Legends Of Chess SF: Nepomniachtchi Advances To Finals
Nepomniachtchi managed to guarantee the win and move on to the finals.

Legends Of Chess SF: Nepomniachtchi Advances To Finals

| 15 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi won his chess24 Legends of Chess semifinal match against GM Anish Giri and moves on to the final. Nepomniachtchi commented on his win: "I think it's a great achievement because the field is very strong, and qualifying to the finals is really good."

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 at 7:00 a.m. Pacific / 16:00 Central Europe.

Legends of chess semifinals

Giri – Nepomniachtchi 2.5-3.5

Overall, the match was very balanced up until the end. The first five games ended in draws, and the players almost had to decide things in an armageddon game as they did yesterday. Only their sixth game, when Nepomniachtchi played aggressively, proved decisive.

Legends of Chess semifinals.
Giri played good games but failed to win the match. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

As usual in this Giri-Nepomniachtchi match, the Russian super-grandmaster quickly played an unusual opening. After moving into what is known as the Baltic variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined and reaching a Chigorin-like setup, both players opted for a stable and secure game, which eventually ended in a draw.

The Berlin was the opening of choice for the second game of the match. Giri tried to mix things up by playing 5.Nd4 and transitioning the game into an Italian-resembling structure. Another balanced game with only minor imprecisions by both players ended in a draw.

legends of chess semifinal
Nepomniachtchi favored 2...Bf5 against Giri's Queen's Gambit today. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the third game of the day, Nepomniachtchi went for the same opening as he did in the first game of today's match. Giri, though, deviated from the line they had played before with 5.Bg5.

The game reached a Slav pawn structure with Nepo being a little cramped. Giri managed to get a nice pawn chain in the center of the board and had a positional advantage on move 26 but failed to take advantage of that to convert the game. The Russian was able to hold the position successfully and forced a draw.

For their fourth game, both players decided to play the same opening they had choses for their armageddon game from the previous day. Nepomniachtchi learned from his mistakes and played 11.c3 instead of his previous 11.Rxe8+.

Still, Giri got a slight advantage and had what could turn into a promising attack on move 32, but once more failed to convert. Another draw happened in game four when both players were left with a light-squared bishop, a rook, and six pawns each.

After the four rapid games were drawn, two blitz games were played. In the first those games, we saw a Grunfeld on the board just as we have the previous two days. Giri seemed to get a good positional advantage out of the opening again, but after one mistake playing 26.Qc2, Nepo found an interesting exchange sacrifice that turned the game around and gave him some winning chances.

Legends of Chess semifinals.
Nepomniachtchi got a chance to win but missed an important move to keep his attack going. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Once more, one small imprecision by the attacking side with 31...Bh4+ instead of 31...Qh4+ made all the difference and allowed Giri to equalize and squeeze a draw out of the position.

For the sixth and decisive game of the match, Nepomniachtchi went for a sharp line of the Scotch game. Giri had to take a risky decision by allowing a knight fork after White played 18.Nc5. Here is a look at what was clearly the game of the day: 

Legends of Chess semifinals.

After the dust settled, Nepo had won the game and the match while avoiding another armageddon game. The Russian super-GM will face GM Magnus Carlsen in the final, which starts on Monday, August 3. The winner of the event will earn $45,000.

All games Semifinals, Day 3

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 has 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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