June 20, 2014 17:51

Carlsen Triple World Champion, Nepomniachtchi & Nakamura Shared Second in World Blitz

On Friday Magnus Carlsen also won the FIDE World Blitz Championship in Dubai and so the Norwegian now holds the crown in three different time controls. He finished on 17.0/21, a full point more than Ian Nepomniachtchi & Hikaru Nakamura, who finished two points ahead of the rest of the pack.

All photos © Chess.com

He wasn't top seeded in either event, and with so many rounds and so many top players present, Magnus Carlsen wasn't considered more than a slight favorite among the favorites in Dubai. To win both the rapid and the blitz tournament is simply outstanding, even for him!

Even though the Rapid & Blitz World Championships have only been organized in this format a few times, this achievement can definitely be called historic. Vishy Anand was the king of rapid chess for a long time, partly during his reign as the classical champion, but Carlsen can now call himself the official world champion in classical, rapid and blitz chess.

So how did that final day at the Dubai Chess & Culture Club unfold? As a reminder, Carlsen's 9.0/11 meant a half-point lead over Hikaru Nakamura and Georg Meier. That was the starting point, with Carlsen having already played against four quickplay specialists: Ian Nepomniachtchi, Hikaru Nakamura, Le Quang Liem and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Carlsen immediately started with a win against one of the surprises of day 1, Georg Meier. It wasn't a convincing victory, though. If the German GM had found the c4-c5+ idea earlier (on move 34!), the result could have been very different.

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Meier did much worse on the second day; he scored only 3.5 points - just like the other surprising name, Lu Shanglei. The Chinese player lost Friday's first round to Nepomniachtchi, who stayed half a point behind the leader. Nakamura dropped back a bit while escaping with a draw against Sargissian.

Speaking of players who disappointed: after winning the Norway Chess tournament, Sergey Karjakin played a good rapid tournament (shared sixth), but then apparently the energy was gone. He came 61st in the blitz.

The second day would see another relatively unknown player beating a bunch of famous grandmasters: Sergei Yudin, who holds a modest classical rating of 2546.

Sergei Yudin, one of the surprises in the blitz

Yudin's rise in fact started on Thursday evening as he defeated Radjabov in round 10. On Friday a black win versus Svidler followed, after surviving a very difficult (in fact lost if White goes 25.Be5 and 26.Qd4) position.

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Yudin then also set aside Lu, drew with Le, and then beat both Wojtaszek and Nakamura! Especially the game with the American was a heroic fight, where Nakamura kept on playing for a win while being material down.

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Round 13 saw the second encounter in Dubai between the players of the next world title match: Carlsen, again with the white pieces, against Anand. This game was perhaps of higher quality than the one in the rapid, with Anand playing solidly and defending a slightly worse position almost without effort.

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And so Anand won the “minimatch” in Dubai 0.5-1.5, while playing Black both times. Not bad!

Nepomniachtchi decreased the gap with Carlsen to half a point after beating Sargissian, and Nakamura recovered well with a win against Riazantsev. Meanwhile Caruana, who isn't an especially great blitz player and couldn't play for the top prizes, won a nice game against Movsesian.

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Just play through his next game with Paco Vallejo and you will realize how easy it is to make a blunder after a long game.

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Of almost the same category was Anand's round 15 game against Nepomniachtchi. The Indian was in control from the start, got a promising rook ending but then… one king move in the wrong direction and the position changed from won to lost. These rook endings!

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Some unfortunate moments for Anand

After two good wins over Polgar and Mamedyarov, something even worse happened to Anand. He won a pawn against Nakamura as Black, couldn't find the most accurate moves after which it was a dead draw, then he grabbed his king on move 41, put it on f6, changed his mind and moved it to g6 instead, missing a knight fork. Horrible!

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Round 14 had another nice tag to the game on board one: the highest rated player ever against the strongest female player ever. “Will we discover Magnus's weak spot?” joked GM Ian Rogers in the playing hall. The answer was negative.

