Added on 1/22/2020

The King smirks in the background, as Alireza and Jeffery Xiong play - Photo by Alina L'Ami

It looks like the lion came out of his den. Magnus ET Carlsen, after drawing too many games - seven for the record - decided it was time to show once again his colleagues who's the boss. In round 9, Magnus had Black against the wonder of the event, Iran Alireza Firouzja. Socials were taken away by expectancy for this game. Still, the champ destroyed his young opponent with apparent ease, and his interview after the game was in perfect Carlsen-style: "I am as happy as one can be after beating a 16-year old".  Yes, after that, Magnus added, "I see he's a strong player," but OK, you got what I mean here. 

The King sits firmly on his throne, and at least for now, no witty kids can worry him.  With three rounds to go, only Caruana resists after Carlsen's three wins in a row in the last three games. Fabi is playing very well, robust and decisive, and leads the standings with 7.0/10. Magnus follows half a point behind. With three rounds to go, considering the strength of the American, Caruana can still be thought of as the favorite, but with Magnus on form, there is reason to be more than just a bit worried.  Tomorrow, at 2 PM EST, GM Alex Yermolinsky will be LIVE on ICCTV to talk about the Tata Steel. Don't miss his show! He will stun you with his on-point analysis and always exciting comments. Stay tuned!