Carlsen trolls Nakamura mid-match as the champion strikes first in semi

Magnus Carlsen struck first in his Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge semi-final clash against Hikaru Nakamura as the pair appeared to be trolling each other online.

The World Champion, sporting a new haircut, raced into a commanding two-game lead before securing the decisive third to take today’s mini-match.

It was a thumping first-day win and means he takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three tie into tomorrow’s mini-match.

Nakamura needs to win that or be eliminated. The question is, can he recover?

During the match, however, there was extra spice as Carlsen left fans and commentators alike wondering whether he was also landing blows on social media.

Following a Twitter exchange between the pair last week, Nakamura had tweeted “Good luck” to Carlsen before the match started – which was interpreted by some as a jibe.

Then, between his wins, Carlsen tweeted “monkaS” which had many fans googling its meaning.

According to the first result rivalry.comMonkaS is an emote featuring an illustration of Pepe the Frog appearing frightened while sweating.

Meanwhile, in the other semi, Ding Liren and Daniil Dubov traded blows in the first two matches.

Then a draw in the third and what appeared a drawish position in the fourth left the match looking like it would go to an Armageddon tiebreak.

But Ding decided against going for the draw and Dubov capitalized to grab a 2.5-1.5 win against the favourite.

So Dubov moves 1-0 ahead in the tie and has the chance to go through tomorrow, while Ding – like Nakamura – needs to win.

The event, which runs until June 3, is being put on in association with the Lindores Abbey Heritage Society, which maintains the historic site. 

Under the tournament’s social media hashtag #HeritageChess fans can learn more about a participating player and his country’s chess history every day in an effort to show the rich heritage of chess on which the players’ careers have been built. 

Coverage begins with commentary in 10 languages at 16.00 CEST.

You can watch it live here:

Highlights English:

New files at around 23.00 CEST.

Highlights Audio Multitrack:

New files ready around 1 or 2 AM CEST.

Highlights Norwegian:

New files ready between 23.00 and 2.00 AM CEST

Leon Watson