It’s been a good few days for the Russian class of 1998! 20-year-old Aleksandra Goryachkina won the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament with two rounds to spare, while 21-year-old Vladislav Artemiev shrugged off his first classical loss in 60 games to bounce back with three wins and overall victory in Poikovsky. Our tournament round-up is completed by the Asian Continental Championship, which was won by Le Quang Liem, while 15-year-old Alireza Firouzja was among the players to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
The last couple of weeks were dominated by Altibox Norway Chess, but as we’re going to see throughout 2019, there was a lot of top level chess elsewhere. Two of the winners were Russian players born in 1998 who could be said to have followed in Magnus Carlsen’s footsteps. Aleksandra Goryachkina emulated Magnus in Stavanger by only losing the final game of the Women’s Candidates Tournament, after wrapping up victory three days earlier. In the Karpov Tournament in Poikovsky, Vladislav Artemiev emulated Magnus by winning the event despite losing rating points.
Goryachkina makes no mistake
We said almost everything that needed to be said about Aleksandra Goryachkina’s phenomenal performance in the Women’s Candidates Tournament in our report after 9 rounds, when she’d beaten Valentina Gunina to reach a massive +6, 7.5/9 score. With a 2.5 point gap all she needed was to draw the remaining games, and indeed she drew her next three games to secure victory with two rounds to spare.
The other impressive run Vladislav Artemiev was nursing was an unbeaten streak in classical games that seemed to have stretched to 60 after draws in the first two rounds in Poikovsky. It was going to take something special to beat him, and that was provided by 38-year-old Indian Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran, who played arguably the game of his life to beat Artemiev in Round 3. It was the kind of game that was so beautiful that despite losing Artemiev couldn’t deny his opponent the pleasure of finishing with checkmate on the board.
For full details check out our 2019 Chess Calendar