.