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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