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Reconnecting

Pseudonymous Magnus Carlsen Wins 2nd Titled Arena

FischyVishy Chess

The world's best player returns to claim the throne

We set a new record in our second Titled Arena, with 145 titled players playing 3448 games!

Carlsen seemingly has an infinite number of pseudonyms to pick from. This time around, he eschewed “DannyTheDonkey” in favor of “DrDrunkenstein.” Under this pseudonym, Carlsen completely dominated the field, finishing a staggering 67 points ahead of bullet monster GM Andrew Tang, who finished second. Completing the podium we see another lichess bullet regular, IM opperwezen finishing in third place. If you missed the tournament, you can watch ChessNetwork's coverage on Twitch (tournament starting on 1:05:15).

Opening

The starting field included Fabiano Caruana, penguingim1, and the mysterious DrDrunkenstein. There was a great deal of speculation concerning DrDrunkenstein’s identity, but people didn’t need to wait for long to confirm their suspicions. Because of the sheer quality and precision of the moves made, the possibility that DrDrunkenstein was Carlsen was seeming really plausible. Take a look at how a tame opening like the double fianchetto system transforms the following game into a positional masterpiece:

<a href="https://lichess.org/KdKcfOpr">https://lichess.org/KdKcfOpr</a>

That said, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the brewer. With tricky opening play and a well-spotted tactic, IM MeneerMandje caught “the Doc” off guard:

<a href="https://lichess.org/mfkhttB0">https://lichess.org/mfkhttB0</a>

Andrew Tang’s iPad start wasn’t looking so bad – he did trap Caruana’s bishop after all. However, the penguin slipped on some ice:

<a href="https://lichess.org/riD3ZqIH">https://lichess.org/riD3ZqIH</a>

30 minutes in, the stage was set: the battle for second place was on, for no one could stop Magnus’s vicious assault.

Middlegame: The Onslaught

Carlsen’s onslaught just couldn’t be stopped. Even a piece down against Caruana, Carlsen still found ways to complicate matters and win the game – the true mark of a champion.

<a href="https://lichess.org/bzHDTKsx">https://lichess.org/bzHDTKsx</a>

Carlsen then won a nice game against FM toivok, a famous bullet specialist on lichess, and topped it off with a queen sacrifice against the variants world champion, GM Arka50.

<a href="https://lichess.org/L4BaPtoD">https://lichess.org/L4BaPtoD</a> (Don’t mind the evaluation graph!)

Carlsen did find his kryptonite, though. On the DannyTheDonkey account, he lost two and won one against FM taheryoseph, and he went on to lose his first encounter with Yoseph from the DrDrunkenstein account:

<a href="https://lichess.org/JK2LsWZJ">https://lichess.org/JK2LsWZJ</a>

What about MeneerMandje? After a strong start, he fell off the radar a bit, and had to face the wrath of a vengeful berserker:

<a href="https://lichess.org/ag7z2nzi">https://lichess.org/ag7z2nzi</a>

Meanwhile, the battle for 2nd place was fierce. Caruana, Tang, Arka50, and opperwezen were all violently fending off the sharks of this tournament, but Caruana was just having a bad day at the office. Take a look at Tang’s aggressive play which netted him a nice victory:

<a href="https://lichess.org/ioy4Obz9">https://lichess.org/ioy4Obz9</a>

While Caruana wasn’t performing at his best, he did show why he’s the world’s 2nd best chess player.

<a href="https://lichess.org/3PRhqZxk">https://lichess.org/3PRhqZxk</a>

He also showed just how much raw speed he’s got, even against a 2800-rated ultrabullet maestro:

<a href="https://lichess.org/mnrBACVN">https://lichess.org/mnrBACVN</a>

Tang’s slow rise to the top continued, with gems such as this:

<a href="https://lichess.org/LhFm5Acx">https://lichess.org/LhFm5Acx</a>

During most of the “Middlegame,” however, it was Arka50 who was #2:

<a href="https://lichess.org/I1rT2LRk">https://lichess.org/I1rT2LRk</a>

Here’s Arka50 profiting from a premove:

<a href="https://lichess.org/zptt2FcF">https://lichess.org/zptt2FcF</a>

opperwezen was also slicing through the ranks:

<a href="https://lichess.org/3hn6Ctrd">https://lichess.org/3hn6Ctrd</a>

With such fierce competition, it wasn’t at all clear who would take home the 2nd place prize.

Endgame: Capablanca Reborn

Many have likened Carlsen to Capablanca, and for good reason. While the Cuban genius was not known for his premoves and bullet skills, he does share an unparalleled endgame genius with Carlsen. Not only did Carlsen play some flabbergasting endgames, but he also showed his superiority in the most important endgame of all: the tournament’s endgame, or the last 30 minutes of the tournament.

Watch in awe as Magnus shows his trademark endgame technique:

<a href="https://lichess.org/7XVIHUqa">https://lichess.org/7XVIHUqa</a>

Magnus did get his revenge against Yoseph, with a mate on the board to top it all off:

<a href="https://lichess.org/c0aff1kl">https://lichess.org/c0aff1kl</a>

Arka50 fell back a bit, ending up in fourth place. The battle for 2nd place was raging, but Tang racked up the points far too quickly for opperwezen to be able to catch up. Tang also might have pulled the save of the tournament:

<a href="https://lichess.org/drua5CIe">https://lichess.org/drua5CIe</a>

The Tang vs. opperwezen matchup was looking to be quite a good one, possibly deciding 2nd place, but it was, surprisingly, a short affair:

<a href="https://lichess.org/hWHZWrNz">https://lichess.org/hWHZWrNz</a>

Finally, check out this game, which really summarizes the tournament well:

<a href="https://lichess.org/U91LaSr4">https://lichess.org/U91LaSr4</a>

Acknowledgements

For the 2nd Lichess Titled Arena, we would like to thank (please note this is not an exhaustive list!):

-      All the titled players who participated

-      The moderators, who made sure everything ran smoothly

-      The developers, who work diligently on making lichess the best version of itself possible

-      All the streamers who were kind enough to stream this tournament.

-      Magnus Carlsen, for donating yet again his first place prize to next tournament’s first place prize (The first place prize for the 3rd Lichess Titled Arena will be $1500!)

Thibault, for making lichess possible!