Magnus Carlsen shows class under pressure from rivals at Wijk aan Zee

The world champion, Magnus Carlsen, made a bad start even before the first pawn was pushed at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee this week, before recovering strongly. Dancers performed at the opening ceremony, then the grandmasters chose a dancer whose dress concealed a pairing number. The Norwegian, 24, found No12 which meant not only an extra black but three blacks in the first four rounds.

The Dutchman Anish Giri halved with Carlsen in round one and the 20-year-old world No7 remarked caustically afterwards on his plus score against the champion, dating back to 2011. Round two was also a setback against a potential future rival. The world No10 Wesley So, also 20, played so calmly and solidly that Carlsen soon repeated moves for another draw.

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