Revenge of the World Champ

SusanPolgar

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Post-match highlight clips will be added

The king hits back! World champion Magnus Carlsen exacts revenge against teen hotshot 

A rollercoaster match today saw World Champion Magnus Carlsen dispatch his 16-year-old conqueror Alireza Firouzja in the world’s richest online chess tournament.

The Norwegian reasserted his dominance early on against an opponent who beat him last week by keeping the coolest head in a chaotic opening game of The Magnus Carlsen Invitational’s second round.

Carlsen and Firouzja’s second game then provided an incredible shock. Carlsen appeared to be heading for a smooth win to go two up but, in a stunning turnaround, the tricky Firouzja swindled him out of it.

Afterward, 29-year-old Carlsen described his teenage opponent as “very, very slippery”.

However, Game 3 was another clean win for Carlsen that left Firouzja, who played sitting in a gaming chair wearing deck shorts, needing victory in the final game to take the match to a tiebreak.

That didn’t happen as Carlsen steered game four into a tame draw to win the match 2.5-1.5. He picks up three tournament points and tops the leaderboard.

Interviewed post-match, Carlsen said: “It wasn’t an easy ride, that’s for sure. But what can I say? I’m happy to have made it in the end.”

During the match, talk inside the commentary box was of whether the youngster has got into Carlsen’s head after his stunning win over Carlsen last week in chess24’s Banter Blitz Cup.

Asked in the commentary whether he expects Firouzja to rival Carlsen in years to come, Russian Super GM Peter Svidler said: “The needle got shifted a little for me.

“I thought he [Fiouzja] was slightly overhyped, but then I watch Magnus seemingly really struggle against Alireza and you can’t help wondering if it's not just Magnus having off day it’s because of who he is playing.

“I’m now thinking yes, it’s maybe in Magnus's head and then it all gets a lot more interesting.”

Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk said: "I think it's a bit like [Garry] Kasparov. He convinced himself that [Vladimir] Kramnik is going to be the next World Champion and then when he played the match against him he just totally could not play... He can fight anyone but not destiny."

Dutch number 1 Anish Giri disappointed again, losing his first game against Hikaru Nakamura and then playing into a dead draw in the second.

The third was also a draw leaving Giri needing a win to force an Armageddon tiebreak but - as in Firouzja’s game - it didn’t happen, leaving Nakamura with the three tournament points.

Round 2 concludes tomorrow at 16.00 CEST with Ian Nepomniachtchi vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ding Liren vs Fabiano Caruana.

You can watch it here:

Video highlights will be made available soon.

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Leon Watson