Magnus Carlsen, Chess World Champion since 2013, suffered a shock defeat against Andrey Esipenko during the Tata Steel Chess 2021 tournament in what was their first meeting.
The event, which pits 14 Chess grandmasters against one another in a round-robin format, saw both players clash during Round 8. Carlsen, who had a record of one win and six draws in the previous rounds was seen as a clear favourite against Esipenko, who had the same record as him going into the match.
Ranked 59 by the International Chess Federation, the 18-year-old started the match with an aggressive move, the Sicilian Scheveningen, sacrificing a pawn to assess Carlsen's mentality going into the match.
The moment Carlsen throws in the towel (Picture: Tata Steel)
"After the opening, I thought maybe I'd have some chances because it's really an initiative position. After I sacrificed my [pawn], I felt like I could do something in this game," Esipenko would claim in the post-match interview.
It was a mentally draining match for Carlsen, as the solid, methodical pace of Esipenko threw him for a loop, especially considering this is the first time both have played against one another.
The emotion was palpable after Esipenko's victory, visibly holding back tears after a match that not even Esipenko's biggest fans could have foreseen.
To put into perspective how massive this win is for Esipenko, Magnus Carlsen only recently lost a two-year unbeaten streak in classical Chess, winning a total of 125 matches between July 2018 and October 2020, when Polish grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Dud beat him during a tournament in Norway.
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The Tata Steel Chess is far from over. If you want to check out all the action, head out to the official Chess.com YouTube and Twitch channels where you can watch upcoming streams and full VODs of the event.