World champion Magnus Carlsen miraculously managed to keep Ian Nepomniachtchi at bay after escaping defeats in two successive games for a 2.5-1.5 victory in the first set of the USD 100,000 Skilling Open online chess tournament on Friday.

In the other semifinal, Wesley So stayed in control and won 2.5-1.5, riding mainly on his attacking victory in the second game.

REPORT – QUARTERFINAL, SET TWO

Playing white, Carlsen took the lead in the first game after trapping Nepomniachtchi’s centrally-located knight on the 17th move and captured it three moves later. Eventually, the Russian resigned on the 26th move. In the second game, Nepomniachtchi was close to victory after 49 moves in a knight-and-pawn endgame. However, he faltered on the 50th move to let Carlsen force a draw three moves later.

In the third game, with Carlsen playing white, Nepomniachtchi let slip another golden chance to…

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