Magnus Carlsen’s rating continues to rise after another tournament win

Magnus Carlsen is on a roll, tearing up the record books. In the past year the Norwegian, 22, has triumphed in four major tournaments, losing only one game in the process. His 2872 rating is 20 ahead of Garry Kasparov’s peak, 60 in front of his nearest rival and nearly 90 up on Bobby Fischer’s best.

Carlsen’s 10/13 total at Tata Wijk last week equalled Kasparov’s 1999 record for the premier Dutch event. He scored with incisive attacks, squeezed full points from tight endgames, and exuded casual self-confidence. In the past he has often been self-critical but after Wijk he said: “I feel I got the maximum out of every game.”

Yet nagging questions remain as Carlsen prepares for the €510,000 candidates tournament starting on March 14 at the London IET, where eight elite grandmasters will fight to become Vishy Anand’s official world title challenger.

One is a similarity to 1962 when Fischer was also hot favourite for the candidates but was undone by a mix of his own poor start and collusion by his Soviet rivals. Now the USSR is long gone but every one of Carlsen’s seven rivals next month is Russian or ex-Soviet, in contrast to Wijk where most of the field came from Western Europe or Asia. It could affect a tight finish.

Second, Carlsen at Wijk scored 6.5/7 with White but won only once as Black, where he had several dubious positions, notably against Wang Hao where the Chinese GM was too easily ready to halve out. That difference creates an obvious candidates strategy for the world No2, Vlad Kramnik, and the world No4, Teimour Radjabov, who both have a strong white repertoire. And the world No3, Levon Aronian, who has been in poor form lately, came up fast in the second half at Wijk and explained that the candidates was his real target.

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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