Speed Chess Championship: Carlsen wins against Artemiev

by André Schulz
12/4/2020 – Only a few days after his defeat against Wesley So in the Skilling Open on November 30, his 30th birthday, Magnus Carlsen was back to play in another online tournament, and he won his quarterfinal match of the Chess.com Speed Chess Championship against Vladislav Artemiev, though not without some problems. | Picture: Chess.com

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Magnus Carlsen vs Vladislav Artemiev, 13½-9½

If Vladislav Artemiev had hoped that Magnus Carlsen might still be a little tired after the demanding Skilling Open, he was mistaken.

Artemiev won the first game of the match, but Carlsen managed to equalize in game two. The World Champion had some problems to get going but he still won the 5+1 section of the match 5-3.

However, in some games Carlsen had a lot of trouble and in game four Artemiev demolished the World Champion in a drastic way. After 28 moves Carlsen was forced to resign.


14.g4 Nc5 15.Bf2 h6 15...g6!? with the idea 16.g5 (16.Re3) 16...Nh5 might be an alternative.

16.b4 Ncd7 16...Ncxe4 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Rxe4 d5 20.Re1 dxc4 and the two pawns Black has for the piece are probably not enough.

17.g5 hxg5 18.fxg5 Ne8 19.g6 Ne5 20.gxf7+ Rxf7 21.Bh3 White has a strong attack. 21.Nxe6? immediately fails to 21...Qxc4 with a double attack.

21...Rf6 22.Nxe6 Qxc4? More stubborn was 22...Nf3+ 23.Kh1 (23.Qxf3 Rxf3 24.Nxc7 Rxh3) 23...Qxc4 24.Nd5 Qxc1 25.Qxc1 Rxc1 26.Nxf6+ Bxf6 27.Rxc1.

23.Nd5 And that was that.


23...Rg6+ 24.Bg3 Qxc1 25.Nxe7+ Kf7 26.Nxg6 Qxd1 27.Nxe5+ dxe5 28.Rxd1 1–0

And in game seven Carlsen was under pressure but found a way to wriggle out of a dangerous position.


Carlsen also won the 3+1 section of the match, scoring 5-2.

In game 5 of the 3+1 mini-match Artemiev suffered in the O'Kelly variation of the Sicilian.


18.f4 Undermining Black's center.

18...Bxd3 19.fxe5 Nf5 After 19...Qg5 20.Qxg5 hxg5 21.Rxh8 Rxh8 22.Rxd3 dxe5 White is better, but still has some work to do.

20.Qxd3 dxe5 21.Ne4 Rc8 22.Kb1 Nd4 23.Rhf1 23.Qc3!? with the idea 23...Rf8 24.Rxd4 exd4 25.Qxd4+ Kh7 26.c5 was an alternative.

23...b5 White can simply ignore this.


24.Qg3 Re8 25.Rf6 g5 26.Qh3 Rh8 27.Rdf1 Rc7 28.d6 Qa8 29.Qg4 Ra7 30.Nxg5 Black gets mated. 1–0

Though Artemiev won the bullet portion of the match with 4½-3½ this was not enough to turn the match around. In the end Carlsen won the match 13½-9½ and qualified for the semifinals of the Speed Chess Championship where he will play against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.



Live commentary with Jan Gustafsson and Peter Svidler

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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