Magnus wins First Post-World Championship Titled Arena and a Big Event Tomorrow


The December Lichess Bullet Titled Arena was won by world champion GM Magnus Carlsen, who, ahead of the World Blitz and Rapid championships, was looking to add a (the?) bullet title to his name. The usual bulleteers, GM Daniel Naroditsky and GM Andrew Tang, finished in second and third place, respectively. GM David Paravyan and GM Arseniy Nesterov finished in the money in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Carlsen was clearly coming in his DrDrunkenstein form as he was streaming on his channel while drinking a copious amount of alcohol. Still, the hydroxyls were not going to stop the world champion from showing off his bullet skills. About 7 minutes into the tournament, Carlsen had already won three games, one of which was very shaky. At that point, reigning Crazyhouse World Champion, NM Jasugi99 was leading the tournament with 12 points. Carlsen would then face Jasugi99, in a game where Carlsen won in swashbuckling style. Carlsen then lost the very next game to GM Dmitry Andreikin, who uncorked a bullet trick against the world champion.

20 minutes into the tournament, Andreikin was leading with 28 points, while runner-up Naroditsky had 24 points. For the first hour, Andreikin dominated, amassing 65 points with an hour and ten minutes to go, while runner-up IM Denis Lazavik was on a streak with 58 points. Lazavik definitely had Carlsen's number because he beat him an amazing four times to Carlsen's one. Carlsen even essayed his professional Ruy Lopez, which may have been part of his world championship match preparation, only to lose to Lazavik's speedy defense.

Such results did not deter Carlsen, however, who was in a very cheery mood — inebriation being the likely cause. Naroditsky would later take the lead from Andreikin, with the former clocking in at 84 points while the latter had 78 points as the tournament clock read "47 minutes remaining." Carlsen was still behind at that juncture, but he was never too far off. In fact, he had made up the deficit and was only second behind Naroditsky with 11 minutes to go. A crucial, albeit controversial, game stopped Naroditsky's streak and gave Carlsen "the fire." This boost was enough for Carlsen to kick it into high gear as he finished off the tournament with an amazing 12-game winning streak, putting him 12 points ahead of Naroditsky.

We will take a look at one spectacular game from each of the three podium finishers. Of course, it's not all about the winners! Two more sections are devoted to some fun games that occurred in this exciting bullet Titled Arena.

The Warm-Up

The warm-up was won by Titled Arena regular FM Heisenberg01, with rising star FM Emin Ohanyan taking second place and anonymous Mrdalica taking third. GM Wesley So also warmed up quite well, not conceding a single game in the event; however, he forgot to do the workout!

#1 - GM Magnus Carlsen

Carlsen plays one of his most well-known openings, the London System (sans c3), which he has used to beat world class opposition. Of course, Carlsen doesn't play the London dryly — especially not in bullet. In this game, he started off rather normally, but some mistakes by his opponent allowed him to gain a decisive space advantage. Carlsen did not proceed to reveal his cards immediately, delaying castling for a short while. On stream, he mentioned how desirable it was to get the f3-g4 structure, which completely blocked any of Black's counterplay and would later on allow for a decisive attack. A few moves later, Carlsen's opponent would "castle into it." From then on, as Carlsen said on stream, his conversion was "too easy." 22. g5! and 24. Nxf7 look like mayhem on the board!

#2 - GM Daniel Naroditsky

Naroditsky definitely played far more precise games than the one we're going to see now; however, I decided to include this game because it showcases Naroditsky's unrelenting dynamic style! Despite the engine's disapproval of Naroditsky's piece sacrifice, Nesterov was unable to cope with the pressure and blundered almost immediately. Naroditsky still wasn't able to put the game to rest, but Nesterov was unable to find some difficult-to-find defensive moves and ultimately succumbed to Naroditsky's scintillating attack.

#3 - GM Andrew Tang

Tang is quite well-known for his f3's against the Grünfeld Defense and the King's Indian Defense. In this game, Tang goes for f3 against Paravyan's Neo-Grünfeld Defense setup and immediately signals his aggressive intentions after playing 9. O-O-O. A typical dark-squared bishop trade on move 11 denuded the Black king, allowing Tang's queen and rook to end the game. Note Tang's nice rook lift on move 18, which the engine unfortunately labels a blunder as it gives off a large portion of White's advantage (but hey, who cares!)!

Longest Game

This time around, the longest game, smashing last month's record, was played by none other than GM Dmitry Andreikin against the famous IM Cem Kaan Gokerkan. It took Gokerkan quite a while to convert his two-versus-one bishop advantage (yes!), but, after 131 moves, Andreikin finally lost on time. Admittedly, Gokerkan had already blundered the win away on move 50, but that's bullet for you!

Worst Premove

NM Jasugi99, who usually plays very well in Titled Arenas, unfortunately got Lefong'd by none other than famous streamer IM Eric Rosen.

Agadmator Tournament tomorrow!

Well known chess streamer Agadmator has organized an incredible tournament tomorrow at 19:00 UTC with an unprecedented prize amount, many top GMs are already registered to play.

Puzzle Pack

Enjoy our Puzzle pack with puzzles from the event!

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