Aronian Wins Superbet Rapid & Blitz In Playoff
Levon Aronian, the winner in Bucharest. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

Aronian Wins Superbet Rapid & Blitz In Playoff

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
|
57 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday Levon Aronian defeated Sergey Karjakin in a playoff to win the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour in Bucharest. With his victory, the Armenian grandmaster secured a spot in the London playoffs next month.

Anton Korobov's Cinderella story was brutally disturbed on Sunday. He started with five straight losses and would eventually collect just two points—the same amount Fabiano Caruana got on the last day.

Le Quang Liem Korobov 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
After his 7/9 on the first day of blitz, Le Quang Liem started with a win against Korobov but would eventually score just four points this time. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

Aronian's 4.5/9 was more than enough to overtake Korobov but just enough to share first place. Karjakin made 6/9, which meant both players ended on 20 points.

With or without the playoff, this result was highly disappointing for Karjakin. The Russian GM needed a clear victory in Bucharest to overtake Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the overall standings and came incredibly close.

As it went, Aronian and Karjakin are now tied for fourth place (behind Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Vachier-Lagrave) in the overall GCT standings (below), but since Aronian has one more event, he'll surely take the fourth spot.

Viswanathan Anand came third in Bucharest and is now in sixth place in the Grand Chess Tour. With a good result on home soil in the Tata Steel event later this month in Kolkata, India, he can still make it to London. 

Round 17 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
Three games from the penultimate round. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

It was especially sour for Karjakin because the difference with MVL in the standings is just a third of a GCT point, and in the last round he had spoiled a winning position.

Karjakin's opponent in that game? Korobov. If he wasn't winning the tournament, the Ukrainian could still play spoiler.

With little time on the clock, Korobov agreed to a draw while having a forced mate on the board.

Karjakin-Korobov 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
After drawing with Caruana, Aronian checks out Karjakin-Korobov in the final round. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

Karjakin scored six solid draws and three wins today, and one of his victims was Aronian. The Armenian GM missed a similar tactic as David Navara did on the same day against Alexander Grischuk:

Sergey Karjakin 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
It's impossible not to feel sorry for Karjakin, who seems to have missed out on the London playoffs by 0.3 GCT point. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

The loss was Aronian's first of the day after starting 3/3. It got him off-balance, and he would lose two more in his next three games and eventually finish with 50 percent.

The first game in the playoff ended in a draw, and then Aronian won the second to take the Superbet Rapid & Blitz trophy home. Even the tactic in this game featured a double attack by a bishop on a rook and king:

Aronian Karjakin playoff 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
Karjakin resigns in the second playoff game. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

Anand was in contention for first place for a while, thanks to his good start: 3/3. Finishing with six draws was just not enough. Here's his fine win from the first round:

Anand 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz
Anand came short, but still has chances to reach the London playoffs. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

The big star of the day was, in fact, Vladislav Artemiev. Like the other wildcard, Le Quang Liem, the other day, Artemiev scored a fantastic, undefeated 7/9. 

And like against Le, Anish Giri lost in a ferocious attack to the strongest blitz player of the day (although in this game the Dutchman had outplayed his opponent in the opening and early middlegame): 

Participants 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
All the participants one more time on the stage with officials. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

Superbet Rapid & Blitz Romania Grand Chess Tour final standings

Grand Chess Tour standings after Bucharest Superbet Rapid & Blitz 2019

All games from day 5

Aronian wife Arianne Caoili kiss 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
Aronian kissing his wife after the job is done... Photo: Lennart Ootes.
Aronian young boy 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
...meeting a young fan who brought an Armenian flag... Photo: Lennart Ootes.
Aronian young boy 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
...and posing with the fan! Photo: Lennart Ootes.

Previous report:

More from PeterDoggers
So Beats Vachier-Lagrave In Speed Chess Quarterfinal

So Beats Vachier-Lagrave In Speed Chess Quarterfinal

Nepomniachtchi Beats Ding In Speed Chess Quarterfinal

Nepomniachtchi Beats Ding In Speed Chess Quarterfinal