Legends of Chess: Carlsen, Nepomniachtchi make short work of Svidler, Giri in first set

Magnus Carlsen won the first and third games with black pieces while Ian Nepomniachtchi battled long to save a draw before winning the next two.

Carlsen exploited Svidler’s weakness on the kingside in the middle-game by bringing his queen into active play.   -  FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

Continuing their irrepressible form, Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi needed just three games to race past Peter Svidler and Anish Giri in the first set of their semifinals of chess24 Legends of Chess on Friday.

Carlsen won the first and third games with black pieces while Nepomniachtchi battled long to save a draw before winning the next two to post 2.5-0.5 scorelines.

On Saturday, Svidler and Giri face a must-win situation to force Sunday's deciding set.

In the opening game, Carlsen exploited Svidler’s mistake in the middle-game by bringing his queen into active play. With the knight-pair ready to unleash serious damage, Carlsen was looking to add to his three-pawn advantage when Svidler resigned.

After the second game ended in a draw with Svidler denying Carlsen any advantage with white pieces, the World champion managed to shut out the Russian by gaining a two-pawn advantage, with more than
four-minute time-advantage after just 27 moves.

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The other semifinal saw Giri and Nepomniachtchi sign peace in their first game in a marathon lasting 131 moves. Giri, playing white but down to less than 30 seconds as against his rival’s five-and-a-half minutes, managed to maintain the balance of the position. On the 48th move, Giri gained a pawn and started playing for a win in the rook-and-pawn ending. Nepomniachtchi defended accurately to draw in 64 minutes.

In the second game, Nepomniachtchi bravely sacrificed his queen for a rook and a bishop and went on to convert the advantage in great style. This was really a brilliant execution by Nepomniachtchi who showed superior preparation and squeezed out a win by stifling Giri’s pieces, including a hapless queen.

In the third, where Nepomniachtchi let go of a bishop on the 21st move, Giri blundered with a knight-retreat on the 26th move. Thereafter, Nepomniachtchi needed just seven more moves to leave Giri’s king defenceless. The Russian launched a fierce attack with the queen and a rook before trading the other rook for a bishop. At this stage, Giri gave up.

The results

Semifinals: Set One - Magnus Carlsen (Nor) bt Peter Svidler (Rus) 2.5-0.5; Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) bt Anish Giri (Ned) 2.5-0.5.

 

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