Clutch Carlsen took down Nepomniachtchi on day 1 of Legends’ Final
Carlsen refuses to buckle on first day of final
Magnus Carlsen kept Russian ace Ian Nepomniachtchi at bay to edge ahead in a tight first day of the chess24 Legends of Chess final.
The World Champion, who went into today's match was on a run of 17 straight Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour wins, had appeared in cruise control yet again after winning the opening game and drawing the second.
But after a rare Carlsen mistake in the third, "Nepo" came back hard to level the score. A swift draw followed which left the match all-square on 2-2 and going into overtime.
Carlsen, however, was not phased and took the two-game blitz play-off 2-0.
Carlsen was critical of his own play but said: "I guess I'll take it and I'll try and play better tomorrow.
The 29-year-old Norwegian is now one-up in the best-of-three final. Nepo has the chance to come back tomorrow and force a decider on Wednesday.
During today's play, the 12th World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov joined the show live from the glittering Central Chess Club in Moscow.
The event, the fifth leg of the $1 million Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, runs until August 5 and will carry a $150,000 prize fund.
The winner will scoop a top prize of $45,000 and the last of the coveted spots in the tour’s Grand Final in August.
Commentary is provided by Jan Gustafsson, Judit Polgar, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Erwin L'Ami, and Tania Sachdev and special guests.
The event is also be broadcast in 10 languages by chess24.com. The official tournament social media hashtag is #ChessLegends.
Tournament rules and schedule
The time control will be a rapid 15m + 10s from move 1 played in the chess24 Playzone. There will be two stages starting with a 10-player round-robin (July 21-29) with each round consisting of 4-game matches and Armageddon tiebreaks if needed.
The top four will advance to the knockout semi-finals (July 31-August 2) and two will go through to the final (August 3-5). July 30 is a free day. All sessions will begin at 16:00 CEST.