Gelfand Beats Ding In Legends Of Chess Opening Round
Boris Gelfand showed his class in round one. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Gelfand Beats Ding In Legends Of Chess Opening Round

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Boris Gelfand scored an upset victory over GM Ding Liren in the first round of the chess24 Legends of Chess tournament that started on Tuesday. The event is part of the Magnus Carlsen Tour and brings together top GMs with older legends of the game.

How to watch?
The games of the chess24 Legends of Chess can be found here as part of our live events platform. GM Hikaru Nakamura and IM Levy Rozman are providing daily commentary on Nakamura's Twitch channel starting from 7:00 a.m. Pacific / 16:00 Central Europe.

After the Magnus Carlsen Invitational, the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge, and the Chessable Masters, the fourth tournament in the Magnus Carlsen Tour got underway on Tuesday. It's another fairly long tournament (the final day is August 5) and lots of top-level rapid games can be enjoyed. The preliminary phase has nine days with five best-of-four matches each!

It is great to see some of the older giants of the game playing, and it is even nicer to see that a former world number-three beat the current world number-three. Although GMs Vishy Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, and Vasyl Ivanchuk lost their first matches, Gelfand toppled Ding–and rather convincingly.

Gelfand – Ding 2.5-0.5

Former world championship contender Gelfand impressed on this first day. It was quality chess that Ding didn't have an answer to; he drew his two black games but lost his two white games.

In the second game (see below), the Chinese player lost three(!) pawns and eventually went down deep in the endgame. The third was a draw, but Gelfand stole the show there as well.

The last game was remarkable. Ding tried something completely different and went for 1.e4, but by move 16 he was looking at a lost position and threw in the towel. 

Carlsen – Giri 3-1

GMs Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri met in the very first round, which was a bit of a coincidence after another recent clash on Twitter. Giri had expressed his disappointment with Carlsen's team members GM Laurent Fressinet and GM Peter Heine Nielsen but also got involved directly with Carlsen himself, about a week ago. Two examples:

Most chess fans prefer that the two fight over the chessboard, and in that area Carlsen is still dominating. This time, he beat Giri with two wins and two draws.

The first game saw an early g2-g4 push in the opening—something we can hardly call modern or fresh anymore, but still captivates.

In an interview for the official broadcast, Carlsen said about his Twitter clash with Giri:

"If he indeed feels offended by something, then that wasn't supposed to happen. It was always friendly banter to me. I do take pretty serious exception to the notion that there is a PR campaign against him because Team Magnus sees him as a serious threat. If it's banter, then it's OK, and it's just a little bit above my head, but if he does believe it that sounds more on the delusional side to me, but I don't know."

Kramnik – Nepomniachtchi 2-3

Another treat for the fans is the participation of Kramnik, who retired from classical chess more than a year ago but still plays at faster time controls every now and then. He took the lead with a nice trick in game two (although other moves would have won as well).

Vladimir Kramnik
The 14th world champion, Vladimir Kramnik. Photo: Peter Doggers/

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi struck back right away with checkmate and would later win the match in the armageddon game. (As always, all games can be found at the end of the report.)

Ivanchuk – Leko 2-3

In a match between two legendary players with relatively little experience with online chess, it was former world championship contender GM Peter Leko who ended up winning—in the armageddon. The game that stood out, however, was Ivanchuk's win with a King's Gambit. His 31.e5! was the move of the day and, in hindsight, this game should have been chosen as the Game of the Day instead:

Vasyl Ivanchuk
A romantic masterpiece by Vasyl Ivanchuk. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Anand – Svidler 1.5-2.5

Anand and GM Peter Svidler started with three fairly quiet draws, but then Svidler decided the match in game four. Or rather, Anand decided it negatively as he blundered terribly after playing a good game that involved an early exchange sac.

Viswanathan Anand
 A tough loss for Anand. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

All games round 1

The chess24 Legends of Chess runs July 21-August 5. The preliminary phase is a 10-player round-robin with rounds consisting of four-game rapid matches each day. The knockout phase will have three such matches per round. The prize fund is $150,000 with $45,000 for first place, while the winner also qualifies for the Grand Final of the Magnus Carlsen Tour. The time control is 15 minutes and a 10-second increment.

More from PeterDoggers
Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race