Nakamura close to knocking out Carlsen with clutch win today

Susan Polgar


Nakamura grabs lead with incredible comeback win over Carlsen

  • Nakamura now 1 set from winning Tour
  • Epic match decided in final tiebreaker
  • Carlsen must bounce back tomorrow
  • Winner will be crowned Tour champion

Magnus Carlsen faced his kryptonite today as Hikaru Nakamura launched an astonishing comeback win to go just one set away from glory in the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour.

Nakamura and Norway's World Champion fought tooth and nail in an incredibly tight encounter that was decided in a nail-biting final tiebreak game.

The regulation four rapid chess games on day 5 of the final finished all-square as the two rivals matched each other blow-for-blow in a series of draws.

But then in a two-game blitz play-off, Carlsen pulled a rabbit out of the hat with his choice of opening and win the first. It looked like curtains for Nakamura because Carlsen simply does not lose in situations like these.

But the five-time US champ did what no-one else appears able to do and beat Carlsen when the pressure is really on in a must-win second blitz game.

It was an astonishing turnaround that had Nakamura saying afterward it was a "crazy match".

"I was thrilled that I got to the Armageddon because after the first blitz game I assumed it was over," he said afterward.

Before the final, Carlsen had lost just 1 out of his last 23 matches. Now Nakamura has beaten him in 3 out of the last 5.

Nakamura has been 1-0 and 2-1 up in sets so far in the match leaving Carlsen to play catch-up and blowing apart any lingering thoughts that the climax of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour would be a coronation.

After today's result, the pre-event tour favourite Carlsen needs to win tomorrow or face losing his own signature tournament.

The final of the world's richest, most prestigious online chess tournament, played between two of the game's fiercest rivals, really could not be more dramatic.

For the third day in a row viewing figures hit new highs across chess24 channels along to watch the drama unfold.

Play is due to start again tomorrow at 16:00 CEST.

Carlsen and Nakamura's rivalry

Carlsen and Nakamura have a long-standing rivalry. In 2010 they duked it out all night over 40 games in a private grudge match in Moscow.

Three years later Nakamura appeared to put noses out of joint when he likened Carlsen to Sauron from Lord of the Rings.

For many years Nakamura failed to beat Carlsen in an over the board classical match before eventually breaking the spell at the 30th attempt in 2016.

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

They were:

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 is 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 were a best of 5 four-game mini-matches. The final is a best of 7 mini-matches. As usual, play will start at 16:00 CEST.