Legends Of Chess: Carlsen Beats Nepomniachtchi, Giri Qualifies For Knockout
Anish Giri lost, but qualified anyway. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Legends Of Chess: Carlsen Beats Nepomniachtchi, Giri Qualifies For Knockout

| 20 | Chess Event Coverage

In the round-eight clash of players who had won all their matches, GM Magnus Carlsen defeated GM Ian Nepomniachtchi in the armageddon game. GM Anish Giri lost to GM Vasyl Ivanchuk but still qualified for the chess24 Legends of Chess tournament's knockout phase.

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 – Nepomniachtchi 2.5-2.5

Only one player could maintain his winning streak for at least one more round. It was the world champion who did so, thereby securing the top spot in the pairings for the knockout phase.

Whereas Nepomniachtchi deserves credit for putting up a great fight, it must be said that Carlsen made life more difficult for himself than necessary as he missed wins in just about every game. "It was pretty bad," was how he summed it up.

His win in the second game was nonetheless pretty impressive, but, always self-critical, Carlsen pointed out he was "slightly lucky" because he missed Black's Qa1+ to a4. "But it's not surprising there's a win there considering how dodgy his position is."

"I just lost my mind," was Carlsen's comment on his loss in game four. In a must-win situation, Nepomniachtchi went for a piece sacrifice that proved remarkably playable in a rapid game.

A curiosity was that the Russian GM played so fast that he had a few more seconds on the clock than what he started with, which meant that on average, he took less than 10 seconds per move. Not a bad way to beat the world champion on demand!  

And so Nepomniachtchi was only the second player to force an armageddon vs. Carlsen, after Ivanchuk. It was one of the best fights of the tournament, where—as always with armageddon—the clock played a major role.

Instead of accepting the move repetition on move 52, Nepomniachtchi decided to play on because Carlsen had 25 seconds left on the clock there (with no increment). In the final position, 29 moves later, Carlsen still had 13 seconds left. His bullet skills had paid off.

Magnus Carlsen legends
Carlsen is a pretty good bullet player as well! Photo: Peter Doggers/

Giri - Ivanchuk 2-3

Giri also lost in the armageddon but in such a case the loser gets one point and the winner two. This point was crucial for the Dutchman, who will now finish in either third or fourth place whatever happens as the first tiebreak is head-to-head and he beat and GM Vladimir Kramnik. Therefore, he secured himself a spot in the knockout phase.

Ivanchuk played an excellent armageddon game to become the first older player to beat a younger one in armageddon in this tournament. There was one moment where Giri could have drawn the rook endgame, though, and it was super instructive.

Obviously, Giri knows the importance of king activity in the endgame and, as he tweeted, he went for another standard technique instead: cutting off the opponent's king. Sometimes it's hard to choose which technique is the best.

Kramnik - Svidler 1.5-2.5

He could hardly believe it himself, but GM Peter Svidler is currently in fourth place and so he has excellent chances to make it to the next stage as well. The popular commentator said his play was again bad, but not as bad as before. That was enough to beat Kramnik in the first game and then holding three draws.

Peter Svidler legends
Svidler is close to reaching the knockout as well. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Gelfand - Leko 3-2

Like Ivanchuk, GM Boris Gelfand defeated his younger opponent (but still in the Legends category) GM Peter Leko in the armageddon:

Anand - Ding 0.5-2.5

GM Vishy Anand couldn't enjoy his first win for long. In the battle among the tailenders, he lost in just three games to GM Ding Liren. Not hindered by his internet this time, the Chinese GM won twice as Black.

It's clear that something is really off when Anand is losing games like this: 

Vishy Anand Legends
This is not the Anand we know. Photo: Peter Doggers/ 

Preliminary Phase | Round 8 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 BP MP
1 Magnus Carlsen 2881 2885 2 3 . 2 3 20 22
2 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2778 2935 2 3 2 . 2 2 18½ 19
3 Anish Giri 2731 2794 1 ½ . 2 2 15½ 15
4 Peter Svidler 2742 2784 1 . 2 16 14
5 Vladimir Kramnik 2756 2764 . 2 1 2 15½ 12
6 Vasyl Ivanchuk 2686 2799 2 2 2 3 2 . 16½ 11
7 Boris Gelfand 2702 2734 0 . 2 2 ½ 3 13 9
8 Peter Leko 2710 2753 2 2 2 2 . 14 6
9 Viswanathan Anand 2751 2720 2 2 ½ . 2 ½ 12½ 6
10 Ding Liren 2836 2681 ½ ½ 1 . 11½ 6

All games round 8

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.

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