Wijk aan Zee tournament: Carlsen does not risk against Ding | Chess News

Magnus Carlsen has confirmed today with facts that he continues to consider Liren Ding as a rival at his level, or close, as he said in 2019, before the pandemic. The multi-champion has not risked the least against the 2nd in the world despite playing with white in the 3rd round of the Tata tournament, which fourteen stars play by league system in Wijk aan Zee (Netherlands). Both now share first place (2 points from three games) with the Dutch Anish Giri, the Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattórov and the American Fabiano Caruana.

Despite the fact that the Norwegian must work hard to try to win at least all the games he plays with White if he wants to achieve the near-impossible goal of exceeding 2,900 Elo points on the world ranking, he hasn’t done anything similar today. . After five equal movements in a game between the two of them from 2020 on the internet, in the midst of a pandemic, which he won, Carlsen deviated from a very conservative path, which hardly required precision from the Chinese to reach a very solid position, with a microscopic advantage from the champion, but with an almost zero margin to cause an error that would allow it to be increased. The tie, without anything special to highlight, was signed after set 37.

What Carlsen said in 2019 about Ding, whom he saw as the most fearsome rival for the title duel, does not fit with what the champion said a little over a year ago, when he announced that he would renounce the crown unless the challenger -That is to say, the winner of the Madrid Candidates Tournament, last July, was the Frenchman of Iranian origin Alireza Firouzja, because he was the only rival he considered motivating for him. But there is a logical explanation: the pandemic was terrible for Ding’s sports career, forced into two long quarantines that hampered his performance in the 2020 Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg, which was won by Niepómniashi, who was also the winner in Madrid, followed by Ding. In addition, the Chinese suffered from the harsh restrictions of his Government to travel and the very harmful schedule of fast tournaments on the internet for someone who played from China.

In Madrid, Ding started shaky but played the second half of the Candidates very well, leading one to wonder if Carlsen would have changed his mind and defended his title if the Asian had won the tournament. And by logical extension, there is also the hope that Carlsen will decide to play the 2024 Candidates Tournament if Ding defeats Niepómniashi next April and becomes the new world champion. Carlsen has said several times – most recently, in a 2.5 hour interview with the youtuber Lex Fridman- that his main reason for giving up the title is the fear of losing to rivals that he considers clearly inferior. And he added that, of his five duels for the title since 2013 (two against Anand and one against Kariakin, Caruana and Niepómniashi), only Caruana was an adversary at his level at that time (London, 2018).

Not surprisingly, and if the champion feels in good shape, he should push the accelerator in the remaining ten rounds of Wijk aan Zee. But it won’t be easy for him to do it this Tuesday in the fourth because he will lead the black pieces against the very tough Giri, today signing a draw without much history with the Iranian Parham Maghsoodloo. And after the break on Wednesday he will have the white advantage on Thursday against another of the current leaders, Abdusattorov, who had to suffer a bit to draw with black against the Indian Dommaraju Gukesh. So far, in three days, Carlsen has only risen 0.4 points in the world list.

Caruana, this Sunday in the Wijk aan Zee gambling hall
Caruana, this Sunday in the Wijk aan Zee gambling hallLennart Ootes/Tata Chess

The fifth leader after the 3rd round is Caruana, who took advantage of a defect that is quite common among young stars: their almost blind trust in the players. inhuman (The programs that calculate millions of moves per second and play much better than the world champion). His rival today, the 23-year-old Dutchman Jorden van Foreest, has done something in the opening that a quarter of a century ago was considered little short of sacrilegious: giving his opponent a strong square in the middle (e5), which implies the great risk of being left with a disadvantage that is not very big but very annoying throughout the game. Van Foreest was relying on some tactical tricks learned from his silicon trainer. But Caruana carefully avoided them, was left with a consistent positional advantage and won outright.

The Praggnanandhaa-Keymer (more than six hours) and Erigaisi-Aronián (almost six) duels were very long and ended in draws. The fight between the Romanian Richard Rapport and the American Wesley So was a fairly quick draw, but an interesting one.

Third round: Rapport – So, tables; Caruana-Van Foreest, 1-0; Gukesh – Abdusattorov, draws; Maghsoodloo – Giri, draw; Carlsen–Ding, draws; Praggnanandhaa – Keymer, draws; Erigaisi – Aronian, draw.

Classification: 1st-5th Ding, Carlsen, Abdusattórov, Giri and Caruana 2; 6th-10th Aronian, Praggnanandhaa, Erigaisi, So and Maghsoodloo 1.5; 11th-13th Van Forest, Rapport and Keymer 1; 14th Gukesh 0.5.

Fourth round (Tuesday 2:00 p.m.): So – Aronian; Keymer-Arjun; Ding-Praggnanandhaa; Giri-Carlsen; Abdusattorov – Maghsoodloo; Van Foreest–Gukesh; Rapport-Caruana.

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