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CHESS

Chess star arrives home to a hero’s welcome

Victorious world chess champion Magnus Carlsen arrived back in his homeland of Norway on Wednesday evening to a hero's welcome, with Oslo's Gardermoen airport greeting the plane with a victory parade of water cannons.

Chess star arrives home to a hero's welcome
The Qatar Airways jet carrying Magnus Carlsen is greeted by water cannons - Screen Grab
Carlsen was met by around 50 journalists and 200 fans, many clutching Norwegian flags, when he came out in the arrivals hall at 5.15pm on Wednesday. He raised the trophy above his head in a victory gesture. 
 
"It's great to be home. I really appreciate that there is such a huge crowd here," he said in a brief press conference. "I'm already looking forward to defending the title, no matter who the opponent is." 
 
For the immediate future, he added, "I'm just going to sleep and relax." 
 
The 22-year-old chess genius unseated reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand on Friday in a triumph that chess legend Garry Kasparov, who once coached Carlsen for a year, hailed as the start of "a new era" in the game. 
 
"Carlsen is a force of nature whose time has come and there was little Anand could do to slow the inevitable in Chennai," Kasparov wrote of the match. 
 
Carlsen won three games and drew seven to beat his 43-year-old opponent. 
 
The water cannon salute was given in 2009 to the plane which delivered singer and violinist Alexander Rybak after he won the Eurovision Song Contest. 
 

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CHESS

Norway chess champ defeated for first time in two years

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has suffered his first defeat in more than two years and a record 125 games, while playing a tournament in his native Norway.

Norway chess champ defeated for first time in two years
Magnus Carlsen at the Energy Denmark Champions in Copenhagen in May 2019. Photo: Claus Bech / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP
The world number one resigned after when he was a bishop down in the endgame against Polish grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who is ranked a relatively humble number 15 in the world.
   
But on Saturday evening, 22-year-old Duda managed to do what no one — including the world's top 10 players — had managed to do since July 2018.   
 
It was Duda's only win of the tournament in Stavanger so far and, as he told Chess 24 afterwards, “I didn't expect to win this game.”
   
But he was, he said “extremely happy, obviously”.
   
Carlsen, who is often tough on himself in post-game analysis, offered no excuses. “Extremely disappointing”, he said: “Completely unforgivable”.
   
Carlsen's undefeated run stretches all the way back to July 31, 2018, when Azerbaijani grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated him. During that time, Carlsen scored 44 wins and 81 draws against his opponents.
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