Norway’s Magnus Carlsen claimed his seventh consecutive rapid-match win to snatch the sole lead at the halfway point of the Champions Meltwater Chess Tour Finals in San Francisco.
The Globalism The chess champion put in another brilliant showing in round 4 of 7 as he thrashed Dutch No. 1 Anish Jiri 3-0 to continue his run to victory in the $1.6 million special season-ending hybrid event.
Meanwhile, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Carlsen’s biggest rival in this tournament and throughout the 2022 Tour, lost a disastrous match to Vietnam’s Liem Quang Le that blew a huge hole in his hopes.
Duda and Lim played two long draws before Lim blasted through to win with 46 moves in the third set. On screen, Doda looked dashing. Then Liem turned the nail on 29… e5! in the fourth to win 3-1.
He climbed to third place, seven points behind Carlsen on 12/15 and friendly 9.
Carlsen’s opener saw the now rare player play at the French top defence. It was a risk and the newly installed 2022 champ soon found himself in what he thought was a losing position.
Carlsen admitted afterwards: “I just missed my transfer for a4 at the opening – and then I think I’m very disappointed!”
Jerry did not find the opportunity to blow the hero’s heart. The Dutchman sacrificed a bishop but was unsuccessful and Carlsen took charge. A wild match ended with Carlsen leading.
The second match was even worse for Jerry. The Dutchman collapsed in the middle of the game as he allowed Carlsen to activate his bishop pair. Carlsen pinned Jerry’s rook and the game was over in short order. It was Carlsen’s sixth straight win.
Elsewhere, Indian teenager Arjun Erigesi stormed off the mark with 3 points and $7,500 to defeat No. 1 Azerbaijani Chakryar Mamedyarov. Erigesi had gone 11 matches without a win in the event, but broke that streak in the second game and also finished fourth with a score 3-1.
Finally, American superstar Wesley So won his second match in a row with a 2.5-1.5 victory over Rameshbapu Prajnananda. Both players, who were expected to unite at the top, have failed to live up to expectations in this event so far.
With three rounds remaining, Carlsen remains the favourite. However, he still got to play Duda on the last day.
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