Levon Aronian said he “got lucky” on Tuesday as he took down Tour leader Wesley So in the first set of the New In Chess Classic quarter-finals.
The 38-year-old goes into the second day 1-0 up after a thrilling see-saw match against the in-form American.
So got off to the worst possible start with a mouse-slip that lost him the game 1. Aronian then turned up the heat to triumph in the second and leave So on the ropes.
Anything less than a win in game 3 would end it for So. But he delivered. In a chaotic encounter, the Fischer Random World Champion managed to come back from the brink with a win.
But it was a short-lived stay of execution as Aronian immediately hit back again to win the fourth and take the set 3-1. Aronian said after he “got lucky”.
Carlsen-Radjabov, meanwhile, was a much more cagey affair that started with a draw and continued in that vein.
The Azeri did have a chance in game 2 when he built up a dominating position against the World Champ. But Carlsen used all his famed defensive skills to somehow save the draw.
The set ended 2-2 and Carlsen-Radjabov head into tomorrow’s set all-square.
Carlsen said afterward: “I will try my best to win tomorrow but he [Radjabov] is very, very solid and hard to beat.”
The champ noted that it was the first time in a Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event that he has played four draws in a day.
US speed demon Hikaru Nakamura ground down Vietmanese star Liem Quang Le in game 1 to start with a win.
After that, the American shut out his opponent with three draws to win the set 2.5-1.5.
And in the last quarter, Azeri number 1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov overpowered the youngster Alireza Firouzja in game 1 and closed out the set win with three draws.
Mamedyarov, Nakamura and Aronian take 1-0 leads into the second day of the quarter-finals tomorrow. Carlsen and Radjabov is on a knife-edge.
Play starts at 19:00 with commentary live on chess24.com.