Magnus Carlsen wins Grenke Chess Classic for a third time

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/1/2024 – Magnus Carlsen defeated Richard Rapport 1½-½ on Monday to win the seventh edition of the Grenke Chess Classic. This was Carlsen’s sixth consecutive tournament victory. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave grabbed third place after beating Vincent Keymer in blitz playoffs, while Ding Liren beat Daniel Fridman 1½-½ to claim fifth place. | Photo: Angelika Valkova

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A sixth consecutive victory!

The last time Magnus Carlsen played in a tournament and did not emerge as the winner was in November last year, when he played on the top board for Norway at the European Team Championship — Carlsen scored 6½/8 points in Budva, nonetheless. Before that, the world number one had struggled at the Qatar Masters, where he scored 6/9 for a disappointing 16th place in the final standings.

Since then, however, the 33-year-old (his birthday is on November 30) has collected six tournament victories in a row. Carlsen won the Champions Chess Tour Finals, the World Rapid Championship, the World Blitz Championship, the Chessable Masters, the Freestyle G.O.A.T. Challenge and now the Grenke Chess Classic.

In Karlsruhe, Carlsen claimed his third triumph in the Grenke Classic. The Norwegian played in 5 out of the 7 editions of the event, failing to claim first place twice — in 2017, when Levon Aronian took first place, and in 2018, when Fabiano Caruana emerged victorious.

Carlsen won the previous edition of the Classic, in 2019. The event was a 10-player single round-robin with a 2724 average rating. Carlsen remained undefeated and obtained a 7½/9 score to leave Caruana a full 1½ points behind in sole second place. The impressive showing granted the long-standing world number one a 2983 Tournament Performance Rating.

Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Magnus Carlsen defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the final round of the 2019 edition | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

This time around, the organizers put forth a more dynamic format, with a ‘fast-classical’ time control (45+10) and a playoff section at the end of the event. Following the 6-player double round-robin, those placed first and second in the standings fought for first place in a 2-game match. Carlsen’s opponent, Richard Rapport, defeated the eventual tournament winner in the first round of the event and finished the all-play-all in clear second place.

The final saw Carlsen winning the first game with the white pieces and then saving a draw from what at times looked like a completely losing position.

Matches for third and fifth places also took place on Monday. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat Vincent Keymer in blitz playoffs (2½-1½) to grab third place, while world champion Ding Liren got the better of Daniel Fridman ‘in regulation’ (1½-½) to secure fifth place.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave grabbed third place after winning a hard-fought match against Vincent Keymer | Photo: Angelika Valkova

Carlsen 1 - 0 Rapport

All games - Round robin

All games - Playoffs

Game analysis by Robert Ris


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.