Aronian Wins Goldmoney Asian Rapid
Levon Aronian after winning the Goldmoney Asian Rapid: "I was lucky against Magnus." Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Aronian Wins Goldmoney Asian Rapid

| 38 | Chess Event Coverage

On a somewhat anticlimactic last day, GM Levon Aronian won the Goldmoney Asian Rapid final rather quickly. Needing just two game points, Aronian defeated GM Vladislav Artemiev twice to clinch the $30,000 first prize after an hour and 25 minutes of play.

GM Magnus Carlsen eventually came in third after losing three straight games to GM Ding Liren in the rapid segment but winning the blitz tiebreak.

How to watch?
The Goldmoney Asian Rapid knockout games can be found here as part of our live events platform.

Goldmoney Asian Rapid results
Aronian-Artemiev 2-0

Except for his semifinal against Carlsen, Aronian won the Goldmoney Asian Rapid in impressive style. After winning the preliminaries, he made it to his second final in the Tour and won it deservedly with excellent play.

"In the morning, when I was preparing, I made the strategy that I have to press, continuing the same that I was doing," said Aronian about his plan for the second day. "When you're trailing in a match and you lose one game, it's almost like you're finished. So I wanted to keep this fighting spirit that I had against Magnus and also yesterday, I wanted to keep it going, and I think it worked out pretty well."

It definitely did because winning that first game with the black pieces was huge:

Aronian had spent just about six minutes on his clock during this game and took just five in the next. He was definitely putting Artemiev under pressure, but at one moment in the second game, there was suddenly some doubt.

After 14.Nf1, Aronian thought things were going wrong (thinking, "What am I doing?") until he saw the 19.Nxf5 tactic. "This completely changes the evaluation of the position," he said.

"I have to say I was lucky against Magnus," said Aronian. "Hadn't I been lucky in that match, where I was blundering everything, we wouldn't be sitting here and saying how smart and intelligent my tactic was!"

Levon Aronian wins Goldmoney Asian Rapid
Aronian after his win: "I will allow myself a glass of wine." Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Carlsen-Ding 0-3 | 1.5-0.5

The match for third place saw a rather bizarre score sequence. First, Carlsen lost three games in a row (which also happened to him in the semifinal!), but he ended up as the winner anyway, thanks to a pretty good first blitz game:

Magnus Carlsen Goldmoney Asian Rapid
Magnus Carlsen. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Carlsen: "It was just a bad day in the rapid, but fortunately I knew that, one, the stakes weren't that high, and two, I always had a chance in the blitz." said Carlsen. Looking back at the whole event, he said:

"I gave away a lead after the first day three times. I mean, that can't happen. But certainly, the match against Levon was unfortunate. Not that I had bad luck; it was just unfortunate that I didn't win it. Obviously, what happened there on the second day shouldn't happen. I mean, it's one thing if he wins when he plays like he did in the final when he was very convincing, but I really don't think he played that well against me and so that's the annoying part for me. But I guess overall, I played poorly in the preliminaries as well, so he is certainly a much more deserved winner than I would have been, but yeah, it's still obviously annoying."

Carlsen's next tournament will be the FIDE World Cup, where he's scheduled to play from the second round on July 12 (like Aronian and Artemiev; Ding doesn't play). Asked about his plans for what will be his first classical event since Wijk aan Zee, Carlsen remarked: "First of all, I hope to get there! That's my first plan. I hope to submit a negative Covid-test tomorrow and get my first shot of the vaccine and then be on my way."

Carlsen Bu Xiangzhi
Four years ago, Carlsen lost to Bu Xiangzhi in the third round of the World Cup. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

He added: "In terms of goal, I don't know. I think we'll see how it goes. I think in such a big knockout if you get there with the sort of the mindset that anything but a victory is a disappointment, you're sort of setting yourself up to fail, so I won't be thinking in those terms, more of getting good training and try to advance as far as possible."

All Games Day 9

The Goldmoney Asian Rapid ran 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 consisted of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advanced to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White had five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match was tied after the second day. The prize fund was $100,000.

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