Firouzja keeps the streak going!
The young Iranian tops the TA with another convincing performance
We were treated to an extra long exhibition of chess skill this month, as the Titled Arena was immediately preceded by agadmator's 500k subscriber celebration tournament. The YouTuber's event was so popular that it pushed Lichess's servers to the max and we had to restart the event! Have no fear though, we were back up and running in short order. Congratulations to agadmator for reaching levels of popularity that challenge our servers, and congratulations to the winners of that event, splitting a $2,000 prize pool (GM Daniel Naroditsky (@RebeccaHarris), GM Oleksandr Bortnyk (@Night-King96), GM Alireza Firouzja (@alireza2003), GM Andrew Tang (@penguingim1) and GM Nikolay Chadaev (@N-Chadaev)). The event was open to all, but titled players quickly dominated the standings - it turns out they are quite good at chess.
The TA started off quickly. Many players had just played the preceding 2 hour long event, but being made of sterner stuff than most, they ploughed on despite the inevitable fatigue. The penguin, Andrew Tang, took an early lead with 55 points to second placed GM Arjun Erigaisi's (@Inventing_Invention) 41 points at just half an hour into the event. However, things were not to stay this way, and Alireza was hot on his heels despite a slightly late join.
Unfortunately the Titled Arena was scheduled at the same time as another tournament that Magnus Carlsen was playing in. This complicated his participation in the Titled Arena but here is his game from... the Weekly Atomic Arena.
After an hour of play, it was Alireza who was in front, but Mr. Tang was not worried - or perhaps just trying to motivate himself - saying on stream "Alireza's going to lose so don't panic". However, while the pair played a total of 10 games as adversaries this tournament, Alireza took the lion's share 6 to 4 - he did lose some though! An even later joiner than Alireza was IM @opperwezen who had the nerve to show up 35 minutes late! However, at the hour mark, he was on a seemingly unstoppable streak of 13 wins in a row. This streak was ended after 17 wins at the hands of GM Nihal Sarin (@nihalsarin2004), with a draw. Alas, it wasn't to be for the IM as he finished just outside the money in heartbreaking 6th place, just one point off the prizes. Punctuality pays!
Speaking of narrowly missing out, or rather, hard fought battles, the prize for top female player was equally close. First and second prizes were separated by just a point, with WGM @slowdumb beating out WGM Alina Bivol (@zabivol_mc) for that top spot. Congratulations to the players.
Despite the back and forth between Alireza and Tang, time only increased the points gap between them - with GM Firouzja taking first place with 157 points to Andrew's 125 - with a performance of 3143 it's not hard to see why.
The final standings were:
1st: GM Alireza Firouzja (@alireza2003)
2nd: GM Andrew Tang (@penguingim1)
3rd: IM Renato Alfredo Terry Lujan (@TerryR2)
4th: GM Oleksandr Bortnyk (@Night-King96)
5th: GM Zaven Andriasian (@Zaven_ChessMood)
As always, great thanks to all the participants, viewers and streamers who make the event so much fun for us all. Another Titled Arena will be scheduled soon, stay tuned to our standard communication channels for details: