New in Chess Classic: Carlsen takes the lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/26/2021 – With two wins and three draws, Magnus Carlsen climbed to sole first place in the preliminaries of the New in Chess Classic. The world champion and Hikaru Nakamura are the only two players who remain undefeated in the online tournament. Naka, who also collected two wins on Sunday, is now sharing second place with Alireza Firouzja. The best score of day 2, was obtained by Vietnamese star Le Quang Liem. | Pictured: Carlsen, Tari and Christiansen are playing from the Meltwater offices in Oslo.

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Nakamura and Firouzja a half point back

The New in Chess Classic is the fifth event of the Champions Chess Tour, and it is very likely that it will be the fifth event in which Magnus Carlsen wins the preliminary stage. The world champion is currently the sole leader with a 7/10 score. On Monday, five more rounds will be played to decide which eight players move on to the knockout stage. 

Usual suspects Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzja are sharing second place a half point behind Carlsen. Three players are tied on 6 points, including Le Quang Liem, who was the strongest performer on day 2 of the competition.

Some big names are in real danger of being eliminated, with Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Sergey Karjakin needing a massive performance on day 3 to finish the preliminaries in the top half of the standings table. 

New in Chess Classic 2021

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Carlsen kicked off the day playing black against his compatriot Aryan Tari. The latter managed to survive a tough middlegame, but faltered in the endgame with queen and bishop versus queen and knight.


Tari mistakenly offered a queen trade with 48.Qg4, and Carlsen went on to score a 66-move win. Karsten Müller analysed the endgame from this point on. Don’t miss his instructive annotations.


Le Quang Liem also kicked off the day with a win, as he beat 15-year-old Praggnanandhaa with the white pieces.


This was the right time to castle for Black, but Pragg was more ambitious and continued with 17...Ne5. Le immediately grabbed the initiative with 18.Nh3 Qh6 19.f4 Ng6 20.Rf1


There followed 20...Bd7 21.Rg5 Ne7 22.Nf2 and the youngster tried to unravel with 22...e5


After 23.Rxe5 f6 there was no looking back. Le went on to get the win seven moves later

The Indian prodigy lost to Leinier Dominguez in the next round, but managed to recover lost ground by beating former sole leader Teimour Radjabov in round 9. Radjabov blundered the game away in one move.


30...Ra8 loses to 31.Rd8+ Rxd8 32.Qxd8+ Kh7 33.e7 and White will get a second queen. 

Standings after Round 10


All games



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.


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lajosarpad lajosarpad 4/26/2021 09:48
Chess is a mind game where players might have to rush due to time-trouble, but in general they have plenty of time to contemplate. These rapid online events lost the magic that chess creates and provide quantity instead of quality. It might also damage the chess abilities of the participants who get used to rushing.
ICCF Grandmaster ICCF Grandmaster 4/26/2021 01:38
Why on earth do they call it "Classic"?
This is rather new in chess, renaming rapid chess to classic chess. I wonder when we call bullet chess classic chess.
wethalon wethalon 4/26/2021 12:17
To say that Radjabov blundered the game away in one move because White gets a second queen is way too easy (and not fair to Radjabov). White is going to get that second queen anyhow, and the question is how Black can create a perpetual. In the diagrammed position (after 30.Rd7), White is threatening 31.Rd8 Rd8 32.Qd8 Kh7 33.e7, so how to defend? At first, the computer's suggestion of 30... Qd1 31.Kg2 Qg4 is mysterious, but the point is that with the white king on g2, Black has (after 32.Rd8 Rd8 33.Qd8 Kh7 34.e7) 34... Qe4 35.Kf1/g1 Qb1 36.Kh2 Qf1 with perpetual. With the white king on g1 (as in the game), Black can only check through 33... Qd1 and then is out of immediate checks after 34.Kg2. It's pretty subtle: checking on e4 and b1 draws, while checking on d1 loses. So yes, 30... Ra8 was a blunder but not for an obvious reason. I appreciate that Chessbase offers quick analyses of ongoing tournaments, but I often wish they were just a few moves deeper.