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MCT Finals: Nakamura beats Carlsen in the first set

by Shahid Ahmed - 15/08/2020

If you have to choose one person in the world who can beat Carlsen in online rapid and blitz then that would be the 'Speed King' Hikaru Nakamura. Day 1 in the finals of Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals went to Nakamura. He looked strong from the very first game and he managed to win the second game after making a draw in the first one. He continued his momentum in the third game too but the Norwegian somehow managed to save the game and set. In the fourth game, Nakamura needed just a draw to win the set and the game seemed to be a draw for the better part of the game. However, Carlsen kept pushing but couldn't squeez any water from the stone this time. Finals Day 2 will continue today from 7:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Grand Chess Tour

Nakamura dominates Day 1

The first day of the Finals of Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals was definitely Nakamura's day. Nakamura is obviously in a good form which even the world champion acknowledged in his instagram story. The 'Speed King' looked strong from the very first game. It didn't take long for him as he struck the world champion in the second game. Even he had a fantastic advantage in Game 3 too, but the world no.1 somehow saved it. Game 4 seemed draw for a very long time but Carlsen kept trying to break his opponent but Nakamura remained invincible on Day 1 of the finals.

Carlsen-Nakamura in this format is definitely a spectacle for all | Photo: Grand Chess Tour

Nakamura - Carlsen 2.5-1.5

The first game in the finals between Nakamura and Carlsen was a hard fought one where draw seemed to be the natural result.

Nakamura - Carlsen, Game 1

Position after 25...Nf3

Find out how should white continue after 25...Nf3.

In the second game Carlsen made a dubious exchange sacrifice. Although he got a better position after it but somehow misplayed and allowed Nakamura to equalize.

Carlsen - Nakamura, Game 2

Position after 19.Rxg7

Of course Nakamura took it with 19...Nxc1 20.Qxc1 and then he went 20...c3

Position after 25...Qxb2

White got a real good chance after 25...Qxb2. The game continued with 26.Kf2 but what was the better continuation for white?

Famous coach and best-seller writer, GM Ivan Sokolov tweeted this after Nakamura's win

Nakamura got a favorable position in the middlegame of Game 3.

Nakamura - Carlsen, Game 3

Position after 24.a5

Once again Nakamura got a favorable position but this time he did not manage to convert it.

Position after 41...Nxh2

One of the most clear decisive advantage white had was after 41...Nxh2. The game continued with 42.Bf4, find out what was the better continuation for white instead.

Sokolov tweeted about Magnus' resilience.

The fourth game was the simplest draw where Carlsen did not want to accept that it's a draw and he played till the end, of course he wanted to prolong the set and have chances to get back but it was not meant to be. Nakamura made the draw comfortably.

Replay all Nakamura-Carlsen Final Set 1 games

Replay the live stream

Live commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Peter Leko & IM Tania Sachdev | Video: Chess24

Day 1 results

Nakamura was dominant | Photo: chess24

Score after Set 1

Final scores after first set | Photo: chess24


Kiva is a partner of Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals | Photo: chess24

Broadcaster chess24 has pledged 50 per cent of new Premium memberships bought during its Tour Final to Kiva’s Global COVID-19 Response fund that aims to raise at least $50 million for entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by COVID‑19.


Total $300000 Prize fund is up for grabs | Photo: chess24

Tournament format and schedule

The Semi-Finals will be played in a Best of five sets (mini-matches). A player winning three sets will allow him to advance to the final.

• Each set consists of four rapid games with a time control of 15 mins + 10 seconds increment.

• In case of a tie, two blitz tiebreakers with a time control of 5 mins + 3 seconds increment.

• In case of a tie after blitz, an Armageddon game will be played where White gets 5 minutes, Black gets 4 minutes, but a draw gives Black overall victory.

• The winners move on to the final, which will be played in a Best of 7 sets.


There are no scheduled rest days. The Semi-Finals will take place from 9th-13th August and the Finals will take place on 14th-20th August 2020.


Tournament site

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