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Skilling Open SF Day 1: Advantage Carlsen and So

by Shahid Ahmed - 28/11/2020

Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura have the mammoth task of winning the day 2 of the Semi-final in Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open. They have already done it in the Quarter-Finals and they have to do it again to keep their chances alive to advance to the Finals. Carlsen won the first game but in the next two games, he seemed to be out of his element, so much so that Nepomniachtchi was winning against him in both of those in the endgame. Nakamura needs to play more true to his style, because we witnessed what So can do if you give him leeway to attack and take control. Can Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura bounce back today and force a tie-break? Tune in to ChessBase India youtube channel tonight at 10:30 p.m. IST to watch the live commentary by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal and IM Soumya Swaminathan. Photo: ChessBase India live stream

It wasn't Nepomniachtchi's day

Nepomniachtchi lost the first game against Carlsen by opting for a passive move and then blunder his knight. However he got some very good chances to bounce back in both second and third games but he missed converting them to a full point. The fourth game was an uneventful draw. Meanwhile, Nakamura defended well against So in the first game and managed to salvage a draw. In their second game of the day, So punished Nakamura for having no harmony among his pieces and won the game. The third game was a tepid draw and in the fourth one, Nakamura tried hard but unfortunately for him, draw was the maximum he could get.

Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi: 2.5-1.5

Nepomniachtchi played a strange passive move in a seemingly equal position and made things difficult for himself.

Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Game 1

Position after 15...Qb8 | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Find out why 15...Qb8 is erroneous and what black could have played instead.

Carlsen made a great escape against Nepomniachtchi and salvaged a draw from a completely lost position.

Nepomniachtchi - Carlsen, Game 2

Position after 31.Qc7 | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Should black exchange queens after 31.Qc7 ?

Position after 49...Nxb4

White has a winning position. How should white continue after 49...Nxb4 ? The game continued with 50.Ng6 which allowed black to get back in the game and salvage a draw.

In the third game also, Nepomniachtchi once again found himself having a fantastic position against the world champion.

Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Game 3

Position after 28.Bd1 | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

It is evident that black is the one who is in firm control and white is reeling after 28.Bd1.

Position after 38.Kf2

Once again Nepomniachtchi got a winning position in the endgame and he squandered it. Find out what is the one thing black should not do here.

Position after 38...Kg7 | Photo: chess24 live stream

Nepomniachtchi did what he probably shouldn't have with 38...Kg7

Position after 41.Rb2

Endgame virtuoso Carlsen also misplaced his rook with 41.Rb2. We all know that generally, rook is best placed behind the pawn be it for an attacker or the defender. But Caissa was not on Nepomniachtchi's side and he struggled heavily before making a prolonged draw.

The fourth and final game of the day between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi was an uneventful draw.

So - Nakamura: 2.5-1.5

The first game was an interesting draw. At one point it felt So is playing like Nakamura against Nakamura.

Nakamura - So, Game 1

Position after 18...f5 | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

The position definitely looks difficult to play for white after 18...f5. Nakamura being a staunch defender, managed to survive just fine and salvage a draw.

So got a huge positional advantage against Nakamura in the second game and he just slowly built on it.

So - Nakamura, Game 2

Position after 30...Bc8 | Photo: chess24 live stream

White is in complete control of the position after 30...Bc8. What should be the correct plan for white here?

Position after 34...Kf8

Black's position is crumbling and it's time for white to strike. How?

The third game between Nakamura and So was a tepid draw. In the final game of the day, Nakamura tried hard to get an initiative but he couldn't get any.

So - Nakamura, Game 4

Position after 22...h4

Black sufficient material or the existing pieces ready to create any king of damage on white's kingside. The game eventually petered into a draw in another 20 moves.

Replay all Semi-Final games from Day 1

Replay the live stream

Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal, and IM Soumya Swaminathan | Video: ChessBase India

Semi-Final results

Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura once again are in a must-win situation | Photo: chess24

Schedule

Everyday game starts at 10:30 p.m. IST

Prizes

Prelim result Tour Points Prize
1st 10  
2nd 8  
3rd 6  
4th 5  
5th 4  
6th 3  
7th 2  
8th 1  
9-16th 0 $2,500
Knockout result Tour Points Prize
Quarterfinal loser 0 $5,000
Semifinal loser 10 $7,500
Runner-up 20 $15,000
Winner 40 $30,000

Total Prize Fund: US$ 100,000

Links

Official site

Tournament Regulations


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