Magnus Carlsen vs. Hikaru Nakamura: Chess' big beasts go head-to-head in grand final with $30,000 on the line

    Hikaru Nakamura, left, Magnus Carlsen, right.

    (CNN)Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo. Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal. Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova. All clashes between the greats of sport which have gripped fans and come to define an era.

    In chess, games between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura have been such must-watch encounters.
    And on Friday, to the delight of fans, the two giants of the game will meet each other in the grand final of the Airthings Masters with $30,000 on the line.
      The pair met only a few days ago in the tournament's winner's final on Wednesday, with Carlsen winning in the Armageddon decider by bidding just one second less than Nakamura to get the black pieces, therefore only needing a draw to go through.
        In Armageddon chess, normal rules apply apart from two distinctions: black has draw odds, meaning that if black draws the game, then they win, and black starts with less time on the clock than white.
        In other tournaments, world No. 6 Nakamura would have had to settle for a final loss and head home. But in the Airthings Masters, he was offered one final opportunity to qualify for the grand final, playing Wesley So in the loser's final.
        With his victory in the Armageddon game, Nakamura gave himself another opportunity to dethrone the reigning champion Carlsen.
          In the uniquely formatted Airthings Masters, if Carlsen was to lose the grand final, there would be a reset final -- a best of three encounter.
          Nakamura (left) and Carlsen (right) during the FIDE Chess World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Warsaw, Poland in 2021.