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MCT Finals: Nakamura beats Carlsen in the third set

by Shahid Ahmed - 17/08/2020

There are not a lot of people who can beat Carlsen quite often. Nakamura beat Carlsen twice in the third set within the span of three games. If anyone has the World champion's number now, it would definitely be Nakamura. The Speed King had more reasons to celebrate as his twitch channel became the first chess channel to reach 500K followers. Although he started Day 3 of the finals with a loss, then he made a quick draw in just 17 moves and won the next game after the Norwegian misplayed in the endgame. Fourth game was a hard fought draw and in the fifth game the World no.1 made blunders in move no.11 and 12 which allowed Nakamura to score a miniature like win in just 22 moves. Carlsen was unable to capitalize his advantage in the final blitz game allowing Nakamura to win the third set and take the lead. Finals Day 4 will continue today from 7:30 p.m. IST. Photo: FIDE

Nakamura takes the lead

Nakamura after losing the second set made a strong comeback and won the third set 3.5-2.5 and took the lead in the finals of Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals. Despite starting Day 3 with a loss, Nakamura made a short draw in the second game and immediately won the next game punishing the World champion for his mistakes. The fourth game went back and forth but neither side was ever in any kind of danger and it ended up in a draw. In the fifth game, Carlsen seemed to be completely out of place as he blundered in move no.11 and 12 consecutively allowing Nakamura to beat him in just 22 moves. In the final blitz game, Carlsen had decent advantage in the endgame but unfortunately for him, he couldn't maintain it and Nakamura made a comfortable draw. Thus Nakamura won the third set and took the lead.

It was not the best day for the Carlsen | Photo: FIDE

Nakamura - Carlsen 3.5-2.5

Carlsen started Day 3 with a win. Although he went for a Berlin Defence again but Nakamura did not go for a 14-move draw for the third time in the finals.

Nakamura - Carlsen, Game 11

Position after 22...Qh3

White's position looks absolutely uncomfortable after 22...Qh3. Unlike previous occasion, Kf2 is not a viable option and after 23.Bf2 white's pieces are completely cramped.

Position after 26.Bf4

The game continued with 26...exf4, however there was an interesting variation for black. Can you find it? Soon afterwards white lost a couple of valuable pawns which liquidated into a winning Rook ending for black.

The second game of the day witnessed a quick 17-move draw but this time Nakamura drew with the black pieces. Nepomniachtchi again took to twitter to share his humorous thoughts

Nakamura opted for the Anti-Berlin as he realized that he needed to go for a win since he was down by a full point.

Nakamura - Carlsen, Game 13

Position after 32...Kf7

In an already difficult endgame, Carlsen blundered with 32...Kf7. Find out why it is a blunder and what he should have played instead.

Nepomniachtchi tweeted this after Nakamura's first win of the day

Nakamura made a comfortable draw in the final rapid of the game of the day.

When was the last time you saw Carlsen making a blunder in move no.11 and 12 consecutively? It is difficult to recollect. The answer could be probably never. Anyway Nakamura punished Carlsen for his erroneous mistake and won the game comfortably in just 22 moves.

Nakamura - Carlsen, Game 15

Position after 11...Ne6

11...Ne6 immediately drops the pawn with 12.Nxe5 and now black doesn't have Nd4 or Nf4 as white has a suitable reply for both. Find out what they are and what black could have done instead of 11...Ne6

Position after 12...a5

12...a5 invites more trouble for black. What were the better choices for black instead?

The World no.1 got a decent position in the final blitz game but somehow he let go of the control he had in the endgame which led to equalization of the position and eventually a draw. Thus Nakamura won the third set and took the lead in the finals.

Carlsen - Nakamura, Game 16

Position after 38...Nxe4

The game continued with 39.Rc7+ Ke6 40.Nf4+Kf6 which allowed black to equalize easily. What do you think white should have played to maintain his advantage?

"Yesterday I think I should have won the match and today I should have lost the match. I think all is right in the world." - Nakamura on winning the third set in a post-match interview. The Speed King has more reasons to celebrate as his twitch channel became the first chess channel to reach 500K followers.

Replay all Nakamura-Carlsen Final Set 3 games

Replay the live stream

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

Day 3 results

Nakamura takes the lead by winning the third 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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