Wijk aan Zee, backed by India’s Tata Steel, was predicted to provide a showdown among the world’s top four grandmasters and a profusion of attacking chess this week. Reality so far has been different as Magnus Carlsen, hailed as the 20-year-old heir apparent to the legends Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov, suffered a humiliating defeat by a Dutch teenager four years his junior, while the tournament’s high percentage of halved results in the early rounds led to calls that Wijk should adopt the “Sofia rule” forbidding draws in under 30 moves.
Carlsen’s casual play with the white pieces against Anish Giri led to a loss in only 22 moves and revived the debate on whether the Norwegian’s recent variable results are linked to distraction by his other career as fashion model or whether he is just repeating Fischer’s form crisis at the same age.
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