QATAR OPEN ENDS IN TWO WAY TIE!
One of the strongest-and most watched-tournaments of the year ended today with an exciting catch-up victory by 21-year old Yu Yangyi (over So), enabling the 2014 winner of the Qatar Open to tie with the current world champion, 25-year old Magnus Carlsen. Congrats to both gentlemen!
Carlsen , with White, could do no more than draw his game against former world champion Vlad Kramnik, obliging the Norwegian to nervously bite his nails while Yu ground down So in a spectacular struggle that did justice to both adversaries. No doubt that this game will be talked about for a long time!
(Photo by Katerina Savina. My Portuguese readers will recognize IA Carlos Dias in the upper right corner) Soon after Yu defeated So, a two game blitz match was organized to determine who would win the Cup…this time the Chinese superstar was no match for Carlsen, who won easily both games.
So the year ends on a high note for the Norwegian superstar, following on the heels of his win in London a few weeks earlier. HOWEVER, I am certain that Magnus is not entirely satisfied: both tournament victories were due to controvertial tie-break rules requiring fast-control games.
Had there been no such games, then both London and Qatar could have seen a different winner! Quite simply, the champion’s results from the past six months (1st= London; 2nd Sinquefield Cup; 8th Norway Chess) indicate that in classical chess Carlsen now occupies the same unenviable position as the world champions held in the 1960’s: first amongst equals! The Norwegian ends the year with a lower Elo than he started it…My bet is that unless Carlsen actually starts to WORK harder on his game, the chess world will not only soon see a Chinese world champion challenger…BUT very likely a Chinese world champion!
Spectacular photo by MARIA EMELIANOVA of former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk
MOST FOLLWED TOURNAMENT THIS YEAR?
Everyone I spoke with was ecstatic with such an exciting tournament! If any sponsors are reading this, then PLEASE organize more of these mixed tournaments. There must be more bang-for-the buck in terms of audiences, as well as much more excitement and interesting games.