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On the board next to them, an absolute amazing game was played. From a Queen's Gambit Accepted Nakamura got three pawns versus on on the queenside, and instead of developing, he just kept on pushing pawns there! The position after move 12 is quite a sight.

Mamedyarov found an ingenious way to deal with those pawns: giving a rook, but winning a piece back elsewhere. Focusing on the Black king, the Azeri GM got a winning advantage but somehow the game ended in a draw!

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After 15 rounds Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi both had 12 points while Nakamura and Mamedyarov were a point behind. Two players were behind them: Yudin and Aronian.

Nepomniachtchi grabbed the lead in the next round by beating Mamedyarov, while Carlsen drew his game with Aronian.

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Carlsen escaped:

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In round 17 Nepomniachtchi didn't have much trouble with Yudin. Dreev was a lot tougher to beat, but Carlsen eventually managed to grind him down in an almost equal ending:

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Nakamura stayed close; his game with Aronian was decided in a pawn ending:

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In round 18 both Nepomniachtchi and Carlsen drew their games, against Mamedov and Morozevich respectively, and so with three rounds to go Nepomniachtchi was still in the lead, Carlsen half a point behind, and Nakamura a point behind Carlsen. It all came down to who would be the sharpest and fittest after five days of fast chess!

And in fact it was the very next game where Nepomniachtchi blew it. He got a queen against rook & bishop (and passed pawn) for Korobov, missed a win to two and had to settle for a draw.

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Carlsen was worse against Mamedov. He decided to set a trap, and his opponent fell for it:

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And so we had two leaders, with two rounds to go! Carlsen again did what he had to do, and beat Yudin - in just a few minutes it was over.

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Carlsen stood up from the board, wrote down the result and then walked to board 2 to check out the position there. When Nepomniachtchi noticed him, he turned around towards Carlsen's board, to see where the kings were placed. The two monarchs were on white squares, so the Russian knew Carlsen had won. He frowned, continued defending his slightly worse ending and eventually lost.

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Aronian defeated Nepomniachtchi in a crucial game

Suddenly the tournament seemed already decided, because Carlsen was a point clear with one round to go, and also had a better tiebreak. But, because that tiebreak (average rating of the opponents cut one) could still change in favor of Nepomniachtchi in the last round, Carlsen was certainly going for at least a draw. And he even got a win as Korobov blundered a pawn in an equal position.

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Korobov resigns, Carlsen wins his third world title

A convincing victory! Or, in Carlsen's own words, if you score 17.0/21 you deserve to win. When Anastasiya Karlovich asked him the obvious question “what's next”, Carlsen: “I can do it again!”, adding that he will be just as motivated next year.

When GM Ian Rogers asked him if he wanted to go for the world title in correspondence or bullet, Carlsen replied: “I don't have the patience for correspondence or the hands for bullet.”

Magnus Carlsen in between Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Ian Nepomniachtchi

Here's the full press conference:

Nigel Short


World Blitz Championship 2014 | Final Standings (Top 40)

Rk. SNo Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2
1 4 Carlsen Magnus NOR 2837 17 2738 257,5
2 9 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2816 16 2740 256
3 1 Nakamura Hikaru USA 2879 16 2734 256,5
4 8 Le Quang Liem VIE 2817 14 2718 254,5
5 7 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2822 13,5 2722 252,5
6 3 Aronian Levon ARM 2863 13,5 2707 250
7 6 Anand Viswanathan IND 2827 13,5 2694 251,5
8 12 Mamedov Rauf AZE 2766 13,5 2666 233,5
9 32 Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2689 13 2716 245
10 17 Morozevich Alexander RUS 2741 13 2673 233
11 14 Svidler Peter RUS 2757 13 2651 228,5
12 86 Yudin Sergei RUS 2559 12,5 2747 249
13 29 Dreev Aleksey RUS 2701 12,5 2725 250,5
14 37 Harikrishna P. IND 2669 12,5 2718 248,5
15 21 Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2726 12,5 2691 231,5
16 13 Korobov Anton UKR 2758 12,5 2686 234,5
17 10 Grischuk Alexander RUS 2801 12,5 2675 236
18 23 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2722 12,5 2673 231,5
19 16 Bacrot Etienne FRA 2744 12,5 2670 231
20 35 Vitiugov Nikita RUS 2674 12,5 2666 222
21 26 Radjabov Teimour AZE 2706 12,5 2659 231,5
22 22 Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2725 12,5 2659 231
23 30 Malakhov Vladimir RUS 2700 12,5 2645 219
24 15 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son VIE 2746 12,5 2642 217,5
25 34 Eljanov Pavel UKR 2674 12,5 2622 213,5
26 36 Polgar Judit HUN 2673 12 2751 251,5
27 43 Meier Georg GER 2663 12 2739 255
28 61 Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2628 12 2703 237
29 57 Andriasian Zaven ARM 2633 12 2702 231
30 67 Matlakov Maxim RUS 2618 12 2700 233
31 55 Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2636 12 2690 240,5
32 5 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2835 12 2680 235
33 89 Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2539 12 2658 210,5
34 20 Dubov Daniil RUS 2729 12 2651 222,5
35 39 Lu Shanglei CHN 2668 11,5 2713 251,5
36 31 Caruana Fabiano ITA 2697 11,5 2678 230
37 44 Safarli Eltaj AZE 2661 11,5 2667 232,5
38 27 Fressinet Laurent FRA 2705 11,5 2666 227,5
39 50 Van Wely Loek NED 2647 11,5 2653 219
40 28 Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2703 11,5 2646 228

(Full standings here)


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


kcmclvr's picture

@My name?, Hey big bug, what needs to be talked to become big? "untill this, until that, before this, before that, after this, after that, next to this, next to that, near this, near that...." e.t.c. That makes humans big? Enjoy that bigness!

Anonymous Prime's picture

Carlsen's blitz rating now at a stunning 2948. Inane performance this tournament. A worthy world champion indeed.

My name?'s picture

Stop being so fixated at ratings. Ratings are never impressive, created by humans as the rating system is. Change the parameters and his rating could be 10 000 000. How impressive is that?

Anonymous Prime's picture

My point was merely that Carlsen's performance this tournament has been very impressive , also shown by him gaining an unlikely 111 rating points.

Carls son's picture

40 of those points were retroactively added AFTER he won Norway blitz. Magnus is no better at blitz than Nepo or Naka and refuses to pay bullet. He will only do what is in his comfort zone but knows that he will lose 3:1 in a bullet match with Nakamura.

Anonymous's picture

Well, in this tournament, Carlsen was a little better than Nepo and Naka. And if they would play a long blitz match and i was forced to make a bet, I'd put my money on Carlsen, simply because he is the stronger chess player.
As for bullet chess, I am quite convinced that Naka would stand a good chance of beating Carlsen, since he's a known bullet specialist.
As for Carlsen not playing bullet, let him play what he likes. Personally I love bullet chess, but I do recognize that a very large portion of bullet games are decided by means of non chess reasons. Usually reflexes and the quickness with which you can bang out moves, win games, the quality of those moves matter a little less than the speed. I can understand anyone who does not like to play bullet for that reason alone.

Chess detective's picture

My name? = Carls son = s3

RG13's picture

Are there any bullet tournaments with prizes that the World Champ would care about?

Leo's picture

So Nakamura is better at bullet. This is what's left for you now? The walls are really closing in there, aren't they :)

kcmclvr's picture

My name?, why are you trolling with such an amount of negativity, sarcasm and intolerance . Does this attitude allows to live this precious life happily or is this the only way you can feel happy?

Bertil's picture

Stop being so fixated at chess. Chess is never impressive, created by humans as the chess game is. Change the game and his performance would be even higher. How impressive is that?

