IM Minh Le wins hard fought Titled Arena


IM Minh Le won the April Blitz Titled Arena on Saturday in a very tight event where the top 4 all finished within 5 points of each other. Most of the top players berserked heavily. Le berserked in 92% of games and second-place GM Oleksandr Bortnyk berserked in 97%. Carrying the flag for anti-berserkers was seventh-place GM Vladislav Artemiev who did not berserk a single game. Artemiev finished 12 points behind Le with a performance rating 170 points higher.

Further down the table were some previous Titled Arena winners. GM Daniel Naroditsky used his standard late-joining strategy and it almost worked. 1.5 hours after the event began he played his first game. He then played 27 straight games undefeated before meeting stronger resistance at the top of the table and faltering, he eventually finished in tenth. World Champion Magnus Carlsen mysteriously played one game and left.

Recently Lichess has drawn attention to a wonderful website called “Rosen Score,” and the developer kindly implemented support for scanning arenas instead of individual users. Simply enter the Arena’s URL into the website and it will work as normal. This allows us to find some delightful achievements like this stalemate trap from FM Abilmansur Abdilkhair.

GM David Lariño seems to know about the Rosen Score website or the streamer its based on, or he just happened to perfectly replicate the requirements for the “egg” achievement. (Start a game by moving your E-pawn, then your G-pawn twice, thus spelling the word “egg,” and win.) 

Various players achieved an “insufficient material” win. I will put the scariest of scare quotes around “insufficient” to indicate that these positions are not, under FIDE or Lichess rules, insufficient material draws. 

As must be explained to at least one Lichess user per week, it is possible to checkmate with a bishop or knight if the other side has more than just their king.

No puzzle pack this time, if you’re desperate for a good study check out a new study on Rook activation by the premiere Lichess study artist; NoseKnowsAll. The next Lichess Titled Arena is on April 23rd.