New in Chess Classic: Carlsen and Nakamura in the finals

by Klaus Besenthal
5/1/2021 – Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura will play the final of the New In Chess Classic online tournament. Carlsen safely won his second semifinal mini-match against Levon Aronian 3-1 on Friday after the first set had ended 2-2 the day before. The match between Nakamura and Shakriyar Mamedyarov was more exciting. Mamedyarov initially levelled the score with a convincing 3-0 victory in the second set. The Azerbaijani, however, went on to lose the tiebreaker in Armageddon. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Semifinals, Day 2

Carlsen 3 - 1 Aronian 

The second semifinal mini-match between Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian started with two draws, before game 3 turned the tide in Carlsen’s favour. Playing white, Aronian left the opening with a rather harmless position, and he never found a way to create problems for his famed opponent.


So in the fourth game, Aronian desperately needed a win, which is never good at this level  — and even more difficult when the opponent is Carlsen. Aronian attacked vehemently from the start, but in the end that only led to Carlsen managing another unchallenged win.



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Nakamura* 0 - 3 Mamedyarov 

*Won the tiebreaker 2-1

In the second semifinal set against Shakriyar Mamedyarov, Hikaru Nakamura was initially unsuccessful after he had managed a clear 3-1 victory the day before. Already in the first game, Naka didn’t find the right defence in a queen endgame that what was actually equal. A clear chance for our endgame expert Karsten Müller to send instructive notes.


Shakh then also won games 2 and 3, so that the fourth game was no longer needed. The Azerbaijani had already made up for his defeat the day before.

Karsten Müller took a closer look on game 3, when an interesting duel of bishop against knight appeared on the board in the endgame.


But there was a tiebreaker to be played still, and Nakamura is known to be one of the strongest blitz players in the world. Nonetheless, the first two games ended in draws. A final Armageddon game would decide the winner. Nakamura had black, so a draw would have been enough for him to enter the final. In that case, Naka would have reached the final without having won a single game on the second day of the semifinals — and he did not want that to happen. The Armageddon game was a clear-cut affair:



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Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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