CCT Finals: Carlsen and So on 4/4

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/11/2023 – Magnus Carlsen defeated two of his strongest rivals on Sunday to keep his perfect score at the Champions Chess Tour Finals. The former world champion defeated Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura in consecutive rounds. Joining him in the lead is Wesley So, who got the better of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alireza Firouzja. | Photo: / Thomas Tischio

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Not a fan of the predictions

The commentators at the Champions Chess Tour Finals in Toronto often share their predictions before each match. A fierce competitor, Magnus Carlsen confessed that he pays attention to what the pundits predict before his games. The Norwegian jokingly pointed out that he takes notice, especially when they do not envision him as the winner!

For the time being, things are going great for Carlsen, though, as he defeated two of his strongest rivals on day 2 of the competition. First, he got a 1½-½ victory over Fabiano Caruana, and then he got the better of Hikaru Nakamura in the Armageddon decider. Carlsen thus has collected four wins in as many matches.

Also with a perfect score is Wesley So, who so far has defeated Nakamura, Denis Lazavik, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alireza Firouzja.

Two players have won twice and lost twice so far in Toronto, Caruana and Nodirbek Abdusattorov, while the remaining four participants have each collected a single win and three losses. The top two in the final standings of the single round-robin will advance directly to the semifinals, those placed third to sixth will move on to a ‘survival tage’, and the bottom two finishers will be knocked out of the competition.

Champions Chess Tour Finals 2023

Round 3: Naka bounces back, Abdusattorov beats Lazavik

Champions Chess Tour Finals 2023

Coming from consecutive losses in his first two matches on Saturday, Hikaru Nakamura bounced right back by scoring the first 2-0 victory of the event, against Alireza Firouzja. The other marquee match of the round saw Magnus Carlsen beating Fabiano Caruana with black and then drawing with white to collect his third match win of the tournament.

The remaining two matches went to Armageddon, with Wesley So holding a draw with black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (to win the match), and Nodirbek Abdusattorov beating Denis Lazavik with white in a long, technical endgame — analysed below by GM Karsten Müller, with additions by the ever-helpful Wolfram Schön and Zoran Petronijevic.

All games - Round 3

Denis Lazavik, Nodirbek Abdusattorov

Denis Lazavik and Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Photo: / Thomas Tischio

Round 4: Carlsen chooses white

Champions Chess Tour Finals 2023

The fourth round saw 17-year-old Denis Lazavik getting his first win of the event, as he beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with white in the Armageddon decider. Similarly, Magnus Carlsen got the white pieces in the sudden-death game against Hikaru Nakamura and obtained the win he needed to take down the famous streamer. Carlsen did not risk not getting the white pieces.

Wesley So, coincidentally, also played white and won in Armageddon, as he inflicted Alireza Firouzja’s second loss of the day.

In the one match that was decided ‘in regulation’ — i.e. after two games — Nodirbek Abdusattorov scored back-to-back wins to beat Fabiano Caruana, who had entered the second day of action sharing the lead with Carlsen and So.

All games - Round 4

Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja | Photo: / Thomas Tischio


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.