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Carlsen scales the peak

London: World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway cracked all-time high ratings, defeating Luke McShane of England in the first round of the London Chess Classic at the Olympia.

The rating for Carlsen stood at 2851.2 points in the unofficial live rating portals, which means that the Norwegian has cracked the all-time high rating record of 2851 held by former world champion and his former trainer Garry Kasparov of Russia.

On what turned out to be a perfect opener, all the four games in the nine-players round robin tournament ended decisively and the biggest upset was recorded by Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, who defeated world No. 2 Levon Aronian with black pieces.

With Nakamura calling the shots, Vladimir Kramnik turned out to be another winner of the day at the expense of world’s top woman player Judit Polgar of Hungary.

The all-decisive-games record was kept intact by a late-benefiting Michael Adams of England against compatriot Gawain Jones.

Viswanathan Anand had a rest day in the opener.

The day belonged to Carlsen, 22, as he cracked something that Kasparov himself has termed as impossible when he got there many years back. A victory against McShane with black turned out to be the perfect start for the Norwegian, who is often called the ‘Mozart of Chess’.

The new rating itself is not enough as Carlsen would have to remain at his and world’s all-time high till the end of the tournament as the next official list will be published only on January one next year.

The four victories mean that there are as many as four leaders with three points apiece under the soccer-like scoring system in place here that gives three points for a win and one for a draw.

With Anand remaining in the saddle in the opener, the world champion would like to catch up with the leaders when he takes on McShane in the second round.

Carlsen started with the in-vogue Berlin Defence and McShane went for a symmetrical set up that gave him a miniscule advantage when the middlegame arrived.