All good things must come to an end, and so it was that Magnus Carlsen’s record-breaking streak without defeat in classical chess was halted by Jan-Krzysztof Duda on Saturday.
World champion Carlsen, whose unbeaten run had stretched back 125 games – or two years, two months and 10 days – was downed by world No. 15 Duda in round five of the Norway Chess tournament.
Carlsen’s previous defeat in classical chess came against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in July 2018.
“It had to happen at some point,” the Norwegian said of the defeat. “But in any case, it’s very, very disappointing.”
Duda’s win capped off a stellar day for Polish sport as it came hot on the heels of Iga Swiatek winning the French Open – the country’s first grand slam singles title. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took to Twitter to congratulate both Duda and Swiatek on their victories.
“I’m really happy, obviously, I didn’t expect to win this game at all,” Duda told chess24.
“I wasn’t very happy with my play so I thought losing to Magnus is nothing terrible at all. That was relaxing me, (thinking) okay, it’s not a big deal considering the games I played earlier in this tournament.”
Revenge came swiftly for Carlsen. In the sixth round, he faced Duda again and this time defeated his opponent in 26 moves.
Norway Chess, which runs from October 5 to 16 in the city of Stavanger, is the first elite-level in-person tournament since competitions moved online amid the coronavirus pandemic.