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


Tarjei's picture

Carlsen responded to Richter today:
"The strong ones have luck!"

Anonymous's picture

I don't think Carlsen gives a shit what that nobody writes, if he's noticed it at all :-)

Thomas Richter's picture

The winner is always right, and Tarjei will always support Carlsen. But I consider it my task to figure out why he finished ahead of Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura.

Leo's picture

Yeah, let us know what you find out. I have a hunch that luck is going to be a factor ;)

Grandma's picture

Thomas has a great task. He must figure out what other people already understand. ;-)

But that's his problem and obsession, and all people here know it.

Btw: Magnus praised both Ian Nepomniachtchi and Hikaru Nakamura for their good play, and said that 16/21 also is a very strong result.

Magnus also said (in Norwegian) that it was special to compete with Nepo for the gold because he wishes the very best for his good friend. :-)

Anonymous's picture

"I consider it my task to figure out why he finished ahead of Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura"

The World awaits the result of that figuring out.

Anonymous's picture

Some people are delusional and some are obsessive, but it is rare to find someone who is obsessive about his delusions.

My name?'s picture

The "why" he finished ahead of N and N you cannot know as the where this why takes place is inaccessible. Let it go.

Anonymous's picture

"A weaker man might be moved to re-examine his faith, for nothing else at least in the law of probability... "
Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

Anonymous's picture

"Yes, Carlsen was lucky"

Thomas sums it up in the usual way :)

AngeloPardi's picture

That was a blitz tournament !
You can talk of luck when a GM blunder a piece in a classical game, but blunders are part of a blitz game.

axel's picture

It's probably impossible to win such a competition without being lucky. Anand had some amazing saves in the rapid competition too (also towards the end). So I doubt that being lucky takes away from the achievement.

Anonymous's picture

Honestly Thomas, I thought you were better than this. This is actually disappointing. Respect lost. :(

Thomas Richter Fanboy's picture

Yes, Thomas Richter is right. When Magnus lost, it was because he played badly. When he won, it was because of luck.

-And because he won the most games he was the most lucky of all players! #ThomasLogic

BL's picture


Congrats Magnus.

Anonymous's picture

Thomas hadn't said anything inflammatory here for a while, and I thought he might have changed his tune. But, alas, he's up to his old tricks again.

Everyone is focused on the "luck" thing, but what about this: "Carlsen's chances to defend his classical title may be better than 50%". May be? He crushed the guy in the last match, has a huge rating advantage and has a dominating one-on-one record over the last few years – not to mention Anand is over-the-hill. A more realistic assessment would put Carlsen's odds at, at least, 2 to 1 in favor.

Really though, this is getting silly. Arguing with Thomas at this point is like arguing with a flat earther. His position on Carlsen is hardly more tenable than that, and at some point one just has to give up and say “if everything Carlsen has achieved up to this point cannot convince T.R., then nothing Carlsen will ever do will.” Thomas is either a troll or completely ego invested and permanently locked into an anti-Carlsen stance.

Anonymous's picture

Yes, or a religious fundamentalist. I know the feeling well.
Or a cult member. It seems Thomas's mind is too far 'gone' to be rescued.

Anonymous's picture


Brecht's picture

Well said EADON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Greco's picture


Marcus Stone's picture

The level of maturity in this page reflects poorly on the chess community. None of you are going to see a cent of the winnings. Why are you attacking each other when the best player in the world makes a natural result?

AngeloPardi's picture

It's not Sauron, it's Morgoth.

Anonymous's picture

Congrats to Carlsen, TRIPLE CHAMP! :)

Vodkarov's picture

Fisher and Kasparov will eat Carlsen alive. Carlsen is luckey. He wins because week compitition. Like ramnik said Carlsen is overrated. Carlsen is the Kiing of Boring Chess (KBC) he play boring chess and win when opponent got bored and blunder.

beerov's picture

you must be quite desperate, maybe you shouldn't watch chess

Awfulhangover's picture

Relax, be glad they allow internet in his psych central.

RG13's picture

Kasparov has never indicated that he feels that way about his former student. Kasparov only has a slight plus score against Karpov in classical chess and Kasparov said Carlsen is like "Karpov on steroids!"

kcmclvr's picture

Sure, it must be the fault of Vodka overdose!

