Chess Tour Finals: Carlsen wins second set, draws level with Ding

Stung by the loss of the first set, Magnus Carlsen came hard at Ding Liren and raced away to a crushing 2.5-0.5 victory to draw level in the semifinal.

In the first set, Magnus Carlsen was denied a win with white pieces.   -  FILE PHOTO/RAJEEV BHATT

Stung by the loss of the first set, Magnus Carlsen came hard at Ding Liren and raced away to a crushing 2.5-0.5 victory to draw level in the semifinal of the $300,000 Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals on Monday.

Carlsen produced two brilliant positional victories and then drew the third with white pieces after allowing a three-fold repetition of moves. The first player to win three sets advances to the final.

"After yesterday's result, I was unhappy with my play. So, there was added motivation to do well today. Well today, Ding really did not get off the block. In the first game, it was equal but suddenly I saw my chances and improved my position to win.

"In the second game, it was all about planning and executing the plan to win. I am very happy to win such a game," said Carlsen after sealing the second set in under 150 minutes of play.

On Monday, Carlsen’s inability to win the deciding Armageddon game with white pieces saw a determined Ding claim the first set after the score was tied 3.5-3.5.

In the other semifinal, Hiraku Nakamura and Daniil Dubov were locked 1-1 in the second set. Nakamura had his chances to win the first game and Dubov raised visions of victory in the second. But both players displayed fine defensive skills when they needed to.

Nakamura won the first set 3.5-2.5 by bouncing back from the loss of the opening rapid game. On a day when all four rapid games produced decisive results, Dubov won the fourth game with black pieces to make it 2-2. Thereafter, the first drawn blitz game was followed by Nakamura’s nicely crafted victory.

The results:

Set Two (after Game Three):  Magnus Carlsen (Nor) bt Ding Liren (Chn) 2.5-0.5; (after Game Two): Hikaru Nakamura (USA) tied with Daniil Dubov (Rus) 1-1.

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