Carlsen, Giri, Nepomniachtchi, Svidler In Legends Knockout
Magnus Carlsen defeated all his opponents in the preliminaries. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Carlsen, Giri, Nepomniachtchi, Svidler In Legends Knockout

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

GMs Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Peter Svidler made it to the knockout phase of the chess24 Legends of Chess tournament. The four players will start their matches on Friday.

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 with the knockout starting from Friday, July 31st at 7:00 a.m. Pacific / 16:00 Central Europe.

Legends of Chess bracket knockout

Carlsen – Kramnik 3-1

After he had secured the top spot for the knockout bracket, the only question was whether Carlsen would finish his tournament with a ninth match victory. And he did, vs. Vladimir Kramnik. The 45-year-old Russian grandmaster earned $8,000 for finishing in sixth place.

We pick up the match in game two, after Carlsen had spoiled a winning position in the first. Although Kramnik later escaped with a draw, he missed a study-like draw that was pointed out almost right away by GM Judit Polgar in the official live broadcast:

Game three was basically the decisive win for Carlsen because Kramnik's all-in approach in the last, must-win game completely backfired. No, the strategic battle before that one was more interesting. Kramnik somehow got completely outplayed in the early middlegame:

Carlsen said: "It seems that in the last few matches, to use a football analogy, I am getting Lewandowski level chances, but I am converting them at a Firminio level. For those who don't watch football, that's pretty bad. But at least the last two games were kind of OK."

Magnus Carlsen Legends
Carlsen: "I am getting Lewandowski level chances, but I am converting them at a Firminio level." Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Gelfand – Nepomniachtchi 3-2

Nepomniachtchi had already secured his second place and ended up losing his match with GM Boris Gelfand. It was pretty impressive to see the 52-year-old Israeli grandmaster winning the armageddon game in the last two rounds, taking into account how tiring this event must have been for the players: nine mini-matches in a row, without a single rest day.

Gelfand, who earned $7,000 for finishing in seventh place, started with a loss, but then he punished his opponent's frivolous opening in game two:

Nepomniachtchi seemed on his way to winning game three, but in a queen endgame with two extra pawns, he accidentally allowed a threefold repetition (and couldn't stop laughing on camera!). After a short draw in game four, Gelfand defended the old guard wonderfully:

Boris Gelfand legends
Two armageddon wins in a row for Gelfand. Photo: Maria Emelianova/ 

Giri – Svidler 2.5-1.5

Giri went into the last round with 15 match points vs. 14 for Svidler, so the winner would take third place and avoid meeting Carlsen in the semifinals. Giri decided the match in game three, with the black pieces. Svidler still finished in fourth place because Kramnik didn't beat Carlsen.

Anish Giri Legends
Giri is not facing Carlsen just yet. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ivanchuk - Anand 2.5-2.5

GMs Vasyl Ivanchuk and Vishy Anand drew five games which means that the black player in the armageddon game emerged as the winner of the match. That was Ivanchuk, who earned $10,000 for finishing in fifth place. The Ukrainian GM escaped in what should have been a won endgame for Anand, who won $5,000 for ninth place.

Vassily Ivanchuk legends
$10,000 was a fine payday for Vassily Ivanchuk, who showed wonderful chess over the last nine days. There must be few chess fans who wouldn't like to see him invited to top events more often. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ding - Leko 2.5-1.5

GM Ding Liren defeated GM Peter Leko in the first game and held on to it in the three draws that followed. The game might easily be overlooked among all the fireworks, but it was in fact a superb display of power moves throughout by Ding. Despite his disappointing score, the Chinese GM can still reach the Grand Final if Carlsen ends up winning the Legends tournament.

Leko's simplifying 11...exd4 and 12...d5 wasn't enough for full equality, and the Hungerian GM never really came close after. He finished last and earned $4,000, while Ding got $6,000 for eighth place.

Preliminary Phase | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 BP MP
1 Magnus Carlsen 2881 2891 2 3 2 3 3 23 25
2 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2778 2905 2 3 2 2 2 2 20½ 20
3 Anish Giri 2731 2798 1 ½ 2 2 18 18
4 Peter Svidler 2742 2768 1 2 17½ 14
5 Vasyl Ivanchuk 2686 2803 2 2 2 3 2 2 18½ 13
6 Vladimir Kramnik 2756 2757 1 2 1 2 16½ 12
7 Boris Gelfand 2702 2760 0 2 2 3 ½ 2 15 11
8 Ding Liren 2836 2696 ½ ½ 1 14 9
9 Viswanathan Anand 2751 2726 2 2 2 ½ ½ 2 14½ 7
10 Peter Leko 2710 2752 2 2 2 2 15½ 6

All games round 9

The chess24 Legends of Chess runs July 21-August 5. The preliminary phase was 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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