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Chess genius Carlsen in crisis after fourth loss

Norwegian chess champion Magnus Carlsen is facing the first serious crisis in his career, after losing no fewer than four matches at the Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger.

Chess genius Carlsen in crisis after fourth loss
Magnus Carlsen plays against Jon Ludwig Hammer at Scandic Hotel Forus. Photo: Carina Johansen/NTB scanpix
After losing his final match on Thursday, Carlsen pushed away a microphone shoved in his face by a reporter for Norway’s state broadcaster NRK
 
“You can imagine,” the 24-year-old former prodigy answered curtly when the reporter asked him how he was feeling. “It is not very good.” 
 
The final loss, to fellow Norwegian Jon Ludvig Hammer, historically a weaker player, ends a disastrous tournament which has seen the world chess champion undergo a sudden and surprising loss of form.
 
During the Norway Chess 2015 tournament, Carlsen has been vanquished by both Italian-American grandmaster Fabiano Caruana, the Bulgarian Veselin Topalov, and his old rival India's Anand Viswanathan, sending the once unassailable genius tumbling down the chess rankings. 
 
“It’s just the same frustration as in previous matches,” Carlsen told TV2 after his defeat by Hammer. “I see nothing. I ignore tactical stuff all the time. Several times I move, and I see immediately afterwards that it is bad and that it has consequences.” 
 
“The best thing for Carlsen now would be to just go on holiday and not attempt an immediate comeback,” Yasser Seirawan, the US chess grandmaster told NRK. “He should just relax completely.” 
 
Carlsen’s manager Espen Agdestein said that the press should be respect Carlsen's need for space.  
 
“First and foremost, I would say that Magnus has been incredibly good in giving time for the media throughout the tournament. Sometimes he has to say ‘stop’, and we should respect that,” he told NRK. 
 
Veselin Topalov won the Norway Chess 2015 tournament, held in Stavanger, with a draw against India’s Viswanathan Anand who in 2013 and 2014 challenged Carlsen for the title of World Champion. 
 
Carlsen in 2004 became the second youngest chess grandmaster in history, at just 13 years old. 
 
According to 2700Chess, a live rankings site, Carlsen’s lead in the rankings on his old rival Anand has now shrunk to just 37 points, after he dropped 22.7 points over the tournament. 
 
Carlsen’s rating peaked in May 2014 with 2882 points. 
 
 
 

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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