Leo's picture

Well, that wouldn't really change anything - the others' ratings would then be slightly less than 10 000 000. Obviously the actual number itself is not "impressive". Whether you think someone's relative rating superiority is impressive is another matter.

Leo's picture

(@MyName?, obviously.)

Anonymous Prime's picture

Insane even.

raze's picture

Boom! Boom! boom! Happy 3 Champion in 3 chess time control. Boom. Haters hate. Welcome to the greatest GM of all time. The best. exciting chess. Carlsen is the best. :):)

Billy's picture

Carlsen is just Be(a)st! I give him big credits because he is not afraid to damage his image and take part in everything even blitz! Thats what a true Champion should do.
I think the big news is that he agrees to take part in a chess960 tournament.
chess960 with Top 10 players 2 round robin with the WC in would be the bigest event for chess the last 10 years.

Magnuss's picture

The sickly looking Ukrainian woman asked him about correspondence and bullet too. He said he didn't have the patience for correspondence and some lame excuse for why he doesn't play bullet. So no, he doesn't play "anything and everything". Carlsen is afraid of what would happen if he tried to battle for the bullet crown.

In 3..2..1... someone will say bullet is not real chess and doesn't matter...

Hernán Ruiz's picture

You cannot hide your envy.And, of course, bullet indeed is not "real chess".

Anonymous's picture

Magnuss, fuck off you jealous LOSER!

Anonymous's picture

Bullet is not real chess and doesn't matter.

whalehunted's picture

Sauron 4ever

Anonymous's picture

Legend already

eadon's picture

This is further proof that Carlsen is the best player since Kasparov, if not better. Carlsen beat up all the competition at classical, rapid AND blitz. This means he's the greatest and no one, not Aronian, nor Caruna nor Kramnik nor naka nor Anand comes close, and they never have done. Suck it down!

Thomas Richter's picture

"no one, not Aronian, nor Caruna nor Kramnik nor naka nor Anand comes close" - Caruana and Anand and Aronian came close in the rapid event, Nakamura and Nepomniachtchi came close in the blitz. Carlsen's chances to defend his classical title may be better than 50% - given how the events in Dubai evolved, his chances to defend the rapid or blitz title seem at best 50% each.

Yes, Carlsen was lucky in the final phase of the blitz: check his games against Mamedov and tournament surprise Yudin where his opponents went from clearly better to losing within a few moves. Nakamura also got presents from Anand and Morozevich. Others may have been lucky in other rounds, but it's most crucial towards the end of the event.

Marcus Stone's picture

You have no idea what you are talking about. Blitz game scores are next to meaningless. Carlsen wasn't lucky, Nakamura wasn't lucky, None of the players were lucky. They all made their own fortune with the type of positions they were able to negotioate and the psychological pressure they were able to generate. Classical chess it was not!

me's picture

thomas, you're so boring as one can be

Coco Loco's picture

Are you critiquing blitz games?! Unreal...

RG13's picture

However lucky 'gifts' are like bad calls in tennis. Every player gets some benefit from them. However if a tennis player won a grand slam tournament it would be ridiculous for someone to only mention the bad calls that went in his favor. In tennis and chess you have to have played well enough to be in a tournament position to benefit from those lucky breaks. And that is what Carlsen has done.

hank's picture

Excellent point @RG13

jimknopf's picture

You just can't acknolwedge anything concerning Carlsen, Thomas, can you? The degree is really hilarious :-)))

It's definitely funny, how you keep on repeating this 'luck' talk making no bit of sense to me.

All players try their best, in good and bad positions. At the end, it's only skill, or lack of skill in converting advantages, which counts. It's all determined by player skill, and by dealing with pressure and opponents. No room left for 'luck' in 21 long rounds, while constantly playing the best of the best.

Thomas Richter's picture

Did you look at the games I mentioned, against Mamedov and Yudin? While there have been 21 long rounds, the final ones decided a close event. As in football: an undeserved penalty after 20 minutes is bad enough, the same after 80 or 85 minutes can decide an even match.

