Champions Chess Tour Final: Carlsen beats Nakamura and increases his lead

by André Schulz
9/30/2021 – Magnus Carlsen again increased his lead in the Champions Chess Tour final. In his round five match against Hikaru Nakamura Carlsen demonstrated impressive endgame technique by winning two instructive rook endings which brought him a 2.5-0.5 victory. Wesley So, who can still hope to catch Carlsen, was on the brink of defeat against Anish Giri, when the Dutch number 1 blundered the crucial game away. | Graphics: Champions Chess Tour

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Thanks to his performance in the previous Meltwater Chess Champion tournaments, Magnus Carlsen started the finals of the series with a four-point lead. In round 1 he convincingly defeated Jan-Krzysztof Duda but in rounds 2 and 3 he had to go into tiebreaks and in round 4 he lost against Vladislav Artemiev. But in round 5, against Hikaru Nakamura, Carlsen bounced back in style. He started the match with a fine win in a rook endgame.

 

The second game ended in a draw, but the third game saw another rook endgame that led to the same result as the ending in game 1: Carlsen won – and the match was over.

 

The Norwegian TV channel TV 2 broadcasts the tournament live, and in an interview after the match, Carlsen said Nakamura had not offered much resistance this time, adding: "With so little resistance, it's not hard to play well."

Master Class Vol.8 - Magnus Carlsen 2nd Edition

Let our authors show you how Carlsen tailored his openings to be able to outplay his opponents strategically in the middlegame or to obtain an enduring advantage into the endgame.

In the match between Anish Giri and Wesley So, who is Carlsen's closest (and only serious) pursuer, Giri suffered from a sudden blackout that cost him the match. He was leading the match 1.5-0.5 and had a won position in game 3, when he suddenly blundered:

 

So equalized the match and won the blitz-tiebreak.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vladislav Artemiev had a lively battle.

 

Mamedyarov won game three, but with a win in game four Artemiev decided the match in his favour, winning 2.5-1.5. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave also defeated Jan Krzysztof Duda 2.5-1.5 and this was also the result of the match between Teimour Radjabov Levon Aronian.

In the table, Carlsen is now again five points ahead of So but with a score of 10 points out of a maximum of 15 he would also lead the finals without the bonus points.

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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