World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian held back the smiles today as day one of their Aimchess US Rapid semi ended on a knife-edge.
Nothing could separate the two Meltwater Champions Chess Tour big beasts as they played out four consecutive draws.
It leaves their match locked 2-2 going into the day two decider tomorrow.
Aronian came closest to making the breakthrough – but Carlsen is known for his second-day prowess in Tour matches and will roar back.
FTX Crypto Cup winner Aronian, who played in his favourite Lionel Messi shirt, said afterwards: “It was a tight match, I think I had chances in the second game, but after that it was pretty solid.”
Carlsen admitted he was under pressure in the second game but joked, “it was probably the least dramatic we’ve had, ever, in this tournament”.
It was a different story in the other semi. Russian sensation Vladislav Artemiev was left kicking himself after he blew a comfortable lead against 18-year-old Alireza Firouzja.
Artemiev broke through to win the opener and then skillfully frustrated Firouzja in the second and third games to leave the youngster in a must-win situation going into the final fourth.
Then in a strong position, Artemiev fell for a trick and out of nowhere Firouzja was back in the game. It ended with a win for Firouzja and the match locked 2-2.
It was a huge comeback.
"They call me 'Giantsbane.' Want to know why? I killed a giant when I was 10."— Champions Chess Tour (@ChampChessTour) September 2, 2021
We are pleased to have @kristoferhivju aka Tormund Giantsbane from #GameofThrones taking on @PlayMagnus aged 10 in the #CelebrityChessChallenge #PlayMagnus pic.twitter.com/fad2bKKMJX
Artemiev was a late entry into the Tour but has an impressive record already having made it to the semi-finals of all three events he has taken part in.
Tomorrow’s semi-final matches start at 17:00 CEST. All games will be played in the chess24.com playzone.
Coverage with full commentary is available on www.championschesstour.com or www.chess24.com.