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The $2m World Championship Match in Dubai is long over now.  It was a lopsided affair, with a crushing and imperious 7.5-3.5 victory for Magnus Carlsen, and all that was left in the wake of his rout of challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi was the official crowning and closing ceremony on Sunday, with the traditional laurel wreath placed on the Norwegian’s shoulders as he lifted the trophy for the fifth consecutive time.

“The match was such a positive experience,” commented the newly-crowned champion. “Usually at the end of these championships there are things you are happy with and things you are less happy with, but this time I can say I’m fully satisfied with my performance and that’s a great feeling!”

With the 14-game match ending prematurely due to the margin of victory, Carlsen found himself “busy” on Saturday, commenting “No rest today, working hard updating my Instagram” as he took to social media with a new icon trophy being added to his virtual trophy cabinet. On Sunday, there was no celebratory throwing into the swimming pool by his team after his his first title win in 2013, but this time a more measured and business-like social media selfie with the trophy and his message “Call me Mr Five-time!”

And a rampant Carlsen aims to end 2021 on an even bigger high by now going for a calendar-year triple crown, as he looks to add the two world speed championships to his title haul. Originally, the World Rapid & Blitz Championships were to run through late December in Kazakstan – but after strict new Covid-19 protocols were introduced, Kazakstan had to regretfully pull out for logistical reasons.

It was all bad news given the growing concerns with the new omicron variant. It looked a daunting task for FIDE to find a late replacement host country given the global pandemic circumstances, but kudos to the governing body for moving quickly and announcing the rescheduled World Rapid & Blitz Championships at short notice to Warsaw, Poland, and running on the original planned dates of 25-31 December.

Main Photo: © Eric Rosen / FIDE World Championship

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