Ding Liren nails Magnus Carlsen ahead of semifinal clash

Liren won the first and third games with white pieces and sealed victory by claiming the fourth with black after Carlsen tried the Kings Gambit.

Ding Liren in action. (File Photo)   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Ding Liren warmed up for a semifinal clash with Magnus Carlsen by beating the World champion 3-1 in seventh and last round of the $250,000 Magnus Carlsen Invitational online tournament on Thursday.

With the semifinalists already decided on Wednesday, the results of the final round were of little consequence. It did bring some joy to the winners, particularly Liren and Anish Giri.

Giri brought down Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura overcame Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 3-2 to push the Frenchman to the last spot in the eight-player field.

Ian Nepomniachtchi signed off with a 3-2 win over 16-year-old sensation Alireza Firouzja.

Liren won the first and third games with white pieces and sealed victory by claiming the fourth with black after Carlsen tried the rarely played Kings Gambit. Earlier, the Norwegian won the second game with white pieces.

Carlsen gets a chance to set the record straight when the two clash again in second semifinals on Saturday.

After the opening game was drawn, Giri won the second and the third to take a winning lead against Caruana, who signed with a consolation victory in the fourth game.

Seventh-round results: Ding Liren (Chn) bt Magnus Carlsen (Nor) 3-1; Hikaru Nakamura (USA) bt Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 3-2; Anish Giri (Ned) bt Fabiano Caruana (USA) 2.5-1.5; Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) bt Alireza Firouzja (FIDE) 3-2

Standings (after seven rounds): 1-2: Nakamura, Liren (15 each), 3-4: Carlsen, Caruana (13 each); 5: Nepomniachtchi (8), 6-7: Firouzja, Giri (7 each), 8: Vachier (6)

Semifinal line-up: Nakamura-Caruana; Carlsen-Liren

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