GM Bortnyk wins Titled Arena


The November Lichess Blitz Titled Arena was won by GM Oleksandr Bortnyk. Bortnyk put up a brilliant performance as he lost the lead at multiple points but always managed to bounce back. Second and third place went to IM Minh Le and GM Aram Hakobyan, respectively. Finishing in the money, in fourth and fifth place, were FM Heisenberg01 and IM Mahammad Muradli. The top players in the blitz Titled Arena, as usual, decided to opt for a berserk-all strategy, turning the "fast blitz" tournament into a medium-paced bullet event. Bortnyk and Le finished the tournament with an astounding 100% berserk rate, while kyart2 had a 48% berserk rate.

As always in these large blitz arenas with a plethora of strong players, the first hour saw a lot of jousting for the coveted first place spot. FM Heisenberg01, CM Dmitry Rostovtsev, Bortnyk, GM David Paravyan, Muradli, and a few others had a brief taste of the throne. By the second hour, the battle remained rather tight, with Heisenberg01, Bortnyk, and Muradli topping the standings and taking turns on first. However, ninety minutes into the tournament, Heisenberg01 put on his running shoes and was, at one point, nine points ahead of the field.

The tides turned once again at the three hour mark as Bortnyk found himself once again in first place, five points ahead of Muradli. Bortnyk maintained his lead until his fateful clash with the surging GM Riquelme93, who was just two points behind. Bortnyk won that game, but during that time, Le won some games and was now two points behind. Bortnyk then lost a game and Muradli won four games in a row putting him at 119 points and Bortnyk at 117 points with nine minutes to go.

Bortnyk and Muradli were then paired against each other and Bortnyk managed to win that double berserk game, putting him at 120 points, while MahammadMuradli2003 remained at 119 points with seven minutes to go. At the three minute mark, the scene was entirely changed, with Heisenberg01 and Muradli at 122 points and mutdpro at 121 points after Bortnyk lost a game to Le. With two minutes to go, Bortnyk reclaimed his first place spot with a win, putting him at 123 points, only to lose it again to Le, who was on streak and won a berserk game, netting him 126 points. With a bit under a minute left, Bortnyk won yet another berserk game and was now tied for first with 126 points, but he had the better tiebreaks! Bortnyk won at the buzzer (or close to it)! Le put it well when he said in the tournament chat, "damn close though."

We will take a look at one spectacular game from each of the three podium finishers. Of course, it's not all about the winners! Three more sections are devoted to some fun games that occurred in this exciting blitz Titled Arena.

#1 - GM Oleksandr Bortnyk

GM Bortnyk pushes his pawns on both the kingside and queenside and achieves a decisive space advantage. He then proceeds to play a very technical game, missing a few shots here and there, but ultimately duly converting the space advantage into powerful queenside passed pawns, one of which ends up queening.

#2 - IM Minh Le

IM Minh Le, one of the world's strongest IMs, plays one of his favorite openings, the Nimzowitsch Variation of the Sicilian Defense, and crushes the highest-rated participant in the tournament.

#3 - GM Aram Hakobyan

Hakobyan had a 2987 tournament performance rating, much higher than the two players who finished ahead of him; unfortunately, what he gained in accuracy he paid for in speed. As we mentioned, the first two finishers had a 100% berserk rate, while he only had a 48% berserk rate. With this relatively "low" berserk rate, though, he was able to demolish the kings of some extremely strong players, such as GM Dmitry Andreikin. 15. e6, though not engine-approved, is quite a thematic move!

Longest Game

CM xAloneRebelx and CM cucumber4 played the longest game of the tournament, clocking in at an amazing 133 moves. Unfortunately for xAloneRebelx, they ran out of time before they could deliver a checkmate with queen and rook!

Worst Premove

The dubious honor of the person who made the worst premove belongs to FM Ward-Tsh, who fell for a Lefong!

Biggest Upset

Congratulations to CM baagadde for getting the biggest upset. With a 2072 rating, they managed to beat a 2504-rated player. Note that there were bigger upsets in this tournament, but all the others were won by players who had mostly provisional or not-very-active ratings.

Puzzle Pack and the Next TA

Enjoy our Puzzle pack with puzzles from the event!

The next Titled Arena is on November 21.

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