After getting losing position with white in 7 moves, Carlsen wins Armageddon


Carlsen, Magnus - Nepomniachtchi, Ian 0-1
Magnus Carlsen Invitational 2020.

1 e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Bc4 Nxe4 6. Qh5 e6 7. Nxe6?? -+

Magnus Carlsen overcomes mini-meltdown to roar back into the lead

A frantic finish saw World Champion Magnus Carlsen roar back into the lead in his signature $250,000 online super-tournament.

The Norwegian, coming off a shock loss in the previous round, had a disaster in the opening few moves of his first match against Russian number 1 Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Playing in the world’s richest online chess tournament, The Magnus Carlsen Invitational, the champ was sunk almost immediately and looked disgusted with himself as “Nepo” went 1-0 up.

“I just completely blanked there, I didn’t remember what to do,” he said afterward, before adding: “My mind was blank, there was just nothing. It was just total insanity.”

In the second, Carlsen was furious with himself again as he moved into a winning position but again, inexplicably, blundered. Nepo escaped with a draw as another golden chance was missed.

Commentating on the match, Grandmaster Peter Svidler said: "This match so far is an episode of Twilight Zone - I don't know what this is!"

Game 3 saw Carlsen pile on the pressure and finally steamroll through Nepo’s defence to square the match.

In the decider, Carlsen was on the back foot in a wild game but survived to force a draw and take the match to an “Armageddon” tiebreak.

In the toss, Carlsen picked the White pieces for the Armageddon game meaning he must win the game or he loses the match. And, in a frantic finale that went right to the wire, he prevailed.

Carlsen secures his place in the final four knockout while Nepo can’t make it.

In the other match, teen sensation Alireza Firouzja seemed to be cruising to a 2-0 lead against Anish Giri, the man who toppled Carlsen in Round 5.

But instead, Giri struck back in a thriller to level the scores at 1-1.

The incredibly tricky Firouzja, who is just 16, then pulled off a thrilling manoeuvre in the third to go 2-1 up.

Former world title challenger Fabiano Caruana called it a “beautiful swindle”.

Giri was left needing to win on demand to take it to a tiebreak. However, a strategic error by Giri saw Firouzja take control to close out the match 2.5-1.5.

Tomorrow Hikaru Nakamura and Ding Liren fight to go level with Carlsen in the lead while fourth-placed Fabiano Caruana battles it out against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Coverage begins with pre-match analysis each day at 15.00 with the action kicking off at 16.00 CEST.

You can watch it live here:

Video highlights from every round are here:

Leon Watson