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Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa, Mamedyarov and Giri victorious in day 1 of Oslo Esports Cup

The world’s first fully in-person chess esports event, the Oslo Esports Cup, got under way on Friday with World Champion Magnus Carlsen in imperious form. Carlsen, who is going for a hat-trick of wins in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, rounded off the challenge of Polish No.1 Jan-Krzysztof Duda with a thumping 2.5-0.5 victory. The Norwegian even managed to survive a second-game experiment on move 1 as he opened with the highly-dubious 1.f3 – not a standard move at the elite level. That game ended in a draw.  Oslo cup participants / Live games / Round 1

The $210,000 all-play-all event is being played over seven days at chess24.com’s esports arena in Oslo and is the first online chess tournament of its kind. Carlsen, who went into the tournament topping the overall Tour standings, said of his Round 1 result: “It’s pretty good. Three games, that’s the best you can do.”

On playing the experimental 1.f3, Carlsen added: “I planned to play that regardless, I’ve been trying to experiment to see what first moves you can make playable. “But I cannot say that experience was too successful because I didn’t remember what to do and had to improvise. “I’ve definitely been trying to play creatively in many of these events so I intend to continue that. Not as a rule, but once in a while and I think it’s been working pretty well getting my opponents a little out of book and keeping them on their toes.”

In the other matches, the fast-improving Indian teen Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa also dispatched his opponent, the Dutchman Jorden van Foreest, in only three games. Liem Quang Le, the Airthings Master finalist, had a tough start to the tournament going down 2.5-1.5 to Shakrhiyar Mamedyarov.

The final match to finish saw tournament underdog, popular streamer Eric Hansen who is ranked 237 in the world, suffer a first-round loss to Dutch No.1 Anish Giri.

Round 2 starts at 18:00 CEST on Saturday with Carlsen taking on Liem in a repeat of the Airthings Masters final.

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