Magnus Carlsen botches win and heads for tiebreaks at chess World Cup


Leonard Barden

Several top seeds were eliminated while a 10-man Russian phalanx plus five teenagers reached the last 32 in Sochi

Magnus Carlsen’s serene progress through the early rounds of the $1.9m (£1.38m), 206-player World Cup at Sochi hit a rock in Friday’s fourth round, the last 32, when the world champion botched a simple win. After drawing his first game with Radoslaw Wojtaszek on Thursday, Carlsen built up a decisive attack against the Polish No 2’s Sicilian Defence only to miss the decisive rook move 25 Rxh7! instead allowing a draw by repeated position.

The match now heads at 1-1 for speed tie-breaks on Saturday, starting at 1pm. Carlsen will still be the heavy favourite, but even if he wins his oversight will give encouragement to his potential opponents in later rounds, starting with round five and the winner of the all-Russian encounter between Daniil Dubov and Andrey Esipenko, which is also level at 1-1.

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