Carlsen ekes out another Topsy Turvy Titled Arena Victory

John @ZugAddict ChernoffChess

Carlsen narrowly wins his seventh Titled Arena

Lest anyone suppose that all things come easily to the once wunderkind, now wundermensch of chess, Magnus Carlsen, the latest Lichess Titled Arena demonstrated just how intense competition has become in the rough and tumble world of online bullet chess. In the end, the World Champion prevailed for the seventh time, surpassing his main rival penguingim1 (GM Andrew Tang) by the narrowest of margins.   In addition to the dramatic finish, Carlsen made some memorable contributions to bullet opening theory along the way:

However, not all of the participants were cowed by such novelties.  One of Carlsen's bêtes noires, RebeccaHarris (GM Daniel Narodisky), successfully countered Magnus's "Transvestite" attack with a "Bongcloud Deferred":

Not to be outdone, the wily anonymous German International Master lodewijkfrederik found an equally inventive, if drastic, way to nip Carlsen's planned 4...Qa5+ in the bud:

Nevertheless, Carlsen managed to assume the tournament lead around eighty minutes into the two hour affair after a neat combination against wizard98:

DrNykterstein (in contrast to Magnus’s prior nom de plume, DrDrunkenstein) then proceeded to pull away from the pack with some attractive finishes, one of  which future generations might well call the "Borat" mate:

Lest we feel too bad for the victim of that last game, here is one of the most remarkable online feats of recent years: Alireza2003 (15 year old Iranian Grandmaster Alireza Firouzja) managing to berzerk Magnus and live to tell the tale:

Perhaps it is coincidence, but shortly after this, the "'Zerk heard round the world", the Carlsen express went entirely off the rails, losing four games in a row to conclude the tournament and allowing penguingim1 a miracle shot at catching up.  In the end, Grandmaster Tang’s furious rally came within one point and a few seconds of surpassing the World Champion, but left plenty of carnage in its wake:

All in all, a fantastic tournament from start to finish and once again we are indebted to Magnus for putting on such a great show.  His twitch stream of the event can be found here: