Dubov – Nakamura 1.5-2.5
Dubov earned his spot in the tour finals mostly due to his overall victory in the Lindores Abbey tournament, where he defeated Nakamura in the final. This time, the 24-year-old Russian GM didn’t really stand a chance against the American player, who nonetheless stated he had been somewhat fortunate.
Tuesday’s match between the two started with two fairly quiet draws, with Dubov only getting an optical advantage in the first and Nakamura seeing his opening edge quickly fizzle out in the second.
Nakamura said that his win in game three was exemplary for the match: “He was a little bit better but couldn’t find the right continuation.”
Dubov ended a pawn down in an endgame but defended well, and at one point, there was a move repetition… which he rejected. He must have miscalculated something because that led to a win for Black straight away:
It wasn’t strange for Dubov to try another Sicilian in the next, must-win game, but it was Nakamura who got the attack. In the final position, he had the comfortable choice of trying to find the win or go for a perpetual attack on the black queen, and that wasn’t really a choice.
“Why bother?” said Nakamura, who thus qualified for the final where $140,000 is on the line with $80,000 for the runner-up. Dubov earned $40,000.
Carlsen – Ding 2.5-0.5
Carlsen quickly turned his loss in the first match into a lead. Especially on Tuesday, his clash with Ding showed fighting chess, an “inevitable” result of both players going for the Open Sicilian, as the world champion pointed out.
And, although he needed only three games, Carlsen said it was fairly close: “I guess both games could have gone either way, but I am happy to prevail. As I was better in most of the first game, I think it is fair enough.”
With that first game, he meant the first win, where Ding surprised by playing a Najdorf with an early …h5 instead of his usual Berlin. Carlsen said he was better and then winning as his opponent played the opening inaccurately. The world champ then spoiled his advantage almost completely but still could maintain control and win after all.
Carlsen stated he is not a Najdorf expert, adding: “I find these positions equally fascinating and equally difficult to play with both colors.” Nonetheless, he won in that opening with the black pieces as well. His claim is supported by the facts, though: a mistake on move 19 could have given Ding a close to winning advantage but instead, the Chinese player blundered somewhat mysteriously.
Carlsen and Ding will play their fourth match on Wednesday. As the format is a best of five, the Chinese player has to win on demand. If he fails to do so, it’s Carlsen who will be facing Nakamura in the final, which will be the best of seven.
The Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals benefiting Kiva runs August 9-20 on chess24. The semifinals phase is a best-of-five series of matches consisting of four-game rapid matches each day. The finals consist of a best-of-seven series, where the player who wins four matches is the winner of the tour. The prize fund is $300,000 with $140,000 for first place. The time control is 15 minutes and a 10-second increment.