Final curtain falls on 2021 Tour with Radjabov sealing 2nd

90 days of competition to find the world’s strongest online rapid player ends with a grandstand finish
Teimour Radjabov

The $1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour ended today with Teimour Radjabov winning the race for second behind Magnus Carlsen.

Ten months of intense competition concluded with a grandstand finish that saw both Radjabov and America’s newest chess star Levon Aronian win and Wesley So lose to Carlsen.

It meant heartbreak for So, who was Carlsen’s main rival throughout the Tour. In the final standings, he dropped down to fourth.

So, who played in all 10 events organised by the Play Magnus Group, said after: “I feel everything went well except the last tournament.

“Considering everything that happened, fourth place was a good finish for me. I don’t think I could have done better than fourth, considering what went wrong.”

Radjabov, meanwhile, was overjoyed with his finish.

“This was a cool one!” Radjabov said about the final game of his 2.5-0.5 win over the Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Speaking about his overall Tour finish, Radjabov said: “I am very happy to be second, it was a very hard year for me. It really brought me a lot of pleasant moments and I have great memories of the Tour.”

Standings

Carlsen, who won three events on the way to the $100,000 first prize for the Finals, said he had struggled with his energy levels over the past few days. He suffered back-to-back defeats before So’s collapse on Saturday secured the Norwegian the Tour Champion title.

But So was also in a serious slump at the end of the gruelling 10-event Tour and two days after having surrendered his title challenge.

Results

Carlsen inflicted an early defeat upon So again in today’s final round opener before mercilessly punishing his rival’s slow development in the third to win in 25 moves.

Carlsen was just too strong on the day and won 2.5-0.5 with a game to spare.

The champion said: “I’m really happy to finish the Tour with success and I can have a rest and prepare for the WCC.”

The in-form Aronian, the winner of the Goldmoney Asian Rapid, also had a smooth win as he crushed Shakrhiyar Mamedyarov 2.5-0.5 to leapfrog So.

The final two matches of the Tour to finish decided the lower placings on the table. Hikaru Nakamura beat Poland’s World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda 3-1 before Vladislav Artemiev beat the Dutch number 1 Anish Giri.

It brought an end to 90 days of competition to find the world’s strongest online rapid player. The World Champion Magnus Carlsen left no debate about who that is.