When Magnus Carlsen gets into genius mode, he devastates, but he can not do it every day, and that is why he is not invincible. The Norwegian won big (17 points in 21 rounds) this Saturday in St. Petersburg (Russia) the World Blitz (3 minutes + 2 seconds per move) after failing two days before in the fast one (15 minutes + 10 seconds) because he started with two losses and a game much worse than normal in him.
"I feel relieved. Today has been a very hard day. He was in the lead, but always stalked, and that's never easy. Yesterday [por el viernes, primera jornada del Mundial relámpago]My game was not as good as the result, but I see that I usually perform better against the best. Today I played very well, and I needed every half a point to be champion, "explained the Scandinavian after beating the Polish Jan Duda by only half a point. number one sub 20, and 2.5 over the American Hikaru Nakamura. With 17 points out of 21, the normal would have been a triumphant ride, but the impressive Duda, 32nd in the initial list, surpassed his mathematical hope.
The usual sincerity of Carlsen is very timely this time to accentuate the frequency with which he ties or loses to lower rivals in the first rounds of any modality. His 5th place (over 207 participants) for the second year in a row in the World Championship is a clear failure. But not so much because he did not win the gold a month after renewing the classic chess crown in the quick tiebreak (after twelve boards) against Fabiano Caruana in the London World Cup – "I come for the triple crown; the usurpers are not welcome ", he had said as soon as he got to St. Petersburg-, but because his low performance in the first five rounds on Wednesday (two defeats and three very poor victories against very inferior opponents) prevented him from facing rival rivals until the last five on Friday, and his comeback was not enough, because he had the worst tiebreak of the four tied at 10.5 points in 15 rounds.
Common sense indicates that frequent trips in the early rounds are a psychological problem. And also that the champion of the mental sports world par excellence should work with a psychologist specialized in high sports performance; even more so when he has openly acknowledged that he has problems with motivation and self-confidence, and that he does not control his emotions well. But he refuses, encouraged in that decision by his father, Henrik, who does not believe in the usefulness of sports psychology.
The antithesis of the gray and insecure Carlsen Wednesday Carlsen has been great, devastating and little less than invincible on Sunday. Already on Saturday (in the first 12 rounds of the 21 scheduled), the champion exhibited a much more convincing game than the previous three days; perhaps, because his genius, the ability to see the best play in tenths of a second, manifests itself the less time he has on the clock. Thus came tied at 9.5 points with Russian Vladislav Artémiev to Sunday, when his first four rivals (Giri, Hao Wang, Tsydypov and Golúbov) were swept off the board. Two draws followed (Nakamura and Guélfand), one win (Mamediárov), another draw (Nepómniachi) and the final victory against Koróbov; In total, thirteen games won and eight tables to close a year with ups and downs, but with two world titles.
Dúbov's gold in the fast is adorned with two striking edges: down the podium revealed that he had been one of the secret analysts of Carlsen during the World Cup against Caruana; and explained that his family had to insist a lot to him to play in St. Petersburg after the unexpected death, on the 23rd, of his grandfather, to whom he was very close. Dúbov reaffirms as well as one of the props of the youngest generation of Russian stars, next to Fedoséiev and Artémiev.
Any chronicle of these Worlds would be incomplete without talking about the Iranians. Not only stands out Parham Maghsoodloo, 18, who will play the City of León at the beginning of July. It shines even more Alireza Firouzja, of 15, 6º in the World-wide one of the fast ones and one of the leaders during the first half of the lightning, until the defeat before Carlsen was traumatic to him. But the greatest glory is not for them but for a 21-year-old woman who started as 25th in the starting list, Sarasadat Khademalsharieh: silver in fast, silver in lightning and gold in the combined (like Carlsen in the Men's World Cup). Iran joins China, India and Vietnam in the arguments to affirm that the future of chess is in Asia.
Almost all Spanish-speaking participants are Spanish. The best, the two women: Marta Garcia was the 21st in fast (up 120 points Elo), and Sabrina Vega the 29th in lightning (up 58), and 14th place of David Antón in the fast (up 18).
The hasty change of headquarters from Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) to St. Petersburg has not posed serious organizational problems, thanks to the experienced machinery of the Russian Chess Federation. The Moldovan Víctor Bologán, new executive director of the International Federation (FIDE), explained that the contract with Saudi Arabia includes the 2019 edition but was optimistic about "reaching an agreement". Given the good relations between both countries, it is very likely that the next fast World Cup will also be played in Russia.