Magnus Carlsen Is the 2017 Isle of Man Champion

Magnus Carlsen with his prize check and trophy at the closing ceremony. Photo: John Sanders

Magnus Carlsen captured clear 1st at the Isle of Man Masters with 7.5 points out of 9 games. Surprisingly, this is Carlsen’s first classical tournament victory in over a year.

In the penultimate round, Carlsen nearly sealed the tournament win after defeating Fabiano Caruana with the black pieces. Facing a novelty (15. g4!?) in the Ruy Lopez, Carlsen built up a strong counterattack.

Can you find the tactic he used to defeat one of his biggest rivals of the tournament?

Puzzle #1

Fabiano Caruana vs. Magnus Carlsen

Black to move.

In the final round, Hikaru Nakamura was still in contention, trailing Carlsen by only half a point. However, Nakamura faced Carlsen with the black pieces, and Carlsen forced a repetition at the first opportunity, clinching the tournament.

Hikaru Nakamura and Viswanathan Anand at the closing ceremony. Photo: John Sanders

Nakamura ultimately scored 7 points, tying for 2nd place with the 15th World Champion, Viswanathan Anand.

The 9-way tie for 4th place (left to right): Vidit Gujrathi, Swapnil Dhopade, Richard Rapport, Alexei Shirov , Michael Adams, Emil Sutovsky, Vladimir Kramnik, Fabiano Caruana, and Pavel Eljanov. Photo: John Sanders

Fabiano Caruana recovered from his loss with a victory over fellow American grandmaster, Varuzhan Akobian. This gave Caruana 6.5 points and a tie for 4th place with the 14th World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik, and seven more GMs.

Puzzle #2

Varuzhan Akobian vs. Fabiano Caruana

How did Caruana create a strong attack?

Black to move.

Stay tuned for IM Kostya Kavutskiy’s upcoming in-depth account from the event!

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About the Author

Vanessa West is a regular writer and digital assistant for US Chess News. She won the 2017 Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow her on Twitter: @Vanessa__West




  1. In addition to Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana finishing near the top places, a number of Americans had a remarkable tournament:

    GM Aleksandr Lenderman had a 2768 performance rating!

    GM James Tarjan, at age 65, defeated GM Alexandra Kosteniuk in the last round to finish with a 2671 performance rating!

    IM William Brown, needing a win in the last round to achieve a GM-norm, defeated GM Zoltan Almasi (2707)!

  2. We need another story, about the stellar perf. of GM James Tarjan.
    I’d like to see his victory over Kosteniuk.
    Anthony Saidy IM

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