Aimchess Rapid: experience wins, Carlsen wins

Carlsen wins the Champions Chess Tour 2022

The world of chess has been revolutionized during the pandemic. Due to travel restrictions, online tournaments have gained relevance even among the best players in the world. One of the biggest online initiatives has been taken by the group Play Magnus with their Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, which started on April 18, 2020. Two and a half years later, the third edition of the tour is coming to an end and a household name has already won a third consecutive title.

Magnus Carlsen won the inaugural edition, which bore his name, after winning 4 of the 5 tournaments held. In the second edition, the series was renamed the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, and Carlsen again prevailed after taking first places in 4 of the 10 events.

Now, in a series consisting of 9 tournaments (6 regular and 3 major), the world champion has remarkably secured first place with a tournament to spare, having won 4 of the 7 events already played and reached the semi-finals. of the circuit. eighth contest.

Carlsen won the tour – and therefore an additional $50,000 – after defeating Arjun Erigaisi by a score of 2½-½ in the quarter-finals of Aimchess Rapid. The score of the match by no means tells the whole story as Arjun was inches away from getting ahead on the scoreboard in the first game. Frustration over failing to convert from a clear winning position seemingly unsettled the Indian wonderkid, who went on to lose two games in a row.

In the semi-finals, Carlsen will face Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Duda is a clear second in the overall tour standings and reached the semi-finals after defeating Vidit Gujrathi, also by a score of 2½-½. Wednesday’s other game will see Shakhriyar Mamedyarov take on Richard Rapport. Shakh took down world rapid champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov, while Rapport got the better of Gukesh Dommaraju.

Carlsen 2½ – ½ Arjun

The first game of this match practically determined the final result, as Arjun completely overpowered his famous opponent but failed to convert his clear advantage into victory – on several occasions.

White is not only a pawn, but his rook and knight are much more active than Black’s rook and bishop. Here, 36.c3 was a nice discovery by Arjun, as Black cannot grab the pawn with 36…Bxc3 due to 37.Nc5+ Ka3 38.Kb3+, grabbing the bishop.

The game continued 36…Ba3 37.c5 Bc1 38.Kb1 Ka3 as Arjun continued to find the most trying offensive suites.

White can choose between capturing the bishop on c1 or the pawn on e5, and Arjun chose the latter, keeping as much control over the position as possible while preventing Black’s a-pawn from stepping on the board. That’s not a mistake per se, but keeping Bishop alive ended up giving Carlsen more of a chance to cover his tracks in the long run.

Despite this decision, Arjun managed to enter an endgame with rook, knight and two extra pawns (on the f and h file) against Carlsen’s rook and bishop. The final was a clear winner and the world champion was visibly upset with his position. However, Carlsen continued to play, looking to bring his bishop to the long black square diagonal.

Arjun’s last mistake came at move 76. The Indian, frustrated with the chances he had missed, continued to play rook and knight against rook until move 136, when a draw by repetition finally ended. been reached.

Select an entry from the list to switch between games

Duda 2½ – ½ Vidit

Just like in the aforementioned match, Duda’s victory was not as clear as the final score shows. The Polish grandmaster, in fact, later noted:

I think it was unexpected that I won the game in three games.

Duda has proven to be a tough rival for Carlsen, whom he will face in the semi-finals. The Wieliczka man beat the world champion at the FTX Crypto Cup in August. Prior to that, he ended Carlsen’s classic 125-game unbeaten streak in October 2020 and knocked the Norwegian out of the 2021 World Cup in Sochi.

Mamedyarov 2½ – 1½ Abdusattorov

In a close match, Mamedyarov’s win in the opener proved enough to knock out his young opponent. Three draws followed, giving Shakh a ticket to the semi-finals.

The Azerbaijani, playing black, converted the final of the next round into a victory.

White had to play actively here, either with 50.Ke5 or even 50.Ke3, to maintain balance in the position. Instead, Abdusattorov 50.Rb2 allowed black to decisively activate his king via 50…e5 51.fxe5 Rxe5. Mamedyarov converted his advantage into a 69 shot victory.

Ratio 2½ – 1½ Gukesh

It was the only game that saw both players score at least one win. Gukesh was the first to strike, but back-to-back wins in games 3 and 4 saw Rapport take the next step of knockouts.

Rapport, now representing Romania, converted a rook-and-bishop-versus-rook endgame in game four to secure the match victory. The technical ending had been drawn out until move 155(!), when Gukesh finally cracked and allowed Rapport to demonstrate the winning technique in the oft-seen setup.

Known for his outspoken statements, Report confessed later:

I play miserable chess, so I was really looking forward to Gukesh getting me out of my misery tonight.


Master Class Vol.2: Mihail Tal

On this DVD, Dorian Rogozenco, Mihail Marin, Oliver Reeh and Karsten Müller present the 8. World Chess Champion in video lessons: his openings, his understanding of chess strategy, his clever endgame play and finally his immortal combinations.


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