Jorden van Foreest shocks favourites amid controversy at ‘chess Wimbledon’

21-year-old scores in Wijk blitz tie-break while officials are blamed for disturbing Alireza Firouzja at key moment

The 2021 edition of the “chess Wimbledon” at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee will go down as perhaps the most remarkable, surprising and controversial of all the annual tournaments which began in the small North Sea town in 1938. Its wartime editions in hungry times are still honoured by pea soup at its closing dinner. Not this year, though, when only the grandmaster section was staged amid strict anti-pandemic precautions.

Jorden van Foreest, seeded 11th among 14 and little known outside the Netherlands, finished ahead of the world top two, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, in one of the great upsets of chess history, comparable to Harry Pillsbury at Hastings 1895 or Glenn Flear at London 1986. The 21-year-old also became the first Dutch winner at Wijk for 36 years.

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