Chess: Carlsen wins in Casablanca as new variant tests historic skills

The world No 1 identified most of the six positions from previous world championships and exploited Vishy Anand’s unfamiliarity with a classic from Havana 1889

The innovative Casablanca variant, where today’s best players tested their skills on historic games from the past, sparked some surprise results on its debut in Morocco last weekend. The event had four participants, each representing a continent: the world No 1, Magnus Carlsen (Europe), former world champion Vishy Anand (Asia), the world No 3, Hikaru Nakamura (America), and Egypt’s top grandmaster, Bassim Amin (Africa).

Four positions were chosen by experts, two by the audience. Carlsen is well versed in chess history, and correctly identified the Wilhelm Steinitz v Mikhail Chigorin match of 1889, the only world title series featuring the lively Evans Gambit, as well as Gary Kasparov v Anatoly Karpov games from their 1985 and 1987 matches. That knowledge helped Carlsen defeat Anand in the miniature below.

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