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Magnus Carlsen – Jan-Krzysztof Duda is the Charity Cup 2022 final

Polish star Jan-Krzysztof Duda reached his first Meltwater Champions Chess Tour final today with a gritty win over the in-form Liem Quang Le. The 23-year-old World Cup winner will face World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the Charity Cup finale after the overall Tour leader dispatched Ding Liren, of China. Duda has built a reputation as Carlsen’s “nemesis” having ended the world No.1’s record 125-game unbeaten streak and knocking him out of the World Cup in December. More about Charity CupCharity Cup 2022 participants and preview / Charity Cup 2022 live / Charity Cup 2022 videoRound reportsHans 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

Duda overcame Liem, who had led from the front during the event’s round-robin stage, in convincing fashion after breaking through in the first game of their match and then holding on. Liem proved a tough opponent but game 3, which followed a second-game draw, was devastating for Vietnam’s former Blitz World Champion. The speed chess specialist had looked like he had a decisive attack to level the score but rushed at the critical moment and could not break through. Duda held firm to save the draw. It meant Liem was left needing a win in the final game with the black pieces.

The final game for Liem saw him miss a golden chance to level the score as Duda appeared to have blundered with 30.Qb7, allowing black to capture his queen with a discovered attack. Liem, however, didn’t spot it and failed to take advantage allowing Duda to safely close out the draw to win 2.5-1.5 and make it into the final. Duda punched the air in celebration. In the other semi, Carlsen sprung a first game opening surprise with the unorthodox 1.e3 – a first move that seemed to amuse Ding. It also led to a slow start that the champ seemed in control of.

But Ding fought back and in the end it was Carlsen who was playing for the draw. After 110 moves, it ended all square.

The second game was even closer – both players making no mistakes as the battled to a tense draw by three-move repetition.

Carlsen finally made the breakthrough in Game 3 which ended in dramatic fashion. Ding, playing in the middle of the night in China, found himself in huge time-trouble in the endgame.

He appeared to be hanging on for the draw, but then blundered after a clever move from Carlsen and the game was lost. It all came down to game 4 which Ding – like Liem – had to win.

But heartbreak for Ding followed as the 29-year-old blundered in the endgame with the 40.g6 pawn push. Carlsen took the win and Ding was eliminated.

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 starts tomorrow with Carlsen facing Duda. Tune in at 17:00 UTC / 18:00 CET for day 7 of the Charity Cup.

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