No sure thing
By ANDY SOLTIS
Last Updated: 12:57 AM, July 15, 2012
Posted: 10:03 PM, July 14, 2012
There’s an easy way to handicap a chess tournament: Find the highest-rated and/or youngest master on the pairing chart.
That’s why Magnus Carlsen, 21 — by far the highest-rated player in the world — is the prohibitive favorite wherever he plays.
But Carlsen suffered a rare setback last weekend in Astana, Kazakhstan, when he finished second in both the World Blitz and World Rapid Championships, behind the winners, Sergey Karjakin and Alexander Grischuk.
Plungers would have had better luck going with top-rated Ivan Sokolov in the World Open. He tied for first in the 118-player top section with Alex Shabalov and then won the playoff.
But Sokolov and Shabalov’s results were remarkable because both are 44, more than twice as old as some of their rivals in the Philadelphia tournament.
The oldest player on the world chess federation list of the top-100 rated GMs is Britain’s Nigel Short, who still gets around at age 47.
Earlier this month, he won an international tournament in Edmonton, Canada. This followed tournament victories in Thailand and Gibraltar and a won match in Peru, so Short has been triumphant on four continents in 2012.
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Carlsen is a sure thing.