Magnus Carlsen is on the brink of winning a second Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event in a row after a near-flawless performance in the first match of the Charity Cup final. The World Champion and reigning Tour Champion was at his imperious best as he dispatched Poland’s World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda in just three games. More about Charity Cup: Charity Cup 2022 participants and preview / Charity Cup 2022 live / Charity Cup 2022 video) Round reports: Hans Niemann and Liem Quang Le lead after Day 1 / Le Quang Liem is sole leader after Day 2 / Carlsen closer to the top in Day 3 / Le Quang Liem wins the Prelims Day 4 / Carlsen – Ding in the semifinal / Carlsen – Duda is the final
Carlsen now needs just a draw tomorrow to secure the title. The Norwegian is already assured of staying top of the overall Tour leaderboard.
Duda had gone into the final with a reputation for getting the better of Carlsen in crucial matches. The 23-year-old famously ended Carlsen’s record 125-game unbeaten streak and sensationally knocked him out of the World Cup last year.
However, in the Charity Cup, Duda came up against a Carlsen with perhaps an extra bit of motivation. The Pole didn’t appear to do much wrong throughout the whole encounter, but found himself completely overwhelmed by his opponent.
Resigning in a hopeless position in game 3, Duda looked extremely disappointed with how day 1, the first half of the final, had gone.
Carlsen was typically low-key afterward, but did describe the match as “exceptionally interesting”.
He said: “I think when you make a draw in the first game as white, that’s not something you necessarily expect. But overall I’m fairly happy with the way I thought today.
“I thought the last two games were exceptionally interesting from a strategic point of view. Unfortunately, neither of us really had enough time to grasp all the subtleties at the critical moment, but nevertheless it was fascinating.”
Duda will have to lick his wounds and come back fighting tomorrow to stand a chance of turning the final around. But, unlike so many other top players, he knows how to do it against Carlsen.
The event is supported by NEAR Foundation and is being held as a fundraiser for UNICEF. So far, more than $100,000 has been raised.
The two-day final ends tomorrow. Tune in at 17:00 UTC / 18:00 CET for day 8 of the Charity Cup.