Carlsen, MVL Winners In Star-Studded Titled Tuesday

Carlsen, MVL Winners In Star-Studded Titled Tuesday

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February's Titled Tuesday was the strongest yet with five of the world's top six (!) grandmasters in the field.

GMs Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So both played for the first time; they were joined by Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Fabiano Caruana. As many noted, this was the equivalent of an online super-tournament.

Carlsen set a blistering pace, winning his first six games and making it look easy as he surged into clear first. He did falter at the end, drawing one game as Black and then losing one. Consequently, he was caught by GMs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Eltaj Safarli, Jose Ibarra Jerez, IM Alexander Moskalenko, and FM Pedro Martinez in a six-way tie for first place.

So fell back to 6.5 points after starting with a clean 4/4. Nakamura and Caruana experienced connection issues with resulting bugs and weren't able to finish the tournament.

This was's first tournament at the new 1 p.m. Pacific time for a single Titled Tuesday with a $1,500 prize fund. The time proved so popular that we had a record turnout of 216 players. As a consequence, we are increasing the number of rounds to 11 in all future tournaments to reduce the probability of ties.

The Leaders

Carlsen's initial six wins seemed effortless. Even against strong players, his pieces just seemed to flow to the right squares. Here is an impressive game in which he devoured the strong blitz player GM Daniel Naroditsky.

His one loss and only game with any difficulty occurred in round eight as GM Evgeny Levin played excellently to show that Carlsen's "weak" pawns could indeed be taken advantage of.

Levin could have claimed clear first, but faltered in round nine, allowing mate in one in a sharp game against IM Alexander Moskalenko. He could have continued checking, but one can only play for so long with seconds on the clock before an error happens.

Wesley So looked a little less practiced in online chess, but he also won his first four games. He could have lost against Vachier-Lagrave had his knight been picked off.

Later he did lose vs. the promising Dutch player GM Benjamin Bok and the Titled Tuesday veteran (and board one for the Gorky Stormbringers in the PRO Chess League) GM Evgeny Shaposhnikov, who found a nice move to trap So's rook and displayed excellent technique to finish the game.

Tiebreak-winner Safarli played one of the nicer tactics from the winner's circle as he executed a deadly threat against Shaposhnikov.

The Checkmates

One of the appeals of blitz chess is that even among strong players, checkmates are often played out on the board rather than hidden in variations. Here are some of the nicer finishes played this month.

Titled Tuesday | Final Standings (6.5 Points And Up)

Place Seed Fed Title Username Name Score SB
1 3 GM EltajSafarli Eltaj Safarli 7.5 42.75
2 15 IM Alexander_Moskalenko Alexander Moskalenko 7.5 39.25
3 34 GM jcibarra José Carlos Ibarra Jerez 7.5 36.25
4 10 GM LyonBeast Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 7.5 35.5
5 160 FM pedromartinez91 Pedro Martinez 7.5 31.75
6 1 GM MagnusCarlsen Magnus Carlsen 7.5 30.25
7 42 GM Borsch7 Maxim Matlakov 7 35.75
8 4 GM Evgeny_Levin Evgeny Levin 7 34.5
9 54 GM bs86 Boris Savchenko 7 34
10 89 IM Astaneh Alex Lopez 7 33
11 24 GM Sanan_Sjugirov Sanan Sjugirov 7 30.25
12 161 IM Incognito_Knight Володимир Ветошко 7 28.75
13 25 GM ShimanovAlex Aleksandr Shimanov 6.5 35.75
14 33 GM JackSnipe anon 6.5 34.25
15 129 FM Multivitamin73 anon 6.5 33.25
16 6 GM gmwesley_so Wesley So 6.5 32.75
17 35 GM Noukii Yannick Gozzoli 6.5 29.75
18 26 GM erichansen Eric Hansen 6.5 26.5
19 63 GM SergeiAza Sergei Azarov 6.5 22.75

Full tournament crosstable available here.

The full tournament with expert commentary from the man with the hair that just don't care, IM Aman Hambleton, is available on

Watch live video from Chess on

In light of the six-way tie for first, all players in the tie, split the $1,400 in place prizes equally. Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave, Safarli, Ibarra Jerez, Moskalenko, and Martinez each received $233.33.

The next Titled Tuesday will take place on March 7 at 1 p.m. Pacific time with a $1,500 prize pool. The live broadcast will be available on and

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