Ding Liren crushed carefree Carlsen in the final RR match with 3 wins


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Nakamura and Ding in pole position as carefree Carlsen saves his best for the semis

Chinese powerhouse Ding Liren steam-rollered a carefree Magnus Carlsen today to enter the knockout phase of the world’s richest online chess tournament joint top of the table.

Ding thrashed the World Champion 3-1 and ended The Magnus Carlsen Invitational’s preliminary stage alongside the American Hikaru Nakamura on 15 points.

All four semi-finalists had already been decided before today’s action with both Ding, Carlsen, Nakamura and the American number 1 Fabiano Caruana safe in the top four.

However, final placings on the table, prize money and the who-plays-who draw for the semis depended on the Round 7 results.

Carlsen made some experimental choices in an exciting match against the always-solid Ding as he lost 3-1. The World Champion is clearly saving his best for the semis.

Fireworks were also going off in the match between the teen sensation Alireza Firouzja and Ian Nepomniachtchi, despite both players already being eliminated.

With significant money on the line, the Russian came back from a loss in the first game to take a 2-1 lead and then Firouzja hit back to take the match to Armageddon.

But at the death, “Nepo” prevailed.

Meanwhile, the match between Caruana and Anish Giri was another dead rubber with the American already through and Giri out.

However, the Dutchman, who went 14 games without a win at the start of the tournament, put in a dominant performance to wrap it up 2.5-1.5.

Nakamura’s match against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was the last to finish with “Naka” winning in the Armageddon tiebreak.

Tomorrow’s semi-final sees Nakamura take on Caruana before Saturday’s match sees Ding take on Carlsen.

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:

Leon Watson