Qatar Masters Round 3: Nakamura, Giri Held As Carlsen Hits Back (2024)

Moves were delayed 15 minutes and watches outlawed as world number-one Magnus Carlsen's tweets had an instant impact on round three of the2023 Qatar Masters. The drama was limited on the board; GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri were frustrated by young opponents, while 20-year-old GM Arjun Erigaisi and 17-year-old Javokhir Sindarov are among just five players on a perfect 3/3.

Round four starts on October 14 at 8 a.m. ET/14:00 CEST/5:30 p.m. IST.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2023 Qatar Masters on the Qatar Chess Association YouTube: YouTube.com/QatarChessqa and on Hikaru Nakamura's Kick channel: kick.com/gmhikaru. Games from the event can be viewed on our events page.

The live broadcast was hosted by IM Irine Sukandar, IM Jovanka Houska, and GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko.


Round three of the Qatar Masters felt like the calm after the storm. As Nakamura had predicted a day earlier, Carlsen's complaints were dealt with swiftly. The transmission of moves was delayed 15 minutes, the use of mobile phones in the venue was curtailed, and watches were among the items that might be prohibited, though the wording left some wiggle room:

"Items that trigger the security scanners during checks at the entrance of the playing venue (e.g. pens, wallets, watches …), may have to be left at the security checkpoint."

The controversy had died down, though not entirely. Two-time world championship challenger GM Ian Nepomniachtchi poured some oil on the fire.

Judging by the current state of affairs in online and OTB chess, either the cheating situation is completely out of control, or the rating system needs to be reformed, or both.

— Ian Nepomniachtchi (@lachesisq) October 13, 2023

There were also reverberations from the biggest rating upset of the day before, GM Vladimir Fedoseev's loss to 393-point-lower-rated FM Senthil Marim K. It was reported that Fedoseev didn't actually resign his lost position but simply left the board.

If this is true, leaving the playing area in the middle of the game feels like a fair play violation. Even if it isn't, it is completely wrong, unethical and blatantly disrespectful to the opponent. Request @FIDE_chess and @aicfchess to take cognizance, and I am happy to make a… https://t.co/tIufdyDEHW

— Srinath Narayanan (@srinathchess) October 13, 2023

Briefly, 0/3 seemed a possible start for number-10 seed Fedoseev, but he ultimately beat young FM Khumoyun Begmuratov to stem the bleeding.

Qatar Masters Round 3: Nakamura, Giri Held As Carlsen Hits Back (1)

Carlsen also began the fightback by defeating IM Muthaiah AL, but despite a promising opening the former world champion was made to work very hard by the 23-year-old Indian, with the losing mistake only coming on move 43.

Muthaiah AL resigns, as it's mate-in-3, and Carlsen moves to a more respectable 2/3! https://t.co/4shscFoNN9 #QatarMasters2023 pic.twitter.com/t0SQTiGpSI

— chess24.com (@chess24com) October 13, 2023

That game was analyzed first by Nakamura in his recap video.

Nakamura's own game against 21-year-old Uzbek GM Shamsiddin Vokhidov was an instantly forgettable draw, with Nakamura summing up: "A little bit disappointed I didn’t get any chance to try and win the game, but when your opponent plays like this with the white pieces it is what it is, and at least I didn’t lose the game."

Giri had similar thoughts, as arguably the best-prepared player in modern chess found himself outprepared by 17-year-old Indian GM Aditya Mittal, who blitzed out the first 15 moves.

17-year-old Aditya Mittal has blitzed out all his moves against Anish Giri! https://t.co/uT9fUlETDq #QatarMasters2023 pic.twitter.com/TLAi3Qnb33

— chess24.com (@chess24com) October 13, 2023

Giri reflected afterward that it had been "a bit too naive to expect my opponent to be out of book" in a rare Sicilian line he'd prepared as a novelty for the first big online chess event during the pandemic.

