Nakamura Reaches Lindores Abbey Final As Carlsen Blunders Rook
The moment in Alexandra Botez & Robert Hess's live broadcast when Carlsen blunders a rook.

Nakamura Reaches Lindores Abbey Final As Carlsen Blunders Rook

| 85 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Hikaru Nakamura is GM Daniil Dubov's opponent in the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge final and not GM Magnus Carlsen. Their third match in the semifinals went all the way to armageddon, in which the world champion blundered a full rook.

How to watch?
The games of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge can be found here as part of our live events platform. GM Robert Hess and WFM Alexandra Botez are providing daily commentary on Nakamura's Twitch channel, embedded on

After the first matchday, when Nakamura got crushed 3-0, it seemed he was winning the Twitch battle but losing the chess fight. Today, he got both.

The live broadcast with WFM Alexandra Botez and GM Robert Hess was watched by over 60,000 concurrent viewers on Twitch over the different channels that were covering it (directly on Nakamura's channel, or via Botez's, or via popular streamers like Forsen and Reckful). With at least 15,000 concurrent viewers on the official broadcast added to that, we're getting close to world championship levels of popularity, which says everything about the crazy times chess is in right now.

Joining the broadcast after his match win, Nakamura thanked the tens of thousands of viewers and said his online following had "really inspired" him. 

He also pointed out that the victory was much more important to him than the individual game wins he scored over his career against the world champion in almost exclusively rapid and blitz games.

The reason? This was an event over multiple games and days.

"Beating Magnus in what was basically a 12-game match in any format is very rare and is a great feeling," Nakamura said.

The match started with a relatively quiet draw (see below in the game viewer), which was perhaps a small psychological victory for Nakamura, who played with the black pieces. He then took the lead in the second game, a game where everything fell into place for him.

Carlsen deviated from the Berlin and chose the Open Ruy Lopez instead. Nakamura was prepared for that as well and chose 9.Qe2 and 10.Rd1, a line first played at the highest level by Paul Keres against Max Euwe in the 1948 world championship.

While Nakamura could ride on preparation for a bit longer, Carlsen was burning time, possibly not aware of the game Wei-Vidit, Danzhou 2018 which was followed for 23 moves. His deviation was a slightly risky move, which cost him more time later on.

With less than two minutes on the clock against still 15 minutes for Nakamura, Carlsen made the decisive mistake. An excellent game from the American.

Carlsen struck back immediately in a game Nakamura never really managed to get into. He tried to get out of a somewhat passive position with active moves, but that didn't work and Carlsen quickly won material.

Game four was another draw, and so the fans got what they wanted: an armageddon game!

The same line in the Queen's Gambit Declined was played, and although Nakamura got a better position, Carlsen was still better, and at some point winning a pawn. He could have decided the game in his favor on move 37 with a move spotted by Botez in the live show, although with the help of an evaluation bar.

Carlsen's knight retreat was surprising, and soon his advantage was gone. The rook blunder that followed was shocking, but in fact, didn't matter much as a draw wouldn't have been enough for him either.

Afterward, Carlsen commented on the match for Norwegian television. He was critical of his play, and praised his opponent. One tweet, translated into English:

Shortly after that, Carlsen tweeted: "I'll be back," while Nakamura continued the Twitter duel with another Twitch term: "GG YO," something he has been saying a lot in during his streams after disposing of an opponent.

Carlsen then added another tweet:

The final of the tournament, between Dubov and Nakamura, will start on Monday. Again, it can last up to three mini-matches.

The Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge runs May 19-June 3 on Chess24 in association with the Lindores Abbey Heritage Society. The prize fund is $150,000 with a first prize of $45,000. The time control is 15 minutes for all moves with a 10-second increment after each move. No draw offers are allowed before move 40. 

Lindores Abbey bracket final

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Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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