Carlsen Leads Alone On Perfect 12/12
Magnus Carlsen had just won his match vs. Anish Giri. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Carlsen Leads Alone On Perfect 12/12

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen is the only player on a perfect 12/12 score at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals after beating GM Anish Giri 3-0 in round four. GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda lost his first match to GM Le Quang Liem, while GM Arjun Erigaisi won his first match against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

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Having secured victory of the Champions Chess Tour already before the Finals, Carlsen now has excellent chances to win the last event as well. Another clean sweep of three wins meant another relatively short day at the office and the full three match points.

On Thursday, the world champion won what was mostly a psychological battle with Giri. It started with a nice victory with the black pieces where he used the French Defense.

Carlsen: "I played it a bit in Miami. I beat him in the Advance French there, so it's not completely new. It's good to keep him guessing."

Also in the second game, Giri was doing OK out of the opening as Carlsen played not too ambitiously against the Grunfeld, but he then outmaneuvered Giri anyway. What happened in the third game surprised the commentators:

About not taking on e5 with the rook, Giri said: "I literally paused thinking that a weaker player than me would pause here and consider different captures, but a player like me will take with the rook instantly. And then I take with the pawn. It's really, like, next level. OK, I went very deep with my thinking, but it's so messed up. Instead of making a move that comes to mind, I am going, like, meta, and it's really backfiring."

In more general terms, Giri said: "Honestly at some point I was thinking that maybe, because my results were not so good against him, that maybe he is just a superior player, but today I realized there is definitely more to it than him being a superior player. And I think it was useful for me. I'm sure next time I will play better because it's impossible to play worse."

Magnus Carlsen Meltwater Finals 2022
A 3-0 sweep for Carlsen vs. Giri, despite questionable opening positions. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Duda couldn't keep pace with Carlsen. The Polish GM was struggling while Le, playing from his home in St. Louis, had a very good day.

"Definitely this is a big win because he has been doing so well in this tournament," said Le. "The previous matches he won very convincingly, so I told myself that I should just try to enjoy the game and try to play my best. And in the past few tournaments in the Tour, I did quite well against him so I wasn't too concerned."

Here's his win in game three, which came after two draws:

Le Quang Liem Meltwater finals
Le Quang Liem is playing from St. Louis. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

After starting with two losses, GM Wesley So is fully back on track and won his next two matches. In a close match, he came out victoriously vs. GM Praggnanandhaa R

"I don't think I played anything spectacular," said So. "Pragg was playing very well, very solid. He just over-pushed in game three and you know, if you lose with the white pieces in a four-game match, it's almost impossible to come back."

With the rounds starting past midnight for Erigaisi, the tournament hasn't been easy for him but in the fourth round he finally got on the scoreboard. He drew his two black games and won his two white games against Mamedyarov.

The very last move of their match could have come from Puzzle Rush. How quickly can you spot it?

Day 4 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Score
1 Magnus Carlsen 2848 12
2 Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2798 9
3 Le Quang Liem 2775 7
4 Wesley So 2774 6
5-6 Anish Giri 2732 4
5-6 Praggnanandhaa R. 2750 4
7-8 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2756 3
7-8 Arjun Erigaisi 2733 3

All games day 4

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals take place November 14-20, 2022 on chess24. The format is an eight-player round-robin; each round has four-game rapid matches, and the winner gets three points. The time control is 15 minutes for each game plus a 10-second increment. A tiebreak follows immediately in case of a 2-2 tie and in that case, the winner gets two points and the loser, one.

Previous coverage:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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