Magnus Carlsen wins MCCT Finals 2022 with a round to spare
Magnus Carlsen defeated R Praggnanandhhaa 2.5-0.5 to win the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2022 with one round to spare. Praggnanandhaa might have lost two games and the matches but he is being forged in the battlefield. This learning experience is certainly helping him to become stronger. He has already shown traits of the world champion in this event and at Asian Continental Championship 2022 too. So one should not take these losses to their hearts because Praggnanandhaa will bounce back stronger and roar louder in the days to come. Arjun Erigaisi made a short work of Liem Quang Le scoring a 2.5-0.5 win. It was once again a minimal day as all four matches needed only three games to produce an outcome. Praggnanandhaa will face Arjun in the final round 7 which starts tonight, 21st November at 1:30 a.m. IST. Photo: Champions Chess Tour
Arjun beats Liem
"I am sorry that I couldn't keep the match going a little bit longer because then people could have woken up in the morning to go watch the games. I love what you are doing Sagar, to see all of Indian both talents and fans is amazing. Huge shoutout to all of you." - Magnus Carlsen. He also added, "I enjoyed my time there. I hope to be back. Unfortunately now I have been travelling too much, I felt like I couldn't make it to Tata Steel Chess (India) but I will be following it with great interest."
Praggnanandhaa - Carlsen: 0.5-2.5
Magnus Carlsen started the day with a convincing victory over R Praggnanandhaa.
Praggnanandhaa - Carlsen, Game 1
According to Carlsen, 18...d4 was born out of necessity as 18...a5 runs into 19.Nd4 and 18...0-0 is met by 19.b4 Qb6 20.Nd2. The world no.1 felt that Praggnanandhaa pushed too hard and lost the game.
34.Nf6+ gxf6 35.Bd2+ would have led to a draw by perpetual check Kh8 36.Qh5+ Kg8 37.Qg4+ and Black cannot get out of the checks. The Norwegian expressed that it is quite difficult to spot this when you are down to seconds but it would have also been a fitting end to the game.
The second game had an exciting queen and knight endgame.
Carlsen - Praggnanandhaa, Game 2
"...I was just trying to hang on move by move. I thought that there was some precise sequence which gave him very good winning chances. I was just trying to hang on. From a human perspective, 33...Qg1+ 34.Kd3 Qxh2 was very natural but at least he has to deal with the passed pawn. So I have some chances practically speaking. Yeah that was tough sometimes," - Magnus Carlsen on the above position.
Can you find Black's final chance to save the game? Praggnanandhaa missed it but it certainly did not slip by Carlsen's mind.
A few weeks ago, Boris Gelfand was in Oslo having a training session with youngsters from Carlsen's chess club where he showed this position when the Norwegian stopped by. Thus, this theme was fresh on the world no.1's mind. 1.Bf5 g3! and Black draws the game by one tempo irrespective of how White captures it.
Carlsen was winning in the third game too as Praggnanandhaa was left without a choice but to push for a win by any means if he wanted a fourth game.
Praggnanandhaa - Carlsen, Game 3
The world champion saw 32...fxg6 33.Rg3 Bxf2+ 34.Kxf2 Qe8! to be winning for him but he felt it was uncalled for. Now that's what a gentleman does. He needn't score a 3-0 win to the match, a 2.5-0.5 is a win too against Praggnanandhaa.
Liem - Arjun: 0.5-2.5
Liem Quang Le made a sound queen sacrifice in the first game. However, he made a tactical error which allowed his opponent, Arjun Erigaisi to win the game.
Liem - Arjun, Game 1
Can you find out the winning continuation for Black after 37.Bd4 ?. 37.Rh1 Rxd5 38.Rhd1 Rxd3 39.Rxd3 would have given White some fighting chances.
The former World Blitz champion made a positional mistake in the second game which gave Arjun a substantial advantage in the middlegame.
Arjun - Liem, Game 2
16...Bxb6 would have been fine for Black. 16...Nxb6 was met by 17.Bxc7 Rxc7 18.h6 g6 19.Nf6+ Kh8 20.dxc5 and White is in complete control. Arjun was significantly better in the third game. However, he repeated moves and made a draw as it was enough for him to win the match.
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All games will start from 1:30 a.m. IST between 15th and 21st November 2022.