On traditional scoring Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura would be tied for first in the Bilbao Masters Final after three rounds. Nakamura defeated Carlsen in round 1 and drew his next two games, while Carlsen won in rounds 2 and 3 (against Wei Yi and Sergey Karjakin, respectively) to catch him on +1. Bilbao uses 3-1-0 scoring, however, so Carlsen has 6/9 compared to Nakamura's 5. Unlike most of the events covered in the previous posts, seven rounds remain in this double round-robin, so there's plenty of time yet for things to change.
A question outside the scope of the current tournament: is there enough time for Karjakin to give Carlsen a real challenge this November? His results since qualifying for the world championship match have been decent but not for someone who looks to defeat the highest-rated player of all time, and against Carlsen today his play after the early middlegame was quite bad (have a look), and not just in comparison with his opponent's generally outstanding play. (If Karjakin doesn't shape up, the sponsors will have AGON their faces.)
Here are the round 4 pairings, with 3-1-0 scores given in parentheses (so far, all the decisive results have come in Carlsen's games):
- Carlsen (6) - So (3)
- Nakamura (5) - Giri (3)
- Wei Yi (2) - Karjakin (2)