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Carlsen-Karjakin duel up

LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro - The Philippine Star

World champion Magnus Carlsen and his 2016 challenger Sergey Karjakin have reached the semifinals of the $1.9 million FIDE World Cup and remained on a collision course for the final.

The top-seeded Norwegian advanced after disposing of Etienne Bacrot, 2-0, in straight sets, with the Frenchman given no quarters in all phases of the game.

Carlsen is through to the semifinals and faces Poland’s Jan-Krzyzstof Duda, who ousted Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of India, 1.5-0.5.

In the other quarterfinal match, local bet Sergey Karjakin outlasted American Sam Shankland, 4-2, after four tight tie-break matchups.

It was the American who started strong, racing to a 2-1 lead in the first two classical games and one tiebreak, but his Russian adversary recovered well and soon rolled off two straight victories in the second tie-breaker to clinch the match.

Karjakin faces compatriot Vladimir Fedoseev, who won 1.5-0.5, against Iranian youngster, Amin Tabatabaei.

In the women’s semifinal, No.1 seed Aleksandra Goryachikina and compatriot Aleksandra Kosteniuk won convincingly to move forward and set an all-Russian final. Goryachikina defeated No. 4 seed Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine while world No. 19 Kosteniuk beat former women’s world champion Tan Zhongyi of China.

The top two finishers in the men’s event and the top three in the women’s side earn the right to play in the next Candidates World Championship cycle.

Matches can be viewed live starting today at 8 a.m. EST at various chess websites.

* * *

Meanwhile, the Chessable Masters, the eighth leg of the $1.6 million Meltwater Online Champions Tour, is underway as we go to press.

Armenian star Levon Aronian, ranked fifth in the world, lead a strong 16-player cast that includes world No. 6 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE), No. 9 Wesley So (USA), No. 12 Alireza Firouzja (FRA), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Pentala Harikrishna (IND) and Vladislav Artemiev (RUS).

Other notable players invited include women’s world champion Ju Wenjun of China, India’s Koneru Humpy, the women’s world rapid champion, and 12-year-old American Abhimnanyu Mishra, the world’s youngest grandmaster.

Le Quang Liem (VIE), Jorden Van Foreest (NED), David Anton (ESP), Adhiban Baskaran (IND), Aryan Tari (NOR) and Eduardo Iturrizaga (ESP) round out the top 16.

All games (preliminary and knockout) can be followed live starting at 11 a.m. EST.

MAGNUS CARLSEN
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