September 4, 2021 - 14:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - World champion Magnus Carlsen defeated Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronian in the semifinals of the Aimchess U.S. Rapid tournament on Friday, September 3, Chess.com reports.
Aronian will now play grandmaster Alireza Firouzja for third place, while Carlsen and Vladislav Artemiev will clash for the title.
After their quiet start with four draws the other day, on Friday Carlsen took the initiative in the match right away. He won an Anti-Marshall as Black after some piece maneuvering didn't yield much for Aronian. Carlsen's counterstrike with ...f5 opened the h1-a8 diagonal, and maneuvering his queen to a8 put that to full effect:
Two draws followed, which meant Aronian was now under big pressure as he had to win the last game. Although the Armenian GM could create quite a bit of chaos on the board, it was Carlsen who navigated better:
"The last game was so unbelievably shaky," said Carlsen. "The first game was really the only one that I played well, and I'm happy that it was enough. It was one of those rare games where you have a plan, and everything works."
The Aimchess U.S. Rapid runs August 28-September 5, 2021 on chess24. The preliminary phase was a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players have advanced to a six-day knockout that consists of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advance to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $100,000, including a $30,000 first prize.