Yes, it was blitz where mistakes are more common compared to slower time controls. Even in blitz, Anand's 41.-Kg6?? was a lemon and the only way to lose this position. Nothing Nakamura could do about it, no reason to praise him.

Anonymous's picture

Thomas, do you not understand that you are being extremely stupid? Do you not get this? Seriously?

Anonymous's picture

"As in football: an undeserved penalty"

Yes, Carlsen's win is best compared to an undeserved penalty. How did Nepo win against Anand and Wng Hao, by rhe way?

jimknopf's picture

Sorry, but this comparison doesn't work at all, Thomas.

In football a third person (the referee) is a factor neither team can influence. A bad referee decision can be bad luck or in obvious cases hard to accept.

Chess does not work that way: all players had the same chances, and are completely responsible both for the good moves and the "lemons". And they have to deal with both from their opponents.
Purely human factors: no luck at all in the proper sence of the word (out of player influence) involved.

The only story where I remember luck played a role was a match (if I remember right even a world championship match), where the lights went off, the clocks were interrupted, and the player to move had a long think over his next move with clocks stopped, because he of course needed no light for that.

As I said, in this case there was no factor apart from the players. And it is just as much skill to convert an advantage, as it is to keep a bad game alive or even get back to counterplay, just as it is missing skill to blunder or to let an advantage slip. No luck at all, just human opponents playing good and less good moves!

P.S. I heavily dislike the offensive posts towards Thomas. Most times he uses arguments: we can agree or disagree, we can certainly be direct and critical in confrontation, but there's no reason for offensive reactions at all. We can openly mock trolls, but Thomas definitely is none of that kind.

Anonymous's picture

It can be said very easily: Chess is a deterministic full-information game. There is no chance and no luck.

jsy's picture

You've got to be kidding me. Chess (as well as all sports like activities) is not deterministic. It is clearly probabilistic and luck clearly has a role. If it were deterministic, the higher rated player will always do better than the lower rated player. We can only say that the better (or higher rated player) has higher probabilities for winning.

Thomas Richter's picture

I agree that the penalty analogy is wrong - as far as I noticed, the arbiter(s) played a role in just one blitz game with PH Nielsen on board 41: does anyone know what happened? The game was drawn, and Nielsen was clearly unhappy about it - and made quite a fuzz while basically nothing was at stake.

Waht about this? One football team missing a shot on open goal, and the other team scoring from a counter after the goalkeeper blundered.

Anand-Nepo may also count as luck - but the underlying reason was that Anand went too far in his winning attempts. Nepo-Wang Hao was, in any case, a creative double exchange sacrifice - white took risks and earned his subsequent luck!?

Anonymous's picture

Give it up, Thomas. Carlsen is top in all three forms of chess. If you cannot see that this is more than just luck, I truly feel sorry for you.

Anonymous's picture

If one football team misses a shot at an open goal, that's not bad luck. It's missing skill. People just call it bad luck due to the fact that nobody is consitently good enough to make the 'easy' goal each and every time.

And the football analogy still doesn't really work, because with 22 players the number of such skill variables in a team sport, connected to body coordination in constant movement, is obviously higher and more complex.

In chess, it's more clear: both play the best they can and are more or less successful doing that. I see no luck factors involved.

Strong and weak moves are interdependendant, as in the Carslen-Grishuk rapid game.

And nobody has something like the right to convert from a promising or even (nearly) won position. Getting such a plus is just one step on the way, and converting is the next task. If you fail to do so, especially due to tenacious resistance and counterplay, you lose your advantage or even the game. All that has happend again and again in chess, classic, rapid or blitz.

It's no luck, but the obvious mixture of good and less good moves on both sides. The last mistake loses. it's all human, no luck involved.

That makes it so interesting to watch, especially in rapid and blitz, when the error margin is higher for all, but some show suprising skills in dealing with that, like Nakamura, Nepomniachtchi, Aronian, Carlsen and others in the top ranks.

