Hikaru Nakamura outclassed Daniil Dubov with aplomb today to seal a place in the $140,000 Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour grand final.
The world's number 1 rated blitz chess player was in an incredible form yet again as he calmly dispatched his Russian opponent 2.5-1.5.
Nakamura said afterward: "It was a pretty interesting match today and I was just a little fortunate to come out on top."
The American is likely to face his closest online chess rival Magnus Carlsen after the World Champion moved into pole position in his signature tournament semi-final.
Carlsen, having lost the first set before leveling the match yesterday, beat China's top player Ding Liren to go 2-1 ahead in their best-of-five semi.
Having lost in game 2, Ding tried to launch an attack in the third but appeared to blunder and Carlsen capitalized to finish it off 2.5-0.5.
Carlsen is now 2-1 up in sets against Ding in their best-of-five tie in the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals benefiting Kiva.
Carlsen said: "We both decided to go for Open Sicilians today and that set the tone, right? It's inevitably going to be pretty fighting, but both games could have gone either way and I am happy to prevail."
The event carries a total $300,000 prize pot and is the climax of Carlsen's $1 million signature tour, the richest and most prestigious online chess event ever.
Day 4 of the Tour Finals starts at 16:00 CEST tomorrow with Carlsen-Ding playing their fourth set. A win for Carlsen and it is all over.
Broadcaster chess24 has pledged 50 percent of new Premium memberships bought during its Tour Final to Kiva’s Global COVID-19 Response fund that aims to raise at least $50 million for entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by COVID‑19.
During the event, chess24 and Kiva will highlight stories where chess has changed people’s lives under the official tournament social media hashtag #ImpactChess.
Viewers are encouraged to engage with the Tour Final and support small businesses impacted by COVID-19 by signing up for a premium subscription here.
More details on the Finals
The Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour was devised by Norway’s World Champion and chess24 after traditional over the board chess was halted suddenly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tour Final kicks off on August 9 and runs until August 20. It is the culmination of four elite-level super-tournaments that began in March as a way of getting chess started again while other sports worldwide were prohibited.
The first four stages of the first Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour were:
Four players have qualified for the final crescendo of chess after being the best performers during the preceding tour events. The winner of the Tour Final, which has a total prize pot of $300,000, will scoop a top prize of $140,000 and the title of Champion of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour.
Tournament rules and schedule
The Tour Final will be a 12-day event running from August 9 to August 20. Time control is a rapid 15m + 10s from move 1 played in the chess24 Playzone.
The semi-finals of the Tour Final tournament will be a best of 5 four-game mini-matches. The final will be a best of 7 mini-matches. As usual, play will start at 16:00 CEST.
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