Magnus Carlsen crushed Boris Gelfand 3-0 on Friday to book his fourth straight win in the Legends of Chess online tournament.

Legends of Chess Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen kept up his winning ways on Friday, beating Boris Gelfand to stay perfect in the Legends of Chess. (Image: AP)

Carlsen has won each of his first four matches in regulation, giving him the maximum 12 points as the tournament approaches the halfway mark of the round-robin portion.

Carlsen Confident of Another Tournament Crown

The win left Carlsen in high spirits, and the World Champion expressed confidence in how he’ll fare in fourth leg of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour.

“I said yesterday that I have a pretty good score against Gelfand, and that there are often good games against him, and that proved to be correct today,” Carlsen said in a post-match interview.

“I am not so concerned about who I will be facing in the final,” Carlsen added. “I will have a good chance to win anyway.”

Carlsen has good reason to show confidence. He’s already won two of the first three events on his namesake tour, and he’s the overwhelming favorite to win the Legends of Chess as well. His odds have only improved over the course of the event so far. Unibet now lists the Norwegian grandmaster as a -286 pick to win the tournament.

Legends of Chess Odds (Winner)

  • Magnus Carlsen (-286)
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi (+700)
  • Peter Svidler (+900)
  • Vladimir Kramnik (+1100)
  • Boris Gelfand (+2000)
  • Anish Giri (+2000)
  • Vassily Ivanchuk (+3000)
  • Ding Liren (+3000)
  • Peter Leko (+5000)
  • Viswanathan Anand (+7000)

Odds via Unibet

While Carlsen may be closing in on a semifinal berth, he’s far from having clinched anything, and the rest of the field is tightly bunched. Ian Nepomniachtchi took the final game against Vassily Ivanchuk to close out a 2.5-1.5 victory on Friday to also remain undefeated in the Legends of Chess. Nepomniachtchi sits at 11 points, just one back of Carlsen, having won one of his matches in an Armageddon tiebreaker.

Svidler, Kramnik Show Legends Can Still Play

While two of the four current starts are in great position to move to the knockout round, the others are struggling. Anish Giri beat former World Champion Viswanathan Anand in a tiebreaker to move to five points, while Chinese grandmaster Ding Liren finally got on the board, booking his first three points in a 2.5-1.5 win over the streaking Peter Svidler.

That should leave some room for at least one or two of the “legends” to reach the semifinals. Svidler is in great position even after the loss: his nine points puts him in third place. Vladimir Kramnik sits fourth on seven points, one ahead of Gelfand for the final knockout spot.


The ten-player field will play a full round-robin of matches. The top four will then head to a knockout semifinal round.

Ding’s struggles could seriously impact the tour’s Grand Final. While Carlsen and Daniil Dubov have already clinched berths by winning events, Ding sits two points back of Hikaru Nakamura in the race for the first wild card spot. If Ding fails to make the semifinals, Nakamura will clinch a Grand Final position. The winner of this tournament will also grab a spot, unless it is Carlsen; in that case, both Ding and Nakamura will advance to the final four-player event.

Carlsen will look to keep up his dominant form on Saturday, when he faces Ivanchuk. The World Champion is a -835 favorite over Ivanchuk (+475) to win the match. Meanwhile, a match between Nepomniachtchi (-190) and Svidler (+140) could help clarify the playoff picture.


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