Carlsen at 2861 Elo, but further progress is tough

by ChessBase
4/25/2019 – After winning in Shamkir, Carlsen’s live rating was up to 2861, his best since June 2015. After five rounds in Grenke, that's exactly where he remains today (well 2861.6 to be precise!). IM SAGAR SHAH recently took a look at how he's climbing back towards his all-time peak. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis (author of The Open Games - A detailed overview)

Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen

Scarcely any world champion has managed to captivate chess lovers to the extent Carlsen has. The enormously talented Norwegian hasn't been systematically trained within the structures of a major chess-playing nation such as Russia, the Ukraine or China.

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+2 is not enough

Magnus Carlsen won his first two games in Karlsruhe over Vincent Keymer and Francisco Vallejo Pons, but three draws in succession against Viswanathan Anand, Fabiano Caruana and Arkadij Naiditsch have leaked points from the World Champion's stratospheric Elo rating, and he is now back where he was a week ago.

As Leonard Barden recently noted in The Guardian, Shamkir "became the most dominant performance by any top grandmaster since Fabiano Caruana won the Sinquefield Cup at St Louis 2014 with 8½/10."

Immediately following Shamkir, ChessBase India's IM Sagar Shah, paid some extra attention to Carlsen's last round effort, when beat Alexander Grischuk despite already having the tournament in the bag. (This game also impressed "Game of the Week" host IM Merijn van Delft.)

Have you ever faced a situation when you have won the tournament with a round to spare. The last round result is not going to change things. So now you have a decision to make. Either you can agree to a draw and not use your energy. Or you decide that it is important for me to fight hard in each and every game that I play and give your all.

This is what Magnus Carlsen did in the last round of the Shamkir Chess 2019. In spite of having won the tournament with a round to spare, Magnus fought hard and won his last game against Alexander Grischuk. It just goes to show what a fighter the world champion is. For him playing his best chess is the most important!

Here's a slightly less sober take:

Carlsen vs Grischuk got Carlsen's rating back above 2860

Carlsen will need further blowout performances like he showed in Shamkir, if he hopes to reach and exceed his career peak of 2882, set in May 2014.

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