– Third is better than fourth, but it’s kind of a shame not to sit at the final table. An afterthought that the others are sitting in the next room, Magnus Carlsen told NRK after the medal was in the box.
He was referring to the final duel between Jan Nepomnjashchij and Hikaru Nakamura.
It was important to be best of four games to win the overall bronze game. Carlsen started with a loss on Sunday, but then fought back and took a 2-1 lead. Thus, he only needed a draw in game four to secure the championship bronze medal.
The last game also ended in victory.
– That’s how in the Chess Champions Tournament I took bronze when I didn’t win. It’s something I unwittingly became an expert on, Carlsen said.
The 31-year-old started with black pieces in the opener, and after 57 moves the loss was a fact. Although the opponent was pressed for time, the Norwegian didn’t find the right move.
With white pieces, Carlsen managed to take an early lead in game two, while Abdusattorov gradually started to have little time on the clock. After 41 strokes, the Uzbek had to give up.
Carlsen also had white pieces in game three. There he took a solid lead from the start and made no mistakes. He thus led to victory after 35 shots.
Not just instinct
In the semis, Carlsen spent too much time on his moves. In the duel against Abdusattorov, however, he was able to develop his position better and with a shorter thinking time.
– It often happens that you spend a lot of time if you are in a difficult situation. Now it was easy to play fast and natural movements. It was more super complicated against Jan (Nepomnyaschij). With the way I play now, it’s not possible to just play on instinct, explained Carlsen.
Abdusattorov, 18, impressed in the baseline game but was soundly beaten by Hikaru Nakamura in Saturday’s semi-final.
In the final between Russian Jan Nepomnjashchij and American Hikaru Nakamura, the score was 1.5 to 1.5 after three games. The two then went for a quick draw, so the final must be decided at Armageddon.
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