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April 13, 2021

Stalemate between the two kings

2 min read

Anish Giri and Ian Nepomniachtchi were left level-pegging overnight as the two form horses in the final of the Magnus Carlsen Invitational, a Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event, shared the first set.

Everything now hangs on today’s second set – and if that also ends all-square then the final will go to tiebreaks.

The first day of the finals saw four consecutive draws between the two, who were both rock-solid and played near error-free chess.

And despite no decisive results, there was no shortage of action.

Game 1 was dramatic as Giri went three pawns up in the endgame, but Nepomniachtchi pulled off a stunning escape right at the death.

“What a save by Ian Nepomniachtchi!” said GM Peter Leko.

Game 2 saw a rare stalemate on the board and then in the third and fourth both players pushed but both were also immovable.

In the third-place play-off match, World Champion Magnus Carlsen was back to his blistering best as he demolished Wesley So in the first game.

The stunning game included a rare opening idea and was named “Murder on a Chessboard” on Norwegian TV.

With the pressure now off, Carlsen smiled when he delivered the final blow. “It was okay,” he said afterward.

Carlsen added: “I wasn’t particularly motivated before today, but the 1st game helped immensely!”

The Norwegian, who was dramatically dumped out of the event yesterday by Nepo, went on to win 3-1 and pick up the valuable points for the Tour leaderboard for finishing third overall.

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