Doha, 30 August 2020 - World No 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway emerged winner of the Katara International Bullet Chess Online 2020 Tournament in style.
Just a week ago, the Norwegian world champion had won the finale of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, the richest and most-watched chess event in history.
“I don’t know what to say, there were just so many twists and turns. Ultimately, it’s a bit random that everything is decided by one game, but it has to end at some point,” the 29-year-old had said after his victory.
The Katara online event was much on the similar lines with 10,000 participants taking part from all over the world and over 3000 watching online each day. In the end, 15 of them made it to the final round.
Carlsen defeated USA’s GM Daniel Naroditsky in the final while Iran’s Grandmaster Alireza Firouzja and USA’s Andrew Tang finished second and third respectively.
The tournament was organised by the Qatar Chess Association (QCA) in collaboration with Cultural Village Foundation-Katara from August 24 to 26.
On the surface, bullet chess may seem prone to huge variance. One bad two hour chess game can cost you a classical tournament, but in this event, it would only take 5 or 10 mins of bad chess to ruin your day, noted lichess.org.
Nevertheless, the winners and high performers of bullet tournaments do not vary nearly that much. There have only been six people to ever win a Bullet Titled Arena since they began three years ago, and three of them reached the semi-finals of this event as well.
The matchups in the semifinals were GM Magnus Carlsen vs. GM Andrew Tang, and GM Daniel Naroditsky vs. GM Alireza Firouzja.
The other semifinal featured incredible drama as Lichess Bullet fixture Andrew Tang was not intimidated by Carlsen and won the first 3 games in
incredibly short order.
In the first two games, Magnus was down a piece by move 7. Already half-way to losing the match after only 2 minutes of real time, Magnus could have easily fallen apart. Instead, he rallied and won the match in short order, winning 7 of the next 8 and taking the match.
The Naroditsky vs. Carlsen final was similarly dramatic. Magnus looked dominant in the beginning, taking 3.5 of the first 4 points. The third game had what is probably the most amazing moment of the match. In this position Naroditsky played 15. Bxf7.
Afterwards, Magnus humbly admitted that he hadn’t seen Re5 from the beginning. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. It’s even better to be lucky and good like Magnus.
Naroditsky fought back bravely, winning three in a row to even the score, but then it was Magnus’ turn. He won the next three games to end the match and the event.
Dr. Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, General Manager, Cultural Village Foundation-Katara, and President of Qatar Chess Association Mohammed Al Modaihki thanked all the participants in making the event a big success.
“QCA is very happy and thankful for this fruitful cooperation with Katara and lichess. We will work to do more big events like this in the future,” said Mohammed Al Modaihki.