I cannot imagine that anyone saw this coming! After finishing Norway Chess Round 3 with an unconvincing draw against Anish Giri, today’s game against Vishwanatha Anand was nothing short of disastrous. Anand probably wishes that this kind of win had appeared in the November 2014 World Chess Championship in Sochi. Magnus Carlsen’s loss against Anand today gives him 3 losses, 1 draw and makes him .5/4 for the tournament.

I am sure that some analysts are wondering what is happening to Magnus Carlsen and maybe even considering that he might have reached his peak playing ability. However, I think that by looking at the context of Magnus’ losses and the fact that the way he is playing right now is highly inconsistent with his usual classical style that most of it can be attributed to life distractions and the chaotic nature of chess. Magnus has a great amount of demands from chess fans, sponsors, and I am sure that his family puts some form of pressure on him to continue winning tournaments. Eventually, the increasing layers of expectations begin to get out of control and can weigh down the lightest of chess amateurs up to the highest in the professional world. Some have speculated that Bobby Fischer might have cracked under all the pressure of being #1 in the world. However, I think it is more likely that the world needs to take a break from searching for a reason to condemn Magnus for any misstep in his game and give him the rest from the demands that we place on him. As of the end of today’s round, the current standings look like this:

Credit: ChessBase

Check out all of the games from Round 4 below: