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Goldmoney Asian Rapid SF Day 2: Aronian knocks out Carlsen

by Shahid Ahmed - 03/07/2021

Both Carlsen and Ding Liren were the favorites to advance to the Finals of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Goldmoney Asian Rapid. However, Aronian and Artemiev won their respective second sets to force blitz tie-breaks and they won them too. Carlsen again started the day with a loss which happened for the sixth time out of the seven days of the event. He also lost a total of four times out of six games. Aronian will now face tour debutant Artemiev in the Finals while Carlsen will play against Ding Liren for the 3rd-4th place match. Aronian also diminished Carlsen's chances to make a hat-trick of wins in this tour. Finals will start today from 4:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aronian and Artemiev make a brilliant comeback

Both Aronian and Artemiev played fantastic in the second set of Semi-Finals to not only win the second set and force tie-breaks but also win their respective blitz tie-breaks to secure their place in the Finals. Artemiev reached to the Finals in his debut at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, Aronian made it to the Finals for the second time in this season. Carlsen will play 3rd-4th place match for the second time since Carlsen invitational.

Aronian prevented Carlsen's hat-trick of tournament wins at Meltwater Champions Chess Tour | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aronian - Carlsen: 5-1

Aronian had to win the second set to force blitz tie-breaks. Carlsen once again started the day with a loss, this was six out of seven days of the event.

Carlsen - Aronian, Game 1

Position after 45...Rf5

The d5-pawn can only be defended tactically. Find out how. The text 46.Nd2 allowed Black to take the d5-pawn 46...Rxd5 and free the bishop which eventually became a deciding factor. Aronian won the game and took a 1-0 lead.

The second game was an exciting draw. Aronian maintained his lead 1.5-0.5

Carlsen was completely winning the third game but somehow he messed up.

Carlsen - Aronian, Game 3

Position after 24...f5

While 25.f6 is winning, 25.Qg4+ Kh8 26.f6 would have been much more definitive for White. Eventually he lost both b6 and f6-pawns, White's advantage dwindled away and Aronian's staunch defense allowed him to save a half point. Aronian maintained his lead 2-1.

Carlsen pushed too hard in the fourth game and went for a wrong tactic which cost him two important pawns.

Aronian - Carlsen, Game 4

Position after 31...Rd4+

31...Rd4+ does no good because Nd7+ is not there. 32.Kxc5 Rd3 33.Ng4 Nd7+ 34.Kc4 and Black resigned. A draw also meant blitz tie-breaks would take place because Aronian still would have won the second set, thus Carlsen was desperate to score a win. Aronian won the second set 3-1 which means it's time for blitz tie-breaks.

Aronian started the tie-breaks with a victory.

Aronian - Carlsen, Blitz 1

Position after 19...g6

Black just needed to play 19...f6 and everything would have been fine. 19...g6 just casually dropped the f7-pawn and the rook is not getting trapped either. Aronian won the game comfortably and took 1-0 lead which means Carlsen has just lost three games out of five and now in must-win situation.

Carlsen was out of his element as he made a desperate sacrifice trying to gain some sort of advantage but the opposite happened.

Carlsen - Aronian, Blitz 2

Position after 19.f4

Both 19...exf4 and gxf4 are good for Black and White has no compensation for it. Aronian went for 19...exf4 and things slowly spiraled out of control for White. Aronian won the second straight blitz tie-break and won the tie-breaks 2-0, secured his place in the Finals.

Wow! Did Aronian just eliminate Magnus Carlsen with a perfect game? | Video: ChessBase India

The final position of the second blitz tie-break | Photo: Champions Chess Tour

Ding Liren - Artemiev: 2-4

Ding Liren made an interesting pawn sacrifice in the middlegame which did not work out. Artemiev eventually got a better position in the endgame.

Ding Liren - Artemiev, Game 1

Position after 51.Rf4

One of the best chances Black had in the game was in the above diagram. 51...Ncd3 would have led towards a victory but the Russian eventually lost the passed pawn and the game ended in a draw.

In the second game, Artemiev got a bishop pair, and he capitalized on it.

Artemiev - Ding Liren, Game 2

Position after 28...d5

Things fell apart for Black after 28...d5 as White could immediately capture it 29.Rxd5 and the resultant endgame is completely winning for White. Artemiev took a bit longer but he won the game and took 0.5-1.5 lead.

Artemiev was completely winning an absolutely wild third game.

Ding Liren - Artemiev, Game 3

Position after 32.Rg3

Artemiev blundered 32...Qf6 and White got an opportunity to win the game 33.gxf7+ Kf8 34.fxe8=Q+ Rxe8 35.Rxc4 and it's all over for Black. What was the better continuation for Black in the above diagram? Ding Liren equalized the second set 1.5-1.5

Artemiev won the must-win fourth game by grinding in the endgame.

Artemiev - Ding Liren, Game 4

Position after 45.Ke7

Look at the king's journey from h2 to e7. This is still not winning for White but the intent made Ding Liren made a mistake and Artemiev eventually won the game and set 1.5-2.5. Thus, blitz tie-breaks were enforced.

The first blitz tie-break was a tepid draw. Artemiev won the second blitz tie-break as Ding Liren blundered a piece.

Artemiev - Ding Liren, Blitz 2

Position after 22...Ncxd3

22...Nexd3 would have been better for Black. Ncxd3 spelled disaster. Artemiev eventually won the game, set 2-4 and advanced to the Finals.

The final position of the second blitz tie-break between Artemiev and Ding Liren | Photo: Champions Chess Tour

Replay Semi-Final Day 2 games

Replay the live stream

Goldmoney Asian Rapid Day 7 live stream | Video: ChessBase India

Semi-Final Day 2 Results

Aronian and Artemiev will face each other in the Finals | Photo: Champions Chess Tour

Schedule

All games will start from 4:30 p.m. IST between 26th June and 4th July 2021.

Links

Champions Chess Tour official site

Tournament regulations


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