General Jan 20, 2020 | 11:02 PMby chess24 staff

Alireza Firouzja vs. Magnus Carlsen Preview

16-year-old Alireza Firouzja takes on World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen for the first time in a classical game of chess on Tuesday in Round 9 of the Tata Steel Chess Masters in Wijk aan Zee. It’s one of the most anticipated games in years as Alireza’s stunning supertournament debut already has many tipping him as a future World Champion. In preview videos Canadian Grandmaster Pascal Charbonneau takes a look at what we can expect.

Here’s Pascal’s flash preview – for more, check out the in-depth video later in this article:

This clash between Magnus Carlsen and his potential successor has been inevitable since Alireza emerged from a pack of prodigies to burst into the 2700 club at an age when only Magnus himself and Wei Yi have managed before. We got a sneak preview in a recent Banter Blitz session, when Magnus couldn’t help but laugh when he realised the chess24 username FantasticStar was Alireza’s – though he conceded Alireza is indeed a fantastic star! The game was dramatic:

Then in Moscow we saw that Firouzja is already a serious challenge to Magnus in fast time controls, an area where the Norwegian is arguably even stronger than in classical chess. Firouzja took silver behind Magnus in the rapid and would have had a serious chance of gold in the blitz if not for a tragi-comic end to his clash with Magnus:

The loss on time in an “unlosable” position saw Magnus go on to win the event, though the game and the controversial aftermath provided ample material for whole articles.

Any suspicion that Firouzja is only a speed chess demon has gone after the way he’s started in Wijk aan Zee, with only a loss to Wesley So in a technical position – the kind of thing that can happen to anyone – slowing his remarkable progress:

As you can see, while Firouzja was setting the world on fire Magnus had been making only draws, but the World Champion’s Round 8 win over Nikita Vitiugov has come just in time to set up the clash with his young apprentice perfectly! Alireza has won all four games with the white pieces so far and has White against Magnus, but if Magnus does win he catches the young star. There’s absolutely everything for both players to play for.

Here’s the full live preview show by Pascal Charbonneau, a Canadian Grandmaster who’s won the Canadian Championship twice and once scored a beautiful classical chess victory over Vishy Anand. Pascal will be doing lots more US-based content for chess24 in future!

All that remains is to tune in to watch the live show with Peter Svidler and Jan Gustafsson from 13:30 CET on Tuesday. Click on the game below to go to the show:

You can find and even train yourself on some of the tactics in the games of Magnus, Alireza and the other Tata Steel Chess players with the free Chessable Tata Steel Chess 2020 Tactics course

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