Carlsen Back To Sole Lead At Legends Of Chess
Magnus Carlsen, back in sole lead. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Carlsen Back To Sole Lead At Legends Of Chess

| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen is back as the sole leader at the chess24 Legends of Chess tournament. He beat GM Ding Liren in four games while GM Ian Nepomniachtchi needed an armageddon to inflict a sixth match loss on GM Viswanathan Anand.

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.

Carlsen – Ding 2.5-1.5

As was agreed in advance, Carlsen started his match against Ding four hours earlier so he could watch... football. It was the final weekend in England and therefore the decisive phase for Fantasy Premier League, an online competition with over seven million participants and Carlsen had been ranked number-one twice during the season. He went into the final weekend in fourth place and ended finishing 11th.

In a match with three draws, all was decided in game two where it seems Ding made an early mistake in the Anti-Moscow variation of the Slav. Carlsen played quickly for 17 moves, and two moves later Ding made another mistake that was, in fact, a losing novelty.

Ding Liren Legends
Ding Liren. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Anand – Nepomniachtchi 2-3

Nepomniachtchi is the only other player who also won all his matches, but he needed one more armageddon than Carlsen. On Sunday his victim was the luckless Anand, who is still the only player to lose in all rounds. From a tournament rating perspective, Anand and Ding have performed equally disappointing, even though playing at the 2672 level isn't so bad for most of our readers.

The game of the day is Nepomniachtchi's first win, mostly chosen because of the romantic opening moves. Anand was lost quickly: 

Anand's on-demand win in game four is all the more fascinating. Nepomniachtchi again played in Nezhmetdinov style, giving up no fewer than three pawns and then a piece for a not too convincing attack, which Anand stylishly refuted.

The Top Five Moves of Rashid Nezhmetdinov

Check out our Lesson with GM Simon Williams on one of the most spectacular players in chess history.


The armageddon game was a repeat of what we've seen before in this tournament with Anand having difficulty keeping the pace, getting low on time, and then blundering. One seasoned chess reporter tweeted his ambivalence with this mixture of great chess and gross blunders. GM Jonathan Tisdall wrote:

Jonathan Tisdall
Jonathan Tisdall.

"At the risk of causing heated debate on the internet, I have to confess that I am feeling saturated with all this online fast chess.... I guess/fear that the splat factor is what is making the new formats popular though.... 

"I don't think I want much—just a better chance of games ending less randomly. Like maybe testing a higher increment for starters. My awe at how good the games can be at high velocity steadily increased, but is now matched by chronic sadness of how often these games are sure to be spoiled by the tempo.... The splat factor has become too high for me to really enjoy the games."

Gelfand – Kramnik 2-3

The match between legends GM Boris Gelfand and GM Vladimir Kramnik was a clash between two great players who have played 95 games since they first met over the board at the 1993 Linares tournament. It was Gelfand who started with an excellent win:

Boris Gelfand Legends
Boris Gelfand. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Kramnik dominated the armageddon game where Gelfand was struggling on the clock and on the board:

Ivanchuk – Svidler 2-3

There was even a third armageddon game on this day—in the match between GM Vasyl Ivanchuk and GM Peter Svidler. The Russian GM was calling the shots for most of the game that was eventually decided by the clock. Ivanchuk lost on time in an endgame that was perhaps still holdable:

Peter Svidler legends
Peter Svidler. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Giri – Leko 2.5-1.5

GM Anish Giri and GM Peter Leko both won good games before they drew in game three: Giri managed to outplay the Hungarian GM in an equal endgame, and then Leko played a positional beauty where his 44.Bb5 recalls Capablanca's 55.Ba6 against Treybal at Karlsbad 1929 (included in the annotations):

While his openings are generally still quite good, Leko quickly slipped into a lost position in game four:

Preliminary Phase | Round 6 Standings

Rank Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 BP MP
1 Magnus Carlsen 2881 2873 . . . 3 3 2 15½ 17
2 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2778 2879 . 2 3 . 2 2 14½ 16
3 Vladimir Kramnik 2756 2790 . 2 . 2 . 13 12
4 Peter Svidler 2742 2754 . 1 . . 2 12 11
5 Anish Giri 2731 2760 1 ½ . . 2 . 11 11
6 Boris Gelfand 2702 2722 0 . 2 . . 3 10½ 7
7 Vasyl Ivanchuk 2686 2721 2 . 2 . 2 . 11½ 6
8 Peter Leko 2710 2727 2 . 2 2 . 10 4
9 Viswanathan Anand 2751 2672 2 ½ 2 . . 2 . 3
10 Ding Liren 2836 2672 ½ . 1 . . 3

All games round 6

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.

Earlier posts:

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