Speed chess expert Hikaru Nakamura bulldozed his way into the semi-finals today to open up the chance of a mouth-watering clash with Magnus Carlsen.
The American, the world’s top blitz player, made short work of Levon Aronian as he crushed the Armenian 3-1 in their Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge mini-match and 2-0 overall.
Nakamura, already ahead in the tie after winning on Saturday, raced into the lead with a first game win in today’s second best-of-three rubber.
“Absolutely monstrous play by Hikaru!” said IM Tania Sachdev in the commentary box. Two draws followed before the American overpowered a desperate Aronian in the fourth to take the mini-match and go through.
Nakamura may now face Carlsen – if the World Champion can get past Wesley So. On potentially meeting Carlsen in the semis, he said: “I’m very lucky. I get three days off, so I have time to prepare!”
The other quarter-final being played out was a much trickier affair. China’s Yu Yangyi, who went into today with the advantage, quickly fell behind against countryman Ding Liren.
Two draws followed before a vital game 4 which Ding steered towards a safe draw. With a 2.5-1.5 win the match is leveled and now goes to a decider on Wednesday.