Carlsen survived a Ding onslaught to set up a dream final

Susan Polgar


Exhausted Carlsen survives Ding onslaught to set up $140,000 dream final

  • Semi goes to blitz tiebreaker before Carlsen wins
  • Ding Liren fought hard but collapsed at the end
  • Carlsen now faces Hikaru Nakamura in the final
  • Event is climax of $1m Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour

Magnus Carlsen survived a fierce onslaught from Ding Liren today to set up a dream final in his own $140,000 online signature tournament.

The World Chess Champion was right on the brink of being dumped out in a topsy-turvy white-knuckle rollercoaster ride of a fourth set.

Ding, the highest-rated Chinese player in history, missed a string of chances to pull off a shock result as the regular rapid chess games finished 2-2.

A blitz chess play-off followed and in the final tiebreaker game the Chinese number 1 collapsed under pressure to send Carlsen through to the grand final of Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals benefiting Kiva.

Carlsen, who looked visibly exhausted after today's gruelling match, said: "I can't believe that I actually escaped, but that is the way it is sometimes."

He added: "He [Ding] put on an unbelievable fight today and I needed every inch to win this match. The main take away is that I've just got to be better to win the final."

It meant the Norwegian won the best-of-five Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals semi 3-1 and gets a rest day going into Friday's final when he will face his biggest rival in online chess - US blitz chess king Hikaru Nakamura.

Day 4 of the last four stage match-up had appeared to be going to form as the World Champion won game 1.

But Ding put on a real show in game 2 as he checkmated Carlsen in 31 moves to get right back in the tie.

Ding then missed a golden opportunity to take the lead in game 3 and wasn't able to convert. It looked painful for the softly-spoken 27-year-old as the game he seemed fully in charge of ended in a draw.

Ding squandered more opportunities in Game 4 which also meandered to a draw to leave the match locked 2-2 and going into a two-game blitz chess play-off.

In a rollercoaster first play-off, Carlsen appeared to be heading for victory but with his clock down to 17 seconds took the draw as it was Ding's turn to escape.

Then in the second, Carlsen was in trouble but Ding messed up and the champion capitalised with ease to take the match and the tie.

The event carries a total $300,000 prize pot and is the climax of Carlsen's $1 million signature tour, the richest and most prestigious online chess event ever.

Supporting Kiva

Broadcaster chess24 has pledged 50 per cent of new Premium memberships bought during its Tour Final to Kiva’s Global COVID-19 Response fund that aims to raise at least $50 million for entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by COVID‑19.

During the event, chess24 and Kiva will highlight stories where chess has changed people’s lives under the official tournament social media hashtag #ImpactChess.

Viewers are encouraged to engage with the Tour Final and support small businesses impacted by COVID-19 by signing up for a premium subscription here.

More details on the Finals

The Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour was devised by Norway’s World Champion and chess24 after traditional over the board chess was halted suddenly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tour Final kicks off on August 9 and runs until August 20. It is the culmination of four elite-level super-tournaments that began in March as a way of getting chess started again while other sports worldwide were prohibited.

The first four stages of the first Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour were:

Four players have qualified for the final crescendo of chess after being the best performers during the preceding tour events.

They are:

The winner of the Tour Final, which has a total prize pot of $300,000, will scoop a top prize of $140,000 and the title of Champion of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour.

A stellar roster of commentators and special guests is lined up for the coverage which will be broadcast in 10 languages by

Tournament rules and schedule

The Tour Final will be a 12-day event running __from August 9 to August 20.__Time control will be a rapid 15m + 10s from move 1 played in the chess24 Playzone.

The semi-finals of the Tour Final tournament will be a best of 5 four-game mini-matches. The final will be a best of 7 mini-matches. As usual, play will start at 16:00 CEST.