Januar 26, 2021

Skilling Open Semifinals: Carlsen, So Start With Wins

Magnus Carlsen said he was “pretty happy to have survived” the first day. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

GM Magnus Carlsen won a tough first match vs. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi on the first day of the Skilling Open’s semifinals. GM Wesley So started with a win against GM Hikaru Nakamura. The semifinals continue on Saturday.

How to watch?
The games of the chess24 Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open can be found here as part of our live events platform. IM Levy Rozman and IM Anna Rudolf are providing daily commentary on GM Hikaru Nakamura’s Twitch channel starting from 9:00 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe.

Carlsen vs. Nepomniachtchi

According to Carlsen, day one of the semifinals was quite similar to the first day of his match with GM Anish Giri in the sense that he was “mainly struggling.” He ended up winning the match thanks to the very first game, where his opponent basically gifted him the win.

“Funny enough I think we checked this line together in 2014,” said Nepomniachtchi about this Grunfeld game—a line that also appeared in the Anand-Carlsen world championship match that year.

“At some point, I returned the favor from the group stage when Magnus mixed up the square for his queen,” said Nepomniachtchi. He couldn’t really explain why he placed his queen on b8 instead of c7 but the difference was crucial: 

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