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Carlsen and Duda maintain the lead; Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2022 – Day 3 recap

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Magnus Carlsen showed off all his silky skills on Day 3 of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals as he blew away Azerbaijani big beast Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

On a day of quick wins at SHACK15 in San Francisco, the World Champion thrashed Mamedyarov 3-0 to stay joint-top of the leaderboard as the event reaches its mid-point. Carlsen is neck-and-neck with Poland’s World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda who dispatched Anish Giri 2.5-0.5, also with a game to spare. Carlsen and Duda are due to meet in the final round on Monday.

Elsewhere, US star Wesley So scored his first win of the Finals with a decisive 3-0 victory over Arjun Erigaisi. The Indian ace, who is playing through the night from India, is yet to score a point so far. Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, the other Indian teen in the event, scored his first $7,500 with a 3-0 win over Vietnam’s Liem Quang Le.

But without doubt all eyes were on the clash between Carlsen and the always dangerous 37-year-old Mamedyarov. The match was never going to be boring – and from game 1 it didn’t disappoint. Carlsen started by sacrificing a pawn before Mamedyarov trumped that by sacrificing a knight for three pawns. It resulted in a wild game in which Carlsen came out on top, proving Mamedyarov’s compensation was not enough.

Carlsen said after that in a complicated position he had to “go by feeling, because I’m not going to figure it out anyway”. It worked.

Game 2 was just as topsy-turvy – but it had the same result. Carlsen wrestled control and was left with two passed pawns that were sure to queen. Mamedyarov threw in the towel early and Carlsen went 2-0 up.

Mamedyarov was in a must-win situation in the third and set the tone early with the buccaneering 3… g5. It looked desperate, but showed he was going to go down fighting. The final game ended quickly and Carlsen wrapped up the whole match.

Asked whether this was Carlsen at his best, International Master Jovanka Houska said: “Definitely. He’s got the chess psychology spot on. He understood what Shakhriyar’s weaknesses are and he’s just played the right choices. Magnus was very confident, and with good reason because he just keeps getting better and better.”

Day 4 of the Tour Finals 2022 kicks off at 15:00 ET / 21:00 CET on November 17. Watch the broadcast live on chess24.com or chess24’s YouTube and Twitch channels.

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