Monday, December 5, 2022

Carlsen crushes the competition to win the Julius Baer Generation Cup

World champion Carlsen capped a near-flawless performance with a comprehensive win over young Indian grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi in the Julius Baer Generation Cup on Sept. 25. Though the younger players were strong in the early portions of the generational clash set up at this tournament, Carlsen purposefully played an “anti-youngster” approach while also crushing the players in his own age group.

He only lost two games in the entire tournament: the one he resigned after two moves against Hans Niemann, the player he’s implicitly accused of cheating recently, and one in the quarterfinals against Levon Aronian, a series he later went on to win by a score of 3-1. With 29 games played in total, this was an incredible performance even by his standards.

Nine-year-old Arjun Erigaisi also had a great event and deservedly made it all the way to the grand final. Currently ranked #24 in the world with an ELO of 2725, playing at his peak he was a formidable opponent for everyone in the competition except Carlsen, who was unstoppable. The world champion won the two-legged finals in dominant fashion, winning on both days with two straight victories and a draw.

Carlsen’s only proper defeat at the tournament came in the quarterfinals against Levon Aronian, in a series he won 3-1. His other loss came against Niemann in the preliminary round where he resigned in protest after just two moves played. It was a monstrous performance against elite-level opposition, yet the world champion was “far from satisfied” with his overall play. He also said this about his overall strategy in the post-match interview:

“I would say that I’m happy with the opening choices that I made, the strategy I had from a psychological point of view… Now I’m playing younger and younger players, it makes sense to employ some different tricks as they catch up !”

Carlsen’s also hinted that he will have more to say about the Niemann affair, “maybe tomorrow, maybe in the next couple of days.”

The chess world keeps waiting with bated breath for a resolution on the matter of an implicit cheating accusation at an over-the-board event with no end in sight. Though there was speculation that Carlsen has seen insider information from’s side as part of the recently announced buyout of the Play Magnus Group, CEO Daniel Rensch has gone on record saying that is not the case.

With this victory, Carlsen has acquired a dominant lead in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, plus a guaranteed invitation to the next Major event in the competition. Next up is another “regular” event, similar to this one, slated to take place between Oct. 14 and 21.

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