Chess King Magnus Carlsen missed a good push to catch Levon Aronian’s car, in the first game of the Airthings Masters online fast chess tournament on the evening of December 26.

Aronian, holding black, just walked 42 ... Rd4.  The position changed from balance to winning advantage for White.  Carlsen just needs to push well to f4 mat, to catch a black car at h3.  But, the 30-year-old Chess King did not see the good push, but instead switched cars to d4.

Aronian, holding black, just walked 42 … Rd4. The position changed from balance to winning advantage for White. Carlsen just needs to push well to f4 mat, to catch a black car at h3. But, the 30-year-old Chess King did not see the good push, but instead switched cars to d4.

Then, Carlsen still has more than 30 seconds, and is added 10 seconds after each move. And Aronian was almost running out of time, causing the two players to play fast. After changing cars, the position returns to balance. After 61 moves, the two players split points.

Carlsen was not in form in four games on day 1, drawing all four against Aronian, Wesley So, Teimour Radjabov and Pentala Harikrishna. But, Chess King is only half a point behind the first group, because no player has won two games.

The top five players with 2.5 points were Hikaru Nakamura, Aronian, Daniil Dubov, Radjabov and So. Carlsen is in the group of two points with Alexander Grischuk, Harikrishna and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is 10th with 1.5 points. Anish Giri and David Anton only got one point.

Carlsen at London Chess Classic 2019. Photo: Lennart Ootes

Carlsen at London Chess Classic 2019. Photo: Lennart Ootes

Airthings Masters is the second leg of the Champions Chess Tour 2020-2021 system, after the Skilling Open. The first Masters of the Champions Tour brings together 12 players, playing online on Chess24 platform, from December 26, 2020 to January 3, 2021. Airthings Masters’ total prize pool is $ 200,000, of which the first-place winner gets $ 60,000, double that of the Skilling Open. Players circle round to earn eight spots in the quarterfinals. Playing time is 15 minutes, adding 10 seconds after each move. At the Skilling Open ended on December 1, So knocked Carlsen down to finish first.

Vietnam’s number one player – Le Quang Liem – was invited to the Skilling Open, but didn’t have a spot at the Airthings Masters. The only player outside the group of world players to attend both stages was Anton. At the Skilling Open, Quang Liem ranked 10th, and Anton ranked 13th. But, the Spanish champion continued to attend the Champions Tour from the votes of the fans.

Xuan Binh


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