Comeback-man Hikaru Nakamura knocked out World champion Magnus Carlsen following a thrilling 3-2 win in their third mini-match reach to the final of the USD 150,000 Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge on Friday.
After a day of rest, Nakamura will take on the 2018 World rapid champion Daniil Dubov for the title.
Nakamura, blown away 3-0 in the first mini-match and staring at defeat in the opening game of the second mini-match, eventually crossed the finish line when Carlsen resigned, soon after overlooking the loss of a rook in the deciding Armageddon game of their third mini-match.
Owing to his superior finish in the league stage, Nakamura gained the right choose the colour in the Armageddon game. He opted for black pieces. That meant, Nakamura started with four minutes on the clock to Carlsen’s five, but needed only a draw to reach the final.
In the regulation four-game clash, Nakamura won the second with black and Carlsen hit back in the third, with white. The first and fourth games were drawn.
Soon after his memorable triumph, Nakamura commented, “It still hasn’t completely sunk in yet but it’s great to beat Magnus - at least one time I found a way, so I’m pretty happy!”
Carlsen acknowledged Nakamura’s efforts by saying, “I am very annoyed by myself to make so many stupid choices, but you’ll need a very good player to exploit that.”
- Hikaru Nakamura (USA) bt Magnus Carlsen (Nor) 3-2.
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