Although it remains to be seen if he will withstand the extraordinary pressure of a World Championship match – he suffered a lot in 2016 and 2018 – Magnus Carlsen is in a good moment in terms of the quality of his game, two months from defense of his title in front of Ian Niepómniachi at the World Expo in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). The champion counts by victories his first three duels of the final tournament of the Champions Chess Tour (fast online, in Chess24) against Duda (2.5-0.5), Mamediárov (2-2, 1-1 in the lightning tiebreaker and 1-0 in the sudden death) and Vachier Lagrave (2-2, and 1.5-0.5).
It should be taken into account that the pressure on the Scandinavian in this tournament is much less than in the World Cup, for a reason added to the obvious ones: he did not start from scratch, but each player started on Saturday with a bonus for the points accumulated during the tournaments of the circuit. This means that, barring unrealistic caroms, American Wesley So is the only one who could catch up with Carlsen. Now goes the 2nd, with 6 points, by 7 of Carlsen; a victory in the quick duel gives three points (zero for the loser), and two if it is achieved in the tiebreaker (one for the defeated). Added the bonuses, Carlsen has 23.5, by So 18.5, after three rounds of the nine scheduled.
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