It’s value reminding ourselves simply how dominant Magnus Carlsen has been simply within the final decade. He has spent 11 years above the 2800-mark and received the World Classical, Fast and Blitz titles a number of instances and remained No. 1 in all score lists.
Regardless of such dominance, he has proven the power to lift his recreation even greater. In 2019, outcomes of Magnus within the Shamkir Gashimov memorial, Grenke Traditional and particularly the win within the Zagreb GCT occasion nonetheless go away me awestruck. In Fast and Blitz chess, he can appear much more dominating.
I feel his starvation and love for the sport hasn’t diminished in any respect. He finds the time and vitality to play all comers in all types of on-line codecs like bullet and performs minor occasions there. Through the pandemic, he began his personal On-line Tour and performed each single occasion. Whereas he appeared drained at instances, he nonetheless received the occasion, carried out persistently at a excessive degree.
There’s a caveat, I’ve noticed for a very long time that the world championship is the occasion and format he likes least. My studying is that he thinks it’s a format that neutralises his benefits and permits his opponents to combat on even phrases with him. He has alluded to this on a number of events, suggesting that the classical match format might have run its course as a approach to decide the very best participant. In his World title-matches with Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin, he appeared to be comfortable to begin the tiebreaks.
This yr, Magnus diminished the time he spent making ready for Dubai and saved a heavy schedule of match appearances. I really feel he sees diminishing returns in coaching and needs to maintain enjoying. In his matches with Karjakin and Caruana, he confirmed a way of frustration throughout powerful levels and although he pulled by means of on the finish, I really feel he’s at conflict with himself in the course of the World Championship. A gentle one maybe, however a conflict nonetheless. There’s a clear distinction between the Magnus we see on the World speedy and blitz for instance and the one on the World championship.
Ian Nepomniachtchi is identical age as Magnus. They performed in cadet occasions collectively and have remained shut mates since. Whereas Ian’s potential has been evident for a very long time, he’s a newcomer to the top-10, becoming a member of the record solely in February 2019. It’s usually famous that he has a optimistic classical rating towards Magnus, however that is based mostly on previous outcomes and in latest video games, they’ve been on even phrases with Magnus main in sooner time controls.
Ian is known for his confidence and his extremely fast play (I used to be as soon as the identical and I too needed to learn to reasonable it to win the very best title). He’s well-known for aggressive play however his victories towards Wesley So in 2019 and Wang Hao within the Candidates present that he has extra depth than he lets on. His expertise is unquestionable, however usually is accompanied by a sure volatility and unpredictability. He can play great chess after which collapse the subsequent day.
Can he beat Magnus? On paper, no. I can’t consider an space of the sport the place he leads Magnus and each stat factors in Magnus’s favour. Nevertheless, Ian may have skilled nicely (Former challengers Peter Leko and Sergey Karjakin have each labored with him for the match and Ian confirmed that he misplaced 10 kilos throughout his match preparation).
If he can keep calm, his huge expertise, his velocity abilities which is able to come in useful ought to they want tiebreaks and his self-confidence give us each proper to hope for an thrilling match.