King Carlsen reigns supreme in world’s first lockdown chess super-tournament

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King Carlsen reigns supreme in world’s first lockdown chess super-tournament

World Champion Magnus Carlsen reigned supreme to win the richest online chess tournament in history today.

With the world in lockdown, elite level chess moved online with the launch of The Magnus Carlsen Invitational last month.

Eight of the world’s best were recruited for a truly international $250,000 all-play-all super-tournament broadcast live on TV and in nine languages on chess24.com.

Today it found its winner: the world number 1 and event host Carlsen who, in a breathless finale, dispatched US speed chess specialist Hikaru Nakamura to take the $70,000 first prize.

Playing in their own homes, Carlsen and Nakamura battled it out over 15 days of play to get to today’s final. Both had been involved in epic semi-finals which could have gone either way.

But on the 16th day of action, it was Carlsen's true class that shone through as he was left the last elite player standing.

The four-time World Champion drew first blood in a pressure-cooker opening game when he showed his renowned endgame strength.

Carlsen, 29, sneaked in a satisfied smile as he went 1-0 up while Nakamura was left wondering what went wrong.

In the break, Russian Super Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk said, even at this early stage, it would take a “miracle” for Nakamura to come back.

He was immediately proved wrong. Game 2 saw Carlsen opt for an ultra-solid approach to hold onto his lead.

But Nakamura, the world's top blitz chess player, found a rare chink in Carlsen’s armour to force a remarkable win and instantly draw level in the match. Game on.

The third was even more nerve-wracking as Carlsen built up a strong position and started to turn the screw. Nakamura was left on the cusp of collapse and battled hard, but couldn't hold Carlsen back.

The champion went into a 2-1 lead in the match just needing to avoid defeat in the final rubber to win overall. Nakamura had to win.

Again, the American pushed but missed a critical chance to break through and Carlsen steered the game towards the half-point draw. It secured victory by 2.5 points to 1.5 and first place overall.

Carlsen has dominated the world of traditional over the board chess since 2010 and had a historic win here at the birth of serious online chess tournaments.

Carlsen said afterward: "It was tough but, yeah, happy to have pulled through."

Video highlights of today's action will be made available here:

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