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Carlsen draws first blood

Having let Ian Nepomniachtchi off the hook once, Magnus Carlsen came hard at the Russian when he got another chance and delivered a crushing blow in a complex opening game of the final of chess24 Legends of Chess on Monday.

Nepomniachtchi, who survived several anxious moments before beating Anish Giri 3.5-2.5 in the final set for a 2-1 victory in the semifinal on Sunday, had his chances with white pieces against Carlsen but missed them to lose in 48 moves.

In a complicated game, where both players briefly struggled to find moves of optimum strength in the middle game, Carlsen managed to push a kingside pawn to the sixth rank and got rid of the rival’s advanced pawn while keeping the white king under check. Soon, the Norwegian prepared for the forced exchange of queens when the Russian resigned.

When the two met in the preliminary league, Carlsen just about managed to beat Nepomniachtchi 3-2.

For a place in the four-man cash-rich Grand Final, slated for next week, Nepomniachtchi needs to win the title. Carlsen and Daniil Dubov, the title-winners on the Tour so far, along with Hikaru Nakamura have already qualified for the Tour finale.

The result: Final: Set One (Game One): Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor). Semifinal: Set Three: Nepomniachtchi bt Anish Giri (Ned) 3.5-2.5.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 4:18:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/carlsen-draws-first-blood/article32262765.ece

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