After 21 draws in a row, Magnus finally won a game!
Tata Steel is one of Magnus' favorite tournaments. It's held in the little town of Wijk aan Zee in the north of Holland. There are probably many reasons why Magnus likes it here, but this is the place he got the nickname "The Mozart of Chess." In case you haven't seen it, here is the game from 2004 that made headlines all over the world. No comments needed - I'm sure you can see its beauty.
Magnus Carlsen - Sipke Ernst Wijk aan Zee 2004
If you want to practice a few of those moves above, make sure to check out the Epaulette Mate 2 lesson in our Magnus Trainer app!
Thinking about such games brings back fond memories, and I'm sure it's one of the reasons Magnus returns to Wijk aan Zee year after year.
Although Magnus won a couple of World Championships at the end of 2018, he had a long streak of draws in classical games. The problem with going too long without a win is that you can start doubting your abilities.
The Tata Steel tournament is a bit different from other top competitions. First of all, with 13 games, it's longer than usual. Secondly, it's a nice mix of world-class players, young talents and gifted attackers. With such a combination you're bound to see many decisive games, which was good news for Magnus.
Before Tata Steel Masters, Magnus had 17 draws in a row, and I'm pretty sure he was feeling more than ready for a win. Despite complicated battles, he started with four draws - two more of those and he would have lost his number one spot on the rating list. I have a feeling world number two, Fabiano Caruana, was sitting by hoping to see a couple more peaceful games.
In round 5, Magnus faced the talented grandmaster, Jorden Van Foreest. The young Dutchman did something admirable - he challenged the World Champion in his World Championship preparation. A risky decision - let's check out that game!
Jorden Van Foreest - Magnus Carlsen Tata Steel Masters 2019, round 5
By Torbjørn Ringdal Hansen