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New in Chess Classic SF Day 2: Carlsen and Nakamura setup an epic clash in the Finals

by Shahid Ahmed - 01/05/2021

The Finals of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour New in Chess Classic will undoubtedly be an exciting one without a shadow of doubt as the finalists are Carlsen and Nakamura. Apart from the statistical fact that they are the world champion and world no.1 in blitz respectively, we all remember what we witnessed the last time these two gladiators faced each other in the finals of Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals. Carlsen won that event, so it's time for Nakamura to avenge his loss, besides Nakamura lost three games in-a-row against Mamedyarov in the second set of the Semi-Finals. He certainly wants to put it behind him. Photo: Amruta Mokal

Mamedyarov beat Nakamura thrice in-a-row

It is not everyday we get to see Nakamura losing in rapid three times consecutively in a top-tier tournament. Mamedyarov achieved this rare feat, after losing the first set by 3-1, the Azerbaijan no.1 bounced back strong and won the second set by 0-3. However he drew both of the blitz tie-break games and lost the Armageddon. Thus Nakamura advanced to the Finals and he will now play against Aronian who was unable to beat Carlsen in the second set.

Carlsen got the better of Aronian | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Carlsen - Aronian: 3-1

First game was a well-fought draw.

The second game was an exciting draw where at one point Carlsen had a huge advantage over Aronian

Carlsen - Aronian, Game 2

Position after 19.e5

White has already sacrificed two pawns to launch an attack on black's king. How should black respond to 19.e5 ?

Position after 24...Qd5

What is the best way for white to maintain the attack after 24...Qd5 ? The game continued with 25.Rd6 and black forced the queen exchange with 25...Qf5. Thus the attack evaporated and the game ended up in a draw in another eleven moves.

Carlsen struck first in the third game to take 2-1 lead in the second set.

Aronian - Carlsen, Game 3

Position after 14...Nb8

Aronian played a strange move here 15.Ra1. Black's idea behind 14...Nb8 is quite obvious that at some point the knight is going to jump to b4 and try to create some difficulties. What should be white's correct plan here? Carlsen outplayed Aronian positionally and eventually won the game taking a 2-1 lead in the second set.

Since it was a must win game for Aronian, to force the tie-breaks, the creative genius opted for a bold 6..g5 in the Sicilian Moscow.

Carlsen - Aronian, Game 4

Position after 6...g5

Things did not work out the way Aronian wanted and he could not get out of the gate, eventually lost the game and set by 3-1. Thus he will not play in the third-fourth place match.

Nakamura - Mamedyarov: 0-3 (2*-1)

For the third time in the Semi-Final, Mamedyarov and Nakamura played the exact same line in Nimzo-Indian and this time Mamedyarov came up with a deviation.

Mamedyarov - Nakamura, Game 1

Position after 15...e5

Mamedyarov played 16.Rxc3 twice in the first set of Semi-Finals, out of which he won the first one in Game 2 but lost the next one in Game 4. So he decided to change it up in the first game of the second set with 16.Nxc3.

Position after 59...Qg6

Nakamura's big mistake in the endgame was 59...Qg6 in an otherwise equal queen endgame. Find out the finish for white.

Mamedyarov continued his momentum and won the second game too.

Nakamura - Mamedyarov, Game 3

Position after 35.Nf3

Despite having a good position, Nakamura was unable to capitalize on it and a bit of passive play allowed Mamedyarov to gain the upper hand. 35.Nf3 is the blunder which cost white the game. Find out the winning combination for black.

Nakamura's Benoni did not work out the way he would have wanted and eventually he blundered in the endgame again.

Mamedyarov - Nakamura, Game 3

Position after 33...a5

33...a5 is a blunder. Why? Mamedyarov won third consecutive game to win the second set by 0-3 and force blitz tie-breaks.

The first tie-break blitz game was a draw arising out of Ruy Lopez Berlin Defence. Second game was also draw but this time it was Open Ruy Lopez. Thus Armageddon was enforced to determine who will go to the Finals between Mamedyarov and Nakamura. Nakamura opted for black as according to tournament regulations, he finished higher in the Prelims.

Mamedyarov - Nakamura, Armageddon

Position after 20.Qf1

Mamedyarov made a strange retreat with 20.Qf1. Instead of trying to assert his dominance on the position with 20.Nf5, he allowed Nakamura to take control and eventually gain advantage and claim victory. Thus Nakamura advanced to the Final to setup a clash with the world champion.

Mamedyarov's highlight of the day will definitely be beating Nakamura in three consecutive games | Photo: Amruta Mokal

*Nakamura won Armageddon.

Replay all Semi-Final Day 2 games

Replay the live stream

$1.5M Meltwater Champions Chess Tour: New In Chess Classic | SF Day 2 | Peter Leko and Tania Sachdev | Video: chess24

Semi-Final Day 2 Results

Nakamura wins the first set against Mamedyarov | Photo: Champions Chess Tour

Knockout Brackets

It goes without saying that Carlsen-Nakamura Finals will definitely be an exciting one | Photo: Champions Chess Tour

Schedule

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

Links

Official site

Tournament Regulations


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