Carlsen player to beat

LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2021 - 12:00am

The annual Wijk ann Zee Festival, the first major chess tournament of the year, is underway in the Netherlands.

Fourteen of the world’s elite players are seeing action in the all-play-all over-the-board competition.

Opening round pairings for the 83rd edition were drawn earlier with world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway leading the field as he returns to classical level action.

Carlsen is a seven-time champion at this prestigious event, and will be seeking his eight major title.

American Fabiano Caruana, the defending champion who finished ahead of Carlsen in last year’s edition, is seeded second.

Third seeded Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will look for another remarkable over-the-board performance, following his amazing run in the 14-round postponed Candidates tournament, where he shared first place halfway.

Round one pairings: Carlsen vs A. Firouza (FIDE), Caruana vs J. Van Foreest (NED), P. Harikrishna (IND) vs Vachier-Lagrave, A. Esipenko (RUS) vs J. K. Duda (POL), A. Giri (NED) vs A. Tari (NOR), N. Grandellius (SWE) vs A. Donchenko (GER), R. Wojtaszek (POL) vs D. G. Anton (ESP).

Games can be followed live with commentaries at various websites starting at 14:00 (CET).

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