Time had passed, and GM Hans Niemann had used the opening to beat GM Levon Aronian in St. Louis just a few days ago. "I think I’m probably lucky to have gotten away this easily," he said, of a decision to push for more than a draw that almost backfired.

Interview with GM Anish Giri at Qatar Masters 2023 Round 3 ♟️

Done by @keti_chess #qatarmasters2023 pic.twitter.com/NrR8kyARYg

— Qatar Chess (@QatarChess) October 13, 2023

The highest seed to maintain a perfect score was number-six seed Arjun, who won a complicated Scheveningen Sicilian battle against Azerbaijani GM Vugar Rasulov. That victory for the 20-year-old Indian prodigy is our Game of the Day, and has been analyzed by GM Dejan Bojkov.


Arjun is joined on a perfect 3/3 by four more players, including 25-year-old Indian GM Narayanan Sunilduth Lyna, who convincingly beat Carlsen's tormentor from the day before, GM Alisher Suleymenov; 22-year-old Dutch GM Robby Kevlishvili; and 17-year-old Uzbek GM Sindarov, who won a long grinding battle of the generations against 64-year-old U.S. GM Gregory Kaidanov.

Qatar Masters Round 3: Nakamura, Giri Held As Carlsen Hits Back (3)

Sindarov will now face the veteran among the leaders, 34-year-old GM Rinat Jumabayev from Kazakhstan. His victory over German IM Robert Baskin was a drastic case of "never play f6!"

Nakamura and Giri were joined in the 15-player group on 2.5/3 by two leaders of the new generation, 19-year-old GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov and 17-year-old Gukesh Dommaraju. The latter won a topsy-turvy game against his Indian colleague GM Chanda Sandipan, to return to both the live top-10 and the 2750-club.

Qatar Masters Round 3: Nakamura, Giri Held As Carlsen Hits Back (4)

The standings look as follows, with six rounds to go.

Qatar Masters | Standings After Round 3 (Top 21)

Rk.Seed #NameAgeSexFEDRatingPointsTB1TB2
16GMErigaisi, ArjunU202712363292
212GMSindarov, JavokhirU1826583123278
313GMNarayanan.S.L,26513133266
425GMJumabayev, Rinat25853253229
543GMKevlishvili, Robby25213433197
62GMNakamura, Hikaru27802.522780
73GMGiri, Anish27602.532775
84GMGukesh, DU1827582.542678
95GMAbdusattorov, NodirbekU2027162.552681
1016GMSalem, A.R. Saleh26322.5162743
1119GMYakubboev, Nodirbek26162.5192721
1220GMKarthikeyan, Murali26112.5202697
1326GMKuybokarov, Temur25842.5262691
1428GMVokhidov, Shamsiddin25782.5282788
1530GMAditya, MittalU1825722.5302771
1640GMFawzy, Adham25352.5402623
1741GMYilmazyerli, Mert25332.5412688
1861IMMadaminov, MukhiddinU1824842.5612823
1975IMVaishali, Rameshbabuw24482.5752764
20142GMLaxman, R.R.23222.51442821
211GMCarlsen, Magnus2839212598

Full standings

Qatar Masters | All Games Round 3

The 2023 Qatar Masters is a nine-round open tournament for players rated 2300+. It takes place in Lusail, Qatar on October 11-20, and boasts a $108,250 prize fund with $25,000 for first place, as well as a $5,000 prize for the top female player.

Previous Coverage:

  • Round 2: Carlsen Criticises Lack Of Anti-Cheating Measures After Stunning Defeat
  • Round 1: Carlsen, Nakamura Start Fast, Fedoseev Falls
  • Qatar Masters 2023 - All The Information

Colin McGourty

Colin McGourty led news at Chess24 from its launch until it merged with Chess.com a decade later. An amateur player, he got into chess writing when he set up the website Chess in Translation after previously studying Slavic languages and literature in St. Andrews, Odesa, Oxford, and Krakow.

Qatar Masters Round 3: Nakamura, Giri Held As Carlsen Hits Back (2024)
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