The two big beasts in online chess, Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, will meet in a dream final of the $100,000 New In Chess Classic.
Norway’s World Champion and America’s speed demon overcame spirited challenges to win through from Friday’s semis.
Levon Aronian gave Carlsen an almighty battle yesterday and ended the champs 26-game unbeaten streak. America’s newest import was then finally beaten 3-1 in Friday’s second set.
It proved a relatively smooth win for 30-year-old Carlsen and a sad end For Aronian. The challenger can take away an impressive performance, however.
Asked if this could be his tournament, Carlsen said: “It could be, but I still feel I need to up my level for the final.”
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov inflicted a rare 3-0 shut-out on Nakamura to level the tie after two sets.
But then the Azeri number 1 collapsed under Nakamura’s intense pressure in the armageddon tiebreaker.
Nakamura, a master at tiebreak situations, admitted after it was “quite dramatic”.
Remarking on how neither he nor Carlsen have won a Tour title so far, Nakamura added: “We both have a chance to redeem ourselves!”
Carlsen and Nakamura are old rivals who have battled each other for supremacy in the rapid format.
But neither Carlsen nor Nakamura have won a Tour event this season. The last time they met in a final, it was the epic climax of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour.
That final last August was perhaps the best online chess match of all time. It took a seventh-set decider to separate the two.
Tomorrow Carlsen and Nakamura will go head-to-head for the $30,000 top prize and a first Tour title. Also, at stake are bragging rights between the pair.
Play begins in the two-day Carlsen-Nakamura final at 19:00 CEST. Two sets will be played and tiebreakers if necessary.