Penguin Takes Time out From the Marathon to win the Titled Arena.


GM Andrew Tang held off a late rally from GM Magnus Carlsen on Saturday to win the August Lichess Blitz Titled Arena. Tang is making a habit of beating Magnus recently, having also come out on top during their Match in the Katara Knockout finals. The 2 players used very different strategies and somehow never got a chance to test them directly against each other in a game during this event. Tang Berserked (halving your clock time in exchange for an extra point if you win) more than half of his games, and Magnus never Berserked once. The result was Magnus having a performance rating better than Tang (3150 to 3002) while finishing behind him by 17 points. Or course, comparing performance ratings assumes that players are playing the same game, and Tang was playing with half of Magnus's clock most of the time. Tang's ideas on berserking were not uncommon, 8 of the top 10 berserked at least half of their games in this event.

IM Alex Astaneh Lopez provided live commentary of the event on the Lichess Twitch and YouTube channels.

This was not Tang’s first chess tournament of the day! He also finished #41 in the Summer 2021 Marathon, a 24 hour non-stop arena tournament. Players are allowed to take a break whenever they like, but obviously playing more games is an advantage in the arena format. This edition of the event was the first to give out profile trophies to the top 500 instead of the previous 100. The inflection point is easy to see on this graph that compares the score distribution of this Marathon(blue) to the previous one(red).

The top of the table is an interesting mix of very strong players who played a little less and lesser players that played a little more. The eventual winner, FM Emin Ohanyan, simply took all of the good and none of the bad. He played an incredible 690 games while maintaining a 2857 performance.

The next Titled Arena is August 21st and the next Marathon is October 22nd.