Skilling Open quarterfinals: Carlsen survives day of upsets

Magnus Carlsen, after escaping a seemingly lost position in the first game of the best-of-four-rapid-game set, saw off Anish Giri in two more games before winning the fourth.

Magnus Carlsen

FILE PHOTO: Magnus Carlsen beat Anish Giri 2.5-1.5   -  Getty Images

Magnus Carlsen was the only expected winner after three other pre-match favourites – Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Wesley So –crashed to surprising first-set defeats in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Skilling Open online chess tournament on Wednesday.

Carlsen, after escaping a seemingly lost position in the first game of the best-of-four-rapid-game set, saw off Anish Giri in two more games before winning the fourth. Giri, like the other three losers of the day, faces a must-win situation in the second set to stay alive in the competition.

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Levon Aronian, down 0.5-1.5 to Nepomiachtchi after losing the second game, bounced right back to win the next two games.

Teimour Radjabov won the first and third games with black pieces against an off-colour So to emerge as the fastest winner of the day.

Maxime-Vachier Lagrave nailed Nakamura in the first game, defended very well to survive the second and then drew twice to stay ahead.
 

The results:

Quarterfinals, Set One: Magnus Carlsen (Nor) bt Anish Giri (Ned) 2.5-1.5; Levon Aronian (Arm) bt Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) 2.5-1.5; Teimour Radjabov (Aze) bt Wesley So (USA) 2.5-0.5; Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) bt Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2.5-1.5.
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