2021 Magnus Carlsen Invitational: Giri, Nepomniachtchi Reach Final As Hikaru Team Breaks $ 1 Million in Donations

The final round of the 2021 Magnus Carlsen Invitational will be played between GM Anish Giri and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. While Giri defeated Wesley So twice, Nepomniachtchi lost his second game to GM Magnus Carlsen but then won the playoff.

During the live broadcast on GM Hikaru Nakamura’s Twitch channel, more than $ 360,000 was raised for the humanitarian group CARE. During the third fundraiser in a month or two, the total donation amount exceeded $ 1 million.

Carlsen vs Nepomniachtchi 2.5-1.5 / 0.5-1.5

“Clearly, today was a lottery, and I was the one who got the winning ticket,” Nepomniachtchi said shortly after denying Carlsen a place in the final. While he was pleased with how he won the match, the Russian master once again wanted to point out that there are still doubts about the level of chess in these online tournaments.

“It wasn’t about chess, most of the games and most of the mistakes,” he said. “This is what happens when you play chess many days in a row without any rest: you end up with blundering things.”

Clearly, today it was a lottery, and I was the one who got the winning ticket.
—Ian Nepomniachtchi

“I’m really disappointed with my performance today …. Of course, congratulations to John, and I wish him every success in the finals,” said Carlsen. today very poor. This is not the kind of play I want to show at all. “

Magnus Carlsen
Carlsen: “Today was a very poor day.” Photo: Maria Emelianova / Chess.com.

After a draw in game one, Nepomniachtchi seemed to win a second game well but as it turned out, both players lost a few things here and there. For example, the push of soldier 19 … h4 was based on retrospect: Nepomniachtchi had completely figured out that White could hold his tent h by just pushing it to h5!

Winning the first game in his hand, Nepomniachtchi needed just one more draw to qualify for the final. Carlsen, on the other hand, had to win two games in a row. And he did.

It could be said that it was a game of three. “There are 1,001 ways to draw like White but I thought okay, let ‘s play a normal game; I don’t want to go for a lottery,” he said. “At some point I was, I think, almost winning out of the opening.”

Ian Nepomniachtchi
Nepomniachtchi: “There are 1,001 ways to draw like White.” Photo: Maria Emelianova / Chess.com.

“Winning” stretches it a bit, but certainly the Russian GM was okay early in the midfield. It was then a big fight where Carlsen appeared victorious. Although he won this game, Carlsen said he had played “very badly”: “I made a number of blunders there, especially early and also later. I felt like it was kind of a fallout there rather than me doing something great. “

Nepomniachtchi: “This is normal when one player has nothing to lose and another player has everything to lose. Usually a miracle comes here. At least once we reach the stage a blitz, Magnus finally had something to lose. “

Carlsen got a playoff as he won his next game remarkably smoothly, using a system by which Giri defeated the same player at the Euro Rapid Opera last month. See the game browser below for that one.

The first blitz game came to a strange end. Finding himself in a bit of trouble, Nepomniachtchi at one point melted into a theoretically drawn R vs RN endgame. Carlsen played on him for a while (as he should), but then a rook blundered (slipped the mouse?) When he was on the defensive side for a while.

Carlsen ‘s loss in the last blitz game was unnecessary and, in a way, due to overweight. He had played for two results in endgame with queen and rock for both, with the improved soldier structure. Eventually, an endgame queen came on board with a passing soldier for Nepomniachtchi.

Computer analysis shows that Carlsen may still be at a very late stage but also that Nepomniachtchi gave his opponent a second chance:

“In the end, what decided the game was that he managed to keep his head very calm in the blitz, and I certainly didn’t,” Carlsen said. that I was happy to get to the blitz, but I still had a strong feeling. I knew the work was not far from done even though I had won a game or two. I felt like I was still not playing great and in his case, he was still kind of playing with cash there because he knew even though he had fallen and on both games. finally lost, that he could still start from scratch in the tiebreaks. “

He managed to keep his head very still in the blitz, and he certainly didn’t.
—Magnus Carlsen

With Carlsen out, the world champion has now played in five tournaments without winning one since turning 30: Chess.com Speed ​​Chess Tournament, Airthings Masters, Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Opera Euro Rapid , and this one.

“I thought I shouldn’t disappoint the crowd and let Wesley So against Magnus Carlsen’s game,” Giri said before it was known that this game was going to take place – but this time as the fight for third place.

Giri vs So 2.5-1.5

Giri said he was “delighted” to be in the final after winning. So, winner of two competitions in this round so far. The Dutchman’s second victory came down to one minute in the fourth game after three draws. In a slightly better position, So terribly blundered non-character.

“I had such a controlling position, and then he encouraged this push from 22.f4 from the king that weakens me a little bit,” Giri said of what had happened earlier. Also infamously, he continued to weaken his king by pushing another soldier, 26.g4, to call him later. “so depressed and so unsolicited. “

Black has several moves to keep his advantage there, but with one move so ruined everything.

“This blunder, I saw it,” Giri said. “This is such a funny move, but I considered it for him, and I was hoping he would fall for it.”

Explaining how these mistakes happen at such a high level, Giri said: “In those final rounds, of course, there is no one alone. Even the biggest players just become their own shadow. “

Anish Giri
Anish Giri. Photo: Maria Emelianova / Chess.com.

Having qualified for the semifinals, Giri said his new plan was to win the tournament. After reaching the final round, he noted that his motivation is mostly external: “Honestly, the thing is, I should care about the benefits of competition because people around me seem to care. “

What we will see is a final between two players whose next event could be crucial for their future career: the candidates ’competition. That has a huge impact on their opening choices in this final.

As Nepomniachtchi said: “We shouldn’t expect big opening revelations from both of us tomorrow but okay, who knows?”

All Games Day 7

Magnus Carlsen Invitational at the Chess Tour will run March 13-21 on chess24. The premature start-up stage was 16-player (15 | 10). The top eight players went on to hit six days that include two days of fast-paced four-game playoffs, leading to blitz (5 | 3) and armageddon. (White has five minutes, four unbeaten black) only if his hitting game is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $ 220,000 with $ 60,000 for first place.


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