Magnus Carlsen is the Aimchess US Rapid winner after a near-faultless display against Vladislav Artemiev. The World Champion now marches into next month's $300,000 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Final top of the leaderboard and in top form.
Having secured the Aimchess US Rapid, Carlsen takes home the $30,000 first prize. He has won three of the eight Tour events he entered and racked up total earnings of more than $215,000.
Carlsen had won the first match decisively yesterday and carried that advantage through to Sunday's second match. It took just three games in the second for the Norwegian to brush aside his 23-year-old opponent. Artemiev, the world number 39, simply wasn't given a chance.
Right from the start, Carlsen was on top. He launched a swift attack in the first game and broke through to go 1-0 up. Artemiev - playing in his second Tour final - tried to resist but found himself low on time and collapsed under pressure.
It left the Russian - who has been the breakout star of the Tour - needing to win at least two of the next three games just to force a tiebreak.
In the second, Artemiev played powerfully and forced Carlsen onto the defensive. But his advantage evaporated when time trouble told again, and the Russian had to settle for a draw.
Artemiev, with a mountain to climb, now had to win, or Carlsen would be crowned champion. Artemiev went all-out attack, but there was no way through. Carlsen maintained complete control and broke through to clinch the title in style. The match ended 2.5-0.5, and Carlsen won 2-0 overall.
"It feels great," Carlsen said afterwards. "It's the first time, in like, ever that I've won one of these Tour events, and it's been a fairly smooth ride. So it's been good!"
Asked whether his performance in this event was the best of the Tour so far, Carlsen said: "I would say so for sure."
He added: "I'm feeling good. I'm playing quicker and more confidently, so that's good."
Artemiev has been super-impressive in the Tour played only three events, and made two finals and a semi. He also now progresses to the Tour Final as one of the top eight.
Speaking of his opponent, Carlsen said his natural talent is "undeniable".
The Tour Final runs from September 25 to October 3. All games will be played in the chess24.com playzone.
For further information, please contact:
Leon Watson, PR for Play Magnus Group
+44 7786 078 770