The Norwegian chess king had the eighth consecutive championship after reaching eight points through 11 games in Zagreb.
Magnus Carlsen (Elo 2.875) takes the white position, taking Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2,779) in the last game on July 7. The French player chose Grunfeld’s defence but was gradually overwhelmed and lost after 37 moves. “Vachier-Lagrave used to have Elo over 2,800 and never lost when choosing Defense Grunfeld. But Carlsen won easily. The super-great grandmaster Samuel Shankland commented on Twitter that: “It is unbelievable”.
This is Carlsen’s fifth victory at the tournament, alongside six draws. He dominated the championship when more than runner-up Wesley So (2,754) a point. Carlsen is awarded $ 90,000, an additional 10 points for Elo. His current Elo is 2,882 – the world record set by him in May 2014.
After receiving the cup, Carlsen said: “The championship is like a dream,”. “This is the first time I attended a tournament with 11 players like this”, he added. This is Carlsen’s eighth consecutive championship, following the world flag blitz, Tata Steel, Grenke, Shamkir, Abijian Grand Tour, Lindores Abbey and Norway. He is having 79 consecutive unbeaten games in the standard flag.
The superiority of Carlsen compared to the high-level players made the experts remember the former King Bobby Fischer King. “The runner-up position in the tournaments with Carlsen attending is no different from the championship. He is in the form of Fischer in the 1960s and 1970s. Which tournament has Carlsen, the opponent who only competes with runners”, Wesley So said.
After winning Fabiano Caruana (2.819) in the King’s defence match in November 2018, Carlsen seemed to be moulting. “In the game against Vachier-Lagrave, Carlsen played very well with the frontal attack. He practised completely to improve his strength. It was a model for the players”, Aronian Armenian player Levon (2,752) to speak. At this tournament, Caruana and Aronian were third with six points.
Croatia GCT (Grand Chess Tour) is the strongest chess tournament of 2019, taking place from June 26 to July 8 with 12 players, including nine players in the top 10 in the world. The players play a round of standard flags. The total prize is up to 325,000 USD. The next standard flag that Carlsen attended was Sinquefield Cup from August 15 to August 30 in St Louis (USA).