Witkacy's picture

I agree with Vodkarov. I still have to see ONE beautiful game of Carlsen.

Leo's picture

How sad that you are unable to share the enjoyment others get from watching a champion play. Oh well, I guess chess is not for everyone.

Hernán Ruiz's picture

There are many beautiful games played by Carlsen, but you are not able to see them.Lack of understanding, or perhaps your envy blinds you.

jimknopf's picture

Yes, and Elvis would finish Carlsen off completely!

Haven't they told you?
You shouldn't drink your week supply in one day, Vodkarov! :-)

Grandpa's picture

I disagree vokkadov: Fischer will not eat anyone anymore. Kasparov may still bite, but he is not even going to try to beat Carlsen anymore. You live in the past...

MagnusOCarlsen's picture

Chessboxing next challenge....also chess-pong maybe...

Vodkarov's picture

Kramnik > Carlsen

Carlsen won because Krambo did not play

Anonymous's picture

Of course vodka, of course.

Vodkarov's picture

KBC knocked Nakamuras rook off the board and distracted him. Otherwise Naka would have kicked the orange juice boy

Carlsson's picture

What is KBC?

Vodkarov's picture

KBC = King of Boring Chess = Carlsen

Anonymous's picture

No, KBC = King of Boring Comments = Vodkarov

yes!'s picture

king of BRILLIANT chess, what else

Grandpa's picture

Oh no Vodkarov, now you will have S3 looking for that video and remind us for eternity what a bad thing Carlsen did in yet another game...

vpai's picture

Not a big Carlsen fan. Yet it must be said that Carlsen has moved ahead of the pack by some distance just like Federrer, Schumi, Lin Dan, Fischer and other great champions.

Don't see anybody in the current pack getting any closer. Aronian cannot hold his nerves. Caruana reminds of young Anand who is not agressive enough. Nakamura cannot win even with advantageous positions. Karjakin is content with draws. Time has caught up with Anand & Kramnik.

Only hopes at present are Vladislav Artemiev, Wei Yei, Aravind Chithambaram and TIME.

RG13's picture

+1 Good comment, but I still want to see what this revitalized Anand has up his sleave.

Witkacy's picture

Bull, Carlsen ain't no Fischer, yet. Let's not forget although he wins it is with the slightest margin.
Fischer mostly won 2 points ahead of his opponents.

Gravitational_Waves's picture

Nice comment.

"Only hopes at present are Vladislav Artemiev, Wei Yei, Aravind Chithambaram and TIME" AND PLAY MAGNUS !

Tyke's picture

Sorry to say this Anand fans, your tiger has no chance this November. He may play better than what he did in Chennai but Magnus will triumph again. If Nakamura treats Anand like this imagine what his owner will do to him.

Vodkarov's picture

You are an idiot. Anand won against Carlsen and drew the blitz. Anand was the only undefeated player in rapid. That just means that Anand has good chances.

Now don't pussy-out Anand won because Carlsen blundered. Because Carlsen wins most games making his opponent blunder in long boring games, even Kramnik said that.

Tyke's picture

LOL stop calling names loser. Don't get too attached with Anand . Carlsen will show no mercy in November-mark my words.

kcmclvr's picture

@vodkarao, how conclusions can be drawn about a lengthy Classical Chess Championship based on one Rapid and one Blitze game result? Even 10 each will not establish any conclusiveness other giving scope for some morale boost. Carlsen is simply the best player now. Anand's biggest advantage is that he still possess the best intuitive judgment that play a vital role in opening to early middle game where it's humanly impossible to calculate all variations. Anand is finding it hard to keep Carlsen in such complex positions for long. He slips out in to simple positions where he holds definite advantage. Holding well in the opening to early middle game phase, then out calculating in late-middle and the end game offers a best chance against Anand as the role of intuitive moves begin to give way to precise calculations. Carlsen is able to do this rather well. That's why he is so successful! Anand is aware of this. It's characterized as playing well in variety of positions. That's why he said that Carlsen is an incredibly difficult opponent to play against. He never said something like this for any other opponent including Garry, the Great.
It goes the same way for Carlsen. Till some one literally out calculates him, it is difficult to over though him in a long duel.


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