Good news, Chicago Cubs fans: anything is possible! In round 1 of the Bilbao Final Masters Hikaru Nakamura finally did something he hadn't done in his entire career: defeat Magnus Carlsen in a game with a classical time control. The game didn't get off to an auspicious start, as Carlsen obtained a very pleasant advantage on the white side of a Fianchetto Dragon, but when Carlsen chose a badly flawed plan Nakamura seized the advantage, increased it, and - most importantly - kept it. Carlsen resigned shortly after the time control was made, and the impossible dream proved possible after all.
That puts Nakamura in first with three points on Bilbao's 3-1-0 scoring system, two points ahead of Sergey Karjakin, Wesley So, Anish Giri, and Wei Yi. The Karjakin-So game was a well-played game where White did most of the pressing but not to the point where Black was in serious trouble, while Giri did have a serious advantage for a while against Wei Yi, but didn't manage to convert.
The games, with reasonably substantive notes to Carlsen-Nakamura, are here. The round 2 pairings are:
- So - Nakamura
- Wei Yi - Carlsen
- Karjakin - Giri