Airthings Masters Day 6: Nepo, Carlsen Meet Again In Finals

Airthings Masters Day 6: Nepo, Carlsen Meet Again In Finals

| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

It's GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi who will renew their rivalry when they meet in the final match played over two days of competition. Both of these chess giants won their respective semifinal matches by a score of 2.5-0.5.

How to watch?
The games of the Airthings Masters knockouts can be found here as part of our live events platform.
Airthings Masters 2022 How to Watch

Airthings Masters | Day 6 Standings

Airthings Masters 2022 Knockout Bracket

Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi didn't need the allocated four games to win their matches against GM Vladislav Artemiev and GM Andrey Esipenko.

Just like in his yesterday's match, the world champion established a lead by winning game one—which, incidentally, takes my "Game of the Day" honors.

Airthings Masters 2022 Day 5 game of the day

I know it's easy to say such things after the match, but in my opinion, Artemiev took himself out of contention by not managing the clock well. It's inconceivable to be able to find the best moves when you only have seconds left. Yet, Vladislav habitually puts himself in this unfavorable situation. He got away with it against GM Ding Liren, but today he simply had no chance.

Game two followed a typical pattern of a quiet Grunfeld Defense line, where White is trying for a sustained endgame push. It's probably not an optimal strategy against Carlsen. In the rare cases when Magnus loses, it usually happens in complex middlegames where he may overestimate his position or simply blunder a tactic.

After this torture, there was simply no fight left, and game three was more of a formality. Again, Carlsen advances because he uses all of his chances, especially when it counts.

Airthings Masters
Carlsen advances to the final, where he will meet his 2021 World Champioship challenger, Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Nepomniachtchi's road to the final could have been considerably more difficult, had Esipenko taken advantage of his chance in game one.

As wild game as it was at the end, Andrey should have taken it without allowing any fireworks. We can safely assume Ian cannot count on gifts such as this when he faces Magnus tomorrow and the day after.

Confidence plays a large part in chess, more so with some people rather than with others. Nepo was able to bounce back nicely and took game two in spectacular fashion.

It wasn't Esipenko's best effort. Perhaps, he couldn't adjust to the lightning-fast rhythm of his opponent's play. Watching Andrey's games, I noticed his fundamental approach, based on accurate calculation—but that's hardly a reliable way to approach rapid games. With more experience, I'm sure he will find the right balance.

Trailing by a point with two games to go, Esipenko tested a risky line in the modern Italian Game. To give Nepo credit, he didn't back out of complications. In the end, again, the clock was Andrey's undoing.

To conclude this report I will express my delight to see a Carlsen-Nepo "part two," even in online rapid chess. Let the best man win!

Airthings Masters
Nepomniachtchi will face Carlsen in the final. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

All Games Day 6

The 2022 Champions Chess Tour's Airthings Masters runs February 19-27 on chess24. The preliminary phase is a 16-player rapid (15+10) round-robin. The top eight players advance to a knockout that consists of one four-game rapid match during the quarterfinals and semifinals and two four-game rapid matches during the final.  Play advance to blitz (5+3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black has four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match ends in a tie. The total prize fund of the event is $150,000, with $750 for each win and $250 for each draw in the preliminaries.

Previous reports:

More from GM AlexYermo
Airthings Masters Day 8: Carlsen Wins First Leg Of Champions Tour

Airthings Masters Day 8: Carlsen Wins First Leg Of Champions Tour

Airthings Masters Day 7: Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen Draw First Four Final Games

Airthings Masters Day 7: Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen Draw First Four Final Games