Goldmoney Asian Rapid: Winning Comebacks For Aronian, Artemiev

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The final of the Goldmoney Asian Rapid tournament will be played between GM Levon Aronian and GM Vladislav Artemiev. Both managed to come back from yesterday’s losses as they won their matches today and then also the tiebreaks. As a result, GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Ding Liren will be playing the match for third place.

Goldmoney Asian Rapid results
Aronian-Carlsen 3-1 | 2-0

This was a match with lots of mistakes, with the world champion making the biggest ones. In the end, however, it was a fighting spirit that got Aronian through, according to the Armenian grandmaster, who won both blitz games in the tiebreak against Carlsen.

“Yesterday I was very upset with my play,” Aronian said. “OK, I think I was playing better yesterday, but I wasn’t having this fighting spirit. Today I was playing terrible blunders but at least, you know, I was fighting till the very end. I think this is very important in a knockout type of event.”

Aronian was with his back against the wall in the first game and saw the winning move for White when he blundered, but Carlsen didn’t.

“I saw 39.Nxe5 immediately when I played 38…f5, and I was: ‘OK, I’ve done it again. I blundered everything. But I think Magnus had a day off today.” (Obviously, Aronian meant off-day.)

The next two games ended in draws, with Carlsen again dominating with the white pieces. He was actually playing quite a nice game where he reached a pawn-up queen endgame but then… blundered that pawn. An off-day indeed.

Aronian had no trouble drawing as White in game four and in fact, he won that game—a French Exchange—because Carlsen had to overpress. 

For the first blitz game, the world champion chose a very old line in the Closed Ruy Lopez. The players followed an old Geller game from 1950(!) for 17 moves, but it looks that already two moves out of theory Carlsen erred, miscalculating a pawn sacrifice:

For the second time, Carlsen was in a must-win situation, this time for real. But also with the white pieces, he didn’t get anywhere, with Aronian avoiding all the pitfalls:

Magnus Carlsen Goldmoney Asian Rapid
Carlsen clearly had an off-day. Photo: Peter Doggers/Chess.com.

Artemiev-Ding 2.5-1.5 | 1.5-0.5

On what was a special day of chess, the other loser of the first match also ended up as the eventual winner. The difference was that also today, Artemiev was on the verge of losing before pulling through after all.

After starting with a draw and a loss, Ding bounced back with a wonderful, coffeehouse win where he was lost for many moves but kept throwing pieces at the black king:

That meant that Ding needed just half a point from the fourth game to reach the final. He played a good game and had the draw within reach until one little check in a rook endgame gave it away. 

In a rare display of emotions for the Chinese player, Ding shook his head and looked at the ceiling in disbelief.

Another tiebreak, another upset victory. Artemiev held the draw in the first blitz game and then won the second. It went wrong for Black in the opening:

Vladislav Artemiev Goldmoney Asian Rapid
Vladislav Artemiev. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

“It was a very difficult match,” Artemiev said. “Yesterday I lost with zero chances, and I was disappointed. Today I wanted to give a fight to my opponent.”

About facing Artemiev in the final, Aronian said: “He’s a very tough opponent; he is very experienced in rapid. I think it will be exciting. I always like playing against him because he is so creative and definitely underrated among some of the best players in the world.”

All Games Day 7

The Goldmoney Asian Rapid runs June 26-July 4, 2021 on chess24. The preliminary phase was a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players advanced to a six-day knockout that consists of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advance to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $100,000.


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