Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals: Nakamura strikes back in set three to regain lead

Hikaru Nakamura won the first set 2.5-1.5 and lost the the second 3.5-2.5 before winning the third set 3.5-2.5 against Magnus Carlsen to regain the lead.

In the best-of-seven set final, Hikaru Nakamura currently leads 2-1 and he was pleased with the day's work.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Hikaru Nakamura continues to torment Magnus Carlsen. For the second time in three sets of their title-clash in the $300,000 Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals, Nakamura took the lead following a 3.5-2.5 shocker, after losing the first game on Sunday.

In the best-of-seven set final, Nakamura currently leads 2-1. Nakamura was pleased with the day's work. "The first two days… I really felt that I played as well as I'm ever going to play, honestly, and so to lose yesterday was disappointing, but again, I guess what I would say is I've played Magnus so many times over the years and the
main thing is I've never really felt like I'm getting good positions or I'm in the game. It seems like out of the opening I'm always under pressure, and so the fact that I seem to be getting good positions out of the opening almost every game really is a big confidence boost, and I think when I get these positions I can just play chess.

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"I've shown on the first three days that I can play on the same level as Magnus. We'll see what happens going forward. I guess in some ways, I think winning in Lindores (against Carlsen) kind of broke thatstreak in a way, because I started to realise that I can play against Magnus and play on the same level. If I’m being honest, I think I’ve already exceeded my expectations. I’m just going to keep trying to go from here and keep putting pressure on Magnus in the remaining matches."

On Sunday, it was Nakamura's turn to hit back much like Carlsen showed a day earlier after losing the first game. He won the third rapid game to draw level. With the players locked at 2-2 after the rapid games, Nakamura won the first blitz game mainly due to Carlsen's oversight that landed him in a well-known trap. The game ended in just 22 moves.

In the second blitz game, Carlsen needed to win on demand to force the tie-break game. He gained a good position but ran into Nakamura's fine defensive ploys that led to a draw. Nakamura spoke about the pressure of expectations on Carlsen.

"On the first day, after I got some good positions, I just started feeling more confident. Magnus seems uneasy and there’s obviously much more pressure on him, as I’ve pointed out many times. Everybody expects me to lose, so there’s no pressure for me. I just play good chess and see what happens, and it’s been working out, but I think certainly there’s a lot more pressure on Magnus and that’s also been weighing on him."

 

The results:
Final: Set Three: Hikaru Nakamura (USA) bt Magnus Carlsen (Nor) 3.5-2.5.

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