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Magnus Carlsen: “It’s a completely idiotic rule”

The 2021 Open World Rapid Championship ended with the 17-year-old GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov defeating the 2021 Challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi 1.5-0.5 in a playoff, although there was a quadruple tie on the first place.

Photo by: Michal Walusza (FIDE)

The Uzbeki GM finished the tournament with 9.5/13, the same as Nepo, Carlsen, and Caruana. Due to the FIDE tiebreak rules though, only the top two players according to Sonnenborn-Berger points can go to a playoff. This is why Abdusattorov and Nepomniachtci were led to a 2 blitz games tiebreak, and the World Champion with the 2018 Challenger have settled for third and fourth place accordingly.

Afterward, Carlsen criticized these rules, live on NRK: “It’s a completely idiotic rule. Either all players on the same amount of points join the playoff, or no one does.” The Norwegian GM has spoken openly about tiebreak rules again in the Sinquefield Cup when he was one of the top 2. “Everyone plays the playoff, or I don’t play!”

But the World Champion sees every side of the coin and admits his own and his father’s responsibility to use their position and influence in the FIDE Council in order to change the rules. Specifically, he said: “I have to take some self-criticism that my father and I have not been guard dogs at FIDE, which is obviously necessary, otherwise they f* up every time.**”

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