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Magnus Carlsen breaks record for longest unbeaten run in chess

AFP via Getty Images

Chess great Magnus Carlsen made history Tuesday as he extended his unbeaten run to 111 successive classical games, breaking the 110-game streak set by Sergei Tiviakov in 2005.

Carlsen, the world’s No.1 chess player and, such was his prodigious talent, described as the ‘Mozart of chess’ as a 14-year-old, drew against Jorden van Foreest in the fourth round of the Wijk aan Zee tournament in the Netherlands to break the record.

The 29-year-old Norwegian grandmaster achieved his feat while playing against opponents who had a far higher average Fide rating — the rankings that govern international chess competition — than Tiviakov’s rivals.

He had suggested that he might consider the record broken only if he won another two matches as two wins, in the Norwegian League, were against opponents ranked more than 500 points lower than him.

But Carlsen told English newspaper The Guardian: “I’m all for [claiming the streak] too. I consider my streak against elite opposition is 109 and against good opposition is 111 and I am happy about that.”

In 2018 Carlsen beat American Fabiano Caruana to secure his fourth world chess title.

Mind sports

It’s not only in chess that Carlsen has been displaying his analytical talents. In December, the Norwegian topped the Fantasy Premier League table, though he has now slipped back to ninth. The Premier League’s Fantasy Football competition is contested by more than seven million competitors.

On Wednesday, Carlsen will be one of the chess grandmasters from the Tata Steel Masters and Tata Steel Challengers taking part in a friendly soccer match with players from Dutch team Telstar FC.

“Top football and top chess, a physical sport and a mind sport. You feel that they are miles apart, but they have more in common than they seem and they reinforce each other,” said Myra Rooselaar, chairwoman of the Tata Steel Chess tournament.

“In physical sports you need innovative concepts and strategic thinking to reach the absolute top. And conversely, it is important for chess players to be physically fit to be able to deliver top performance.”

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