Thomas Richter's picture

"If one football team misses a shot at an open goal, that's not bad luck. It's missing skill." Correct, in football (apart from arbiter decisions) as well as chess, there's no bad luck, but there's still luck. The difference is that 'bad luck' is your own responsibility, while luck is beyond your own control.

While football is played between two teams and chess between two players, in both cases it's usually part of a competition. Results of other matches/games affect the tournament situation of teams/players that aren't directly involved. Here one can speak of luck or bad luck, because one has no influence whatsoever on what happens in parallel matches/games!?

jimknopf's picture

This definitely goes much too far in defining "luck" or "bad luck".

Of course you can't define what your opponent does, but what you face is your opponent's skill or missing skill, and that's a basic element of the fight, and no "luck" or "bad luck". It's your opponent, not more and not less.

And if you define your opponent's playing as luck, just because you can't control it, then you could just as well imply your own game as well, because you have no perfect control over it either (blunders).

From that perspective chess as a whole would become a game of 'luck', nearly like throwing dice, and that is obviously an absurd use of the word "luck".

The "anonymous answer above was from me as well, of course.

RG13's picture

Please review my reply to your last comment.

Grandma's picture


"Did you look at the games I mentioned, against Mamedov and Yudin? While there have been 21 long rounds, the final ones decided a close event".

I did.

I don't care about your earlier statement that
"I have limited chess understanding. (when we disagreed about a move, and it turned out that I was right)

"While there have been 21 long rounds, the final ones decided a close event."

What is wrong about that?

It made the tournament more exciting to watch.
It had been just as long rounds for Magnus as for all the other players.

"As in football: an undeserved penalty after 20 minutes is bad enough, the same after 80 or 85 minutes can decide an even match."

This is just nonsense.

Chess and football is NOT the same! There were no undeserved penalties here, just players who were responsible for their own moves.

And since I have some difficulties to express exactly what I mean (in English), I quote @jimknopf:

"As I said, in this case there was no factor apart from the players. And it is just as much skill to convert an advantage, as it is to keep a bad game alive or even get back to counterplay, just as it is missing skill to blunder or to let an advantage slip. No luck at all, just human opponents playing good and less good moves!"

It's just to the point!

I have a feeling that you don't fully understand Carlsen's exceptional endgame skill, his ability to convert a tiny advantage, a "drawn" position to a win, or to hold an apparently "lost" position, and even then turn it around from time to time, create counterplay and win.

By now you should have understood it, because that is Carlsen's trademark, and he has won quite a lot of competitions due to these extreme skills which are difficult for other people to understand.

He is also extremely strong psychological, keeps his nerves under control and doesn't crack under pressure.

As you know, chess is more than good openings and early middlegames.

(But openings are of course easier to understand for us amateurs)

Even if you don't like Magnus, (for reasons I cannot understand), you should be able to congratulate a young man who is trefold World Champion and historic!

Magnus praised Nepo and Nakamura for their strong play.

Anand and Aronian praised Magnus for his stunning performances.

When the top players and competitors are generous to each other, why can't you?

I simply can't understand it.

My name?'s picture

"You just can't acknolwedge anything concerning Carlsen, Thomas, can you?"

You didn't answer his question. Now, try again.

Anonymous's picture
celso's picture

The clown is very important in a circus. Please do not kill yourself. Keep amusing us.

eadon's picture

"Yes, Carlsen was lucky" - How many times have we heard that the number one player is "lucky"? Over all the games played, the luck factor cancels out. You're left with skill. Carlsen won because he's the best player. He had to be *unlucky* not to win!
Furthermore, in a field of so many players, some are going to be extremely lucky and do extremely well and Carlsen had to score better than even the luckiest of the players.

Anonymous's picture

Thomas, shut the fuck up you you boring Magnus jealous hating cunt.

JRC's picture

Peter, some editing please regarding the above comment.

RG13's picture

Please remember that we want young people to enjoy reading this site and the comments.


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