In the ratings war, the world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, 24, and the top Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronian, 33, looked like brothers in arms, occupying the first two places for some years. But this year they both hit the wall.
The Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis was promised to be extraordinary this year: the highest-rated chess tournament ever with many of the world's best players on hand. To the delight of Rex Sinquefield, the main sponsor, it got even better.
After the world chess champion Magnus Carlsen collected two more world titles last week in Dubai, winning the FIDE Rapid and Blitz championships, new comparisons were inevitable. Now he might be compared to a horse or a long distance runner, I thought.
Every year since 2005, the picturesque Slovak town of Banska Stiavnica stages a game of living chess. It is a powerful, almost mystical, spectacle with human chess pieces dressed into medieval costumes and armed with spears and swords.