Magnus Carlsen: Even a world champion sometimes makes mistakes
Photo: via www.imago-images.de / imago images / ANP
Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen surprisingly lost to 18-year-old Andrei Jessipenko at the prestigious tournament in Wijk aan Zee.
The Russian celebrated his first victory with the white pieces in his first classic game against Carlsen.
For Carlsen, the defeat was memorable in several ways: For the first time since 2017, the Norwegian lost a game at the tournament in Wijk aan Zee, which is played over 13 rounds every spring.
Carlsen, perhaps the best player in history, was obviously the favorite against Jessipenko - 59th in the world rankings.
But for the first time since 2015, according to the Norwegian chess journalist Tarjei J. Svensen, Carlsen lost to a player who has less than 2700 Elo points in the world rankings.
Jessipenko has 2677 points, Carlsen 2862 - these are very big differences in chess.
Svensen also reported that Carlsen lost to a teenager for the first time since 2011.
In the interview after his victory, Yessipenko could hardly find words.
"I still can't understand," he said, "I don't know how I'll celebrate, but I'll sleep very well." Carlsen responded with humor.
The defeat was more painful than the subsequent corona test, he tweeted.
Jessipenko and Carlsen played the Najdorf variant of the Sicilian Defense, a complex opening.
Jessipenko chose a very aggressive pawn move that Carlsen was apparently unprepared for.
The Norwegian put his queen in attack position early on, but that turned out to be a mistake.
After only twelve moves, Yessipenko got such an advantage and improved his position on the board move by move.
The 18-year-old tried to get a pawn through to Carlsen's back row and then turn him into a lady.
Carlsen countered the plan with desperate threats against Jessipenko's royal position.
But he was not deterred by it.
When the farmer was one space in front of the back row, Carlsen gave up in a hopeless position.
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Carlsen plays in Wijk aan Zee, the so-called "Wimbledon of Chess", so far a tournament that is mixed for his standards.
With four points from eight games (one win, six draws, one defeat), the tournament favorite is only eighth.
The 17 year old top talent Alireza Firouzja leads the table with 5.5 points, Jessipenko is third with five points.
The 22-year-old German chess professional Alexander Donchenko is 14th and last with 2.5 points.
Donchenko stood in for Daniil Dubow at short notice, who had to cancel due to corona contact.
Five tournament rounds are still pending, the last will take place on January 31st.
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