Aimchess US Rapid SF2: Artemiev will face Carlsen in the Finals
Carlsen described his last game against Aronian as 'unbelievably shaky'. He defeated the Armenian who is playing his last event from his native country before moving to the USA. Artemiev-Firouzja was a close fight which went all the way to Armageddon, where the France no.2 made a tactical blunder which cost him the game. Artemiev reached the Finals of a Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event, Aimchess US Rapid for the second time since Goldmoney Asian Rapid. Instead of Aronian, this time Artemiev will be up against the world champion Carlsen. Will he be able to seize his opportunity, or will Carlsen win his third event of the season? Finals start today at 8:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Norway Chess
Armageddon claims Firouzja
The second set between Artemiev-Firouzja also ended in an identical 2-2 tie. After both Blitz games finishing in draws, Armageddon was enforced. Firouzja made an incorrect pawn sacrifice which cost him material and the game, most importantly, a place in the Finals. Firouzja will now play against Aronian in the 3rd-4th place match.
Artemiev - Firouzja: 2-2 (2-1)
Firouzja scored the first win in the second set, after making a draw in the first game.
Artemiev - Firouzja, Game 2
White was already in trouble. 18.Ne4 did not help his cause. 18...Nxc2 was perhaps the quicker way to gain substantial advantage, but Black had no trouble winning the game after 18...Bf5.
Find out the finish for Black in the above position. Firouzja won the game and gained a 0.5-1.5 lead.
Artemiev struck back immediately and levelled the score 1.5-1.5. Firouzja got a slight chance in the endgame to equalize.
Firouzja - Artemiev, Game 3
Find out how White could have saved the game here.
The fourth game ended in a draw, which means the second set also got tied 2-2. Thus, tie-breaks were enforced. Both Blitz tie-breaks ended in draws which means Armageddon was the only way to determinet he finalist between Artemiev and Firouzja.
Artemiev - Firouzja, Armageddon
23...e5 was an incorrect break. If Black had to weaken White's kingside, 23...Bxf3 24.Bxf3 g5 was a safer choice. After 24.fxe5 Qe6 25.g4 White gained material and went on to win the game. Artemiev secured his place in the Finals where he will face Carlsen.
Carlsen - Aronian: 3-1
The world champion started the day with a win over Aronian.
Aronian - Carlsen, Game 1
29.Qe4 would have allowed White to continue the fight a bit longer. The game continued 29.Ne3 and it was all over after 29...Bf3 30.Qd2 d5 31.Ba2 Rf8. There is no way for the e3-knight to get out of the pin and save material. Carlsen gained a 1-0 lead.
Carlsen had a very good chance in the second game.
Carlsen - Aronian, Game 2
31.c5 leads to interesting variations and all are decisive for White. Try to calculate them all. The text, 31.g4, eventually dwindled White's advantage and the game ended in a draw. Carlsen maintained his lead 1.5-0.5
Aronian had a couple of tiny chances to gain the upper hand in the third game, but he missed them, and it ended in a draw. Carlsen maintained his lead 2-1.
Carlsen wanted to take Aronian's rooks for his queen but the Armenian was not interested. Who knows how things would have ended if he had taken.
Carlsen - Aronian, Game 4
35...Rxa8 36.Rxa8+ Kh7 sure practically it is much difficult to play with a queen against two rooks, but it could possibly have been a better option than the text. With this win, Carlsen won the second set 3-1 and advanced to the Finals.
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