Levon Aronian has won a first Meltwater Champions Chess Tour title on Independence Day – just before he’s due to switch to the US.
The 38-year-old breezed through the second match of the $100,000 Goldmoney Asian Rapid final to put to bed the challenge of Vladislav Artemiev.
Russia’s young speed demon, who made the final on his Tour debut, needed a swift comeback to stand any chance of beating the vastly experienced Aronian.
It didn’t come as Artemiev was simply outclassed on the ninth day of an exhausting online event.
The 23-year-old went deeper into the tournament than anyone expected and will be rightly pleased with his performance. Artemiev showed he belongs at this elite level.
The 2019 European Champion said he was unhappy with how the final went but was aiming to bounce back.
“Levon was better than me, it was not good for me.”
Aronian, meanwhile, has played the Goldmoney Asian Rapid from Paris, where he is staying before a planned move across the Atlantic next month.
The switch of federation is coinciding with a stunning return to form for the world number 5. Aronian dominated the prelim stage of this event, topping the leaderboard for the first time in a Tour event.
He then calmly knocked out Indian wonderkid Arjun Erigaisi in the quarters before downing World Champion Magnus Carlsen to get to the final.
“I have to say at first that I was lucky against Magnus,” Aronian said. “I think though that I only played well today.”
The tournament champion said he will “allow myself a glass of wine” to celebrate.
Having comfortably beaten Artemiev in the first match of the final yesterday, Aronian was supreme again in the second.
Aronian raced into a 1-0 lead as Artemiev desperately sacrificed pieces and got into time-trouble. It meant Artemiev now couldn’t lose the next game as he would be unable to win the second match.
But the young gun rushed and Aronian stayed cool and calm to take an unassailable 2-0 lead. It left Aronian the winner of the seventh leg of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and $30,000 richer.
Aronian also picks up valuable Tour points in the quest to make the flagship Tour Finals event in September.
The Goldmoney Asian Rapid was broadcast live on Norwegian TV station TV 2 and streamed with commentary in several languages on chess24’s YouTube and Twitch channels.
Highlights will are be available in 60 countries on the Eurosport app. All games were be played on the chess24.com playzone.