Carlsen astonishes: 10 wins in a row grant him Superbet Poland triumph

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/12/2024 – Magnus Carlsen did it again! Despite entering the final day of blitz at a 2½-point distance from sole leader Wei Yi, the Norwegian scored 7 wins in a row (he had finished Saturday’s session with 3 consecutive wins) to overtake the Chinese GM and eventually claim outright victory at the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Tournament in Warsaw. Wei still finished only a half point behind the champion, leaving third-placed Jan-Krzysztof Duda a whopping 6 points behind. | Photo: Grand Chess Tour / Lennart Ootes

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Seven tournament wins in a row

After stepping away from the World Championship cycle, Magnus Carlsen’s approach, based on exclusively playing tournaments to his liking (mostly rapid, blitz and chess960), has been working wonders. For six months already, the Norwegian has done nothing but claim tournament victories:

Magnus CarlsenHe now obtained a seventh consecutive victory at the Superbet Rapid & Blitz tournament in Warsaw. In fact, last year Carlsen had won two out of the three rapid and blitz Grand Chess Tour events — the two in which he had participated!

The strongest player of this era entered the final day of action 2½ points behind sole leader Wei Yi. The Chinese GM was inspired throughout days 2-4 in Poland, but his 5/9 performance on Sunday was not enough to outscore Carlsen. Nonetheless, Wei finished a mere half point behind the champion, as his remarkable blitz performance allowed him to climb 17 spots in the blitz live ratings list.

Carlsen came from scoring three wins in a row in Saturday’s final rounds of blitz — and still showing deep disappointment towards his performance in a subsequent interview. Knowing all too well that he needed to have an extraordinary performance to overtake an inspired Wei, the 33-year-old went on to grab seven more wins in a row, extending his winning streak to ten games in total while getting a half-point lead over his Chinese colleague in the standings.

In the penultimate round, Anish Giri stopped Carlsen’s winning streak by holding a 47-move draw with the white pieces. Meanwhile, Wei lost with black against R Praggnanandhaa in a wild struggle. Carlsen thus entered the final round with a 1-point lead, and went on to safely obtain the draw he needed to secure overall victory.

Third place went to local hero Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who scored 6½/9 points on Sunday to overtake Pragg in the final standings. The Polish GM finished 6 points behind Wei, which only goes to show how formidable the Chinese GM’s performance was in Warsaw — and how incredibly tough it is to keep up with Carlsen’s pace in rapid and blitz events!

Wei Yi

Wei Yi is having a great 2024 — he won the traditional Tata Steel Masters earlier in the year! | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Jan-Krzysztof Duda

Jan-Krzysztof Duda being congratulated on his performance by living legend Garry Kasparov | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Final standings

Player Rapid Blitz Total Tour Points Prize money
1  Magnus Carlsen (NOR) 12 14 26 WC (13) $40,000
2  Wei Yi (CHN) 13 12½ 25½ WC (10) $30,000
3  Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL) 9 10½ 19½ WC (8) $25,000
4  R Praggnanandhaa (IND) 10 9 19 7 $20,000
5  Arjun Erigaisi (IND) 8 10 18 WC (6) $15,000
6  Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB) 8 17½ 5 $11,000
7  Kirill Shevchenko (ROU) 9 6 15 WC (4) $10,000
8  Anish Giri (NED) 7 7 14 3 $9,000
9  Vincent Keymer (GER) 7 6 13 WC (2) $8,000
10  Gukesh D (IND) 7 12½ 1 $7,000

* WC = wildcard

Tactical fireworks in Gukesh v. Carlsen

Carlsen’s final victory in his ten-game winning streak was obtained in his round-16 encounter against World Championship challenger D Gukesh. Playing black, Carlsen decided to try the Pirc Defence, as he wanted to create imbalances (i.e. potential winning chances) to increase his odds of prevailing in the neck-and-neck race against Wei.

However, the rapid and blitz world champion failed to foresee a tactical shot by his opponent when he played 14...Bf8

What Carlsen missed was 15.Rxg6, which Gukesh banged out almost instantly. Since 15...fxg6 loses quickly to 16.Bxg6+ Ke7 17.f5 (opening up the path for the dark-squared bishop to join the attack), Carlsen replied by 15...Nc4

And it was Gukesh’s turn to err tactically.

The Indian’s 16.Qg2 looks tempting, but it turned out to be overly flashy, as the straightforward 16.Bxc4 fxg6 17.Bd3 was the way to keep White’s advantage — despite being an exchange up, Black’s king is weak and his kingside structure is rather vulnerable.

Nonetheless, foreseeing Black’s refutation (in a blitz game) was no easy task. Carlsen did find it, though, as he spent 19 seconds before playing the strong 16...Ndxe5

The black knight attacks the white rook — which occupies the all-important g6-square — while vacating the d7-square for a potential king escape.

Note that 16...Nxe3 would have allowed 17.Rxe6+ fxe6 18.Bg6+ Ke7 19.Qg5+ (diagram), a line that was fully invalidated by Carlsen’s 16th move.

Engines evaluate this position as balanced, but a long fight awaits after 19...Nf6 20.Qxf6+.

Instead, after the text, Carlsen forced Gukesh to retreat his rook with 17.Rg3 (17.dxe5 fails to 17...Nxe3, and the line with 18.Rxe6+ does not work any more due to an eventual ...Ke8-d7) and the tables had turned in Black’s favour.

After 17...Nxd3+ 18.cxd3 Nxe3 19.Rxe3, Black obtained a clear positional edge...

...which Carlsen converted into a 43-move win — his tenth in a row!

Magnus Carlsen

Unstoppable! | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Grand Chess Tour 2024

Enthusiastic chess fans in Poland | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Final standings - Blitz

All games - Blitz

Final standings - Rapid (win = 2 pts. | draw = 1 pt.)

All games - Rapid


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.
Discussion and Feedback Submit your feedback to the editors