The Carlsen crash is now showing those elusive green shoots of recovery, as the aura of invincibility that made the Norwegian, at 19, the youngest ever world No1 with an all-time rating second only to Garry Kasparov, returned with vengeance.
Magnus has now moved effortlessly into the sole lead on 2.5/3 following an easy win over China's Wang Yue in a decisive round 3 of the Pearl Spring Masters in Nanjing. But hot on the teenager's tail though lurks World Champion Vishy Anand, who moved to a half point behind the leader after a deja vu win over Veselin Topalov.
Both are now in a neck and neck race to claim the world No1 spot, with just tenths of a point separating the two top names in the game on the unofficial live rating list - and with Levon Aronian on fire for his team Mikka Yerevanin the European Club Cup on 3/3, he's also just a couple of points adrift of both, and there's a likely scenario playing out that we could see, for the first time in history, three players with published ratings above 2800 on the same official Fide list.
Anand's win with the Lasker Defence over Topalov was all but a mirror image of the final game of their World Championship match from earlier this year, as - yet again - the hapless Bulgarian's king got unceremoniously dragged to h4 in around 30 moves. As GM Var Akobian commented during our wee small hours live coverage: "It doesn't take a genius to workout that something has to be seriously wrong with Topalov's game-plan for this to happen twice in a Lasker Defence." Go check Var Akobian's expert take on it all in his GOTD selection below.
And speaking of commentators, GM Yasser Seirawan makes his debut here on Chess.FM on Saturday! And for a double whammy, Yasser will be joined in the Chess.FM commentary booth by none other than GM Joel Benjamin to make this one live show you dare not miss! To listen to GMs Yasser Seirawan and Joel Benjamin on Saturday, join ICC now to catch all the live Chess.FM action from Nanjing (plus upcoming Tal Memorial and London Chess Classic) by clicking here!
Rounds 1-9 start at 2:30 PM local time (2:30 AM ICC / 11:30 PM Pacific daylight / 8:30 AM CET), and round 10 at 10 AM local time (10 PM ICC / 7 PM Pacific daylight / 4 AM CET)
Rest day: October 25th (after round 5).
Official site: http://www.chess-pearlspring.com/www/chess_pk/2009/en/