World champion Magnus Carlsen blanked Ian Nepomniachtchi in the two blitz games for a 4-2 triumph in the first set of the Legends of Chess final on Monday.

On a day when Carlsen committed a stunning blunder and lost the third rapid game in just 21 moves, Nepomniachtchi looked well prepared until he imploded in the two blitz games. He now faces a must-win situation in the second set on Tuesday.

Overall, Carlsen was unhappy with the quality of his play but satisfied with the result.

Having let Nepomniachtchi off the hook once in the first game, Carlsen came hard at the Russian when he got another chance and delivered a crushing blow following a complex battle in the opening game.

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Nepomniachtchi, who survived several anxious moments before beating Anish Giri 3.5-2.5 in the final set for a 2-1 victory in the semifinal on Sunday, had…

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