Magnus Carlsen punched the air in disbelief after his howler gifted Hikaru Nakamura the lead in the $140,000 Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Final.
The World Champion stunned a bumper audience watching online as he fell to a simple trick from the American who goes 2-1 up in the best-of-seven decider.
Viewing figures hit new highs as tens of thousands tuned in to watch the drama unfold in the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour’s dream final between the fierce rivals.
Carlsen had looked exhausted and out of sorts in the first two days of the final with some commentators suggesting his summer of intense online chess had finally caught up with him.
But the champ signaled he was back in the groove straight away on day 3 with an opening game win that was as smooth as silk.
Game 2 then saw Carlsen repeat the match tactic both he and Nakamura have used of, having gone into the lead, piling on the pressure ahead by playing for a quick draw.
Carlsen laughed when it happened yesterday, but this time it was Nakamura who was seen chuckling to himself as the game lasted just 17 moves. However, with the score 1.5-0.5 to Carlsen and games running out, Nakamura still needed a route back into the match.
And it came. Nakamura struck back in the third with aplomb as he outplayed the champ in a brilliant game which ended with Carlsen resigning in disgust. With game 4 finishing in another draw, Carlsen and Nakamura headed into a two-game blitz decider.