16-year-old Iranian shocks World No.1 chess player Magnus Carlsen for $ 14,000 prize

16-year-old Iranian shocks World No.1 chess player Magnus Carlsen for $ 14,000 prize
Alireza Firouzja defeated the Norwegian 8.5-7.5 in the final of the Quickfire quick elimination online contest – where players must verbally comment on their moves, and their opponents, during play – to claim the prize of $ 14,000.
The Iranian is the second youngest player to reach the 2700 International Chess Federation (FIDE) classification – the classification which governs the international chess competition.

After 7 months and 131 matches, the three-minute series of matches involving 128 competitors ended in a final between the world champion since 2013 and the rising superstar.

Before the confrontation, the world n ° 1 did not underestimate Firouzja, calling it “by far my biggest challenge”.

Firouzja first gained fame when he came second behind Carlsen at the World Blitz in Moscow in December.

And after losing the 90-minute competition, Carlsen paid tribute to the teenager, calling him “incredibly strong”.

“Good game, Alireza! It was really horrible, I was just in great shape, but he deserves all the credit”, said the 29-year-old during the live broadcast.

“I just have to be better, but yes, he’s incredibly strong! Full credit.”

Firouzja was gracious in his victory.

“I think the game was 50:50,” said the teen, who is ranked # 21 in the world. “I don’t think I was preferred or he was preferred … you should be lucky.”

Chess fans won’t have to wait long to see a rematch between the two, as they will face each other again on April 20 in the $ 250,000 Magnus Carlsen Invitational.

The competition, organized by Carlsen, will oppose eight of the best players in the world against each other for the record price.

Earlier this year, Carlsen made history as he extended his undefeated streak to 111 successive classic games, breaking the 110 game streak established by Sergei Tiviakov in 2005.
Carlsen rivals Daniil Dubov of Russia.

Play under another flag

Firouzja rooms under the flag of FIDE, the world chess organization, after having left his native Iran to avoid government restrictions. Iran strongly discourages its citizens from competing with the Israelis, in protest against the country and in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The adolescent grandmaster moved to France at the end of 2019 with his father so that he could compete with Israeli adversaries.

Like chess, the sport of judo has seen fighters go against orders from Iranian authorities to avoid Israeli competition.

Judoka Saeid Mollaei said he was ordered to withdraw from the World Judo Championships in 2019 to avoid the possibility of meeting the Israeli Sagi Muki in the final.

The 27-year-old ignored these warnings and after losing in the semi-finals of the competition – a result which he claims arose out of emotional stress caused by demand from the Iranian authorities – went to Germany to begin the asylum process.

As a result, the Iranian Judo Federation has been suspended from international competition.


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