London Chess Classic: Nepomniachtchi stuns Carlsen, takes lead

An uncharacteristic blunder from the Norwegian led to Nepomniachtchi's victory in the eighth round in London.

Ian Nepomniachtchi has reasons to smile. The Russian shocked Magnus Carlsen to take sole lead.   -  Lennart Ootes

Ian Nepomniachtchi, who seems to be totally immune to the draw syndrome at the London Chess Classic, scored his third win on the trot and moved into the sole lead, going to the final round.

But, the Russian should thank World champion Magnus Carlsen for his latest win. It was an uncharacteristic blunder from the Norwegian that led to Nepomniachtchi's victory in the eighth round in London.

He now has 5.5 points, half-a-point ahead of Fabiano Caruana of the United States, who is in the second position. On 4.5 is Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who drew with Viswanathan Anand.

The talking point of the day was of course the game between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi. Or the Carlsen blunder, to be more precise.

Playing from the white side of a Slav Exchange variation, he first blundered a pawn and then a piece before resigning after 40 moves. “I missed everything – there’s not much else to say,” he said later. “I failed to predict a single one of his moves.”

The results (eighth round):

Magnus Carlsen (Nor) 4 lost to Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) 5.5; Hikaru Nakamura (US) 4 drew with Fabiano Caruana (US) 5; Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 4.5 drew with Viswanathan Anand (Ind) 3; Michael Adams (Eng) 3 drew with Levon Aronian (Arm) 4; So Wesly (US) 4 drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus) 3.

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