A day after he courted controversy, sensationally quitting his game with American star Hans Niemann after playing just one move, world champion Magnus Carlsen let his chess do the talking in the Julius Baer Generation Cup -- the seventh leg of the USD1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour -- wresting back the lead on an entertaining day of chess.
Ahead of the final day of the preliminary stage, the Norwegian overhauled Indian youngster Arjun Erigaisi on the leaderboard with three wins and a draw to finish with 25 out of a maximum 36 points so far on Wednesday (IST).
Carlsen managed to emerge leader despite having controversially thrown his Round 6 game against Hans Niemann, seemingly in protest over alleged cheating.
Meanwhile, Erigaisi, who hails from Warangal in the south Indian state of Telangana, has been on fire in the ongoing event but lost only his second game on Tuesday and trails Carlsen by just one point.
Fellow Indian Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa remains a danger in fourth, with Vietnam's Liem Quang Le in third. German's Vincent Keymer lifted himself up level on 19/36 with a Round 12 win.
All five are nearly home and primed for the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event's knockout stage which starts on Thursday along with Polish ace Jan-Krzysztof Duda.
However, a series of big names are at risk of failing to make the cut tomorrow when the field of 16 is halved. These include Levon Aronian, Anish Giri and Ukrainian legend Vasyl Ivanchuk.
Hans Niemann, the controversial American who Carlsen refused to play a full game against in Round 6, briefly dropped out of the qualification spots before crushing Aronian in just 21 moves. He stands in sixth.
There was a shock Round 9 win for the youngest player in the event, 15-year-old American Christopher Yoo, who beat Giri. Round 10 saw a huge generational tussle -- fitting with the theme of the event -- between Carlsen, of 1990 vintage, and Vasyl Ivanchuk, the elder statesman in the event.
Carlsen missed a chance to win instantly and then went into full defence mode, setting up a fortress in an attempt to hang on for the draw against the endgame master. After 123 high-quality moves and 70 minutes of play, Ivanchuk managed it and maintained his positive head-to-head score against Carlsen in rapid chess.
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