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

Till some one literally out calculates him, it's difficult to overthrow him in a long duel. Sorry for the slip.

Anonymous's picture

Long, boring... blitz games?

Leo's picture

"Even Kramnik"? Why, does his opinion somehow count more than others'?

Grandma's picture

The Chess world has got a triple World Champion.

It is historic.
It is amazing.

And it's by no means a coincidence that Magnus now is reigning Champion in classical, rapid and blitz.

Magnus Carlsen is the world's very best and most consistent chess player.
He has proved it again and again the last years.

What some people call "luck" is exceptional skill.

With his good psyche and iron nerves he is also the best under pressure when it matters most.

Congratulations, Magnus! :-)

I also want to congratulate Nepo, Carlsen's good friend and second with his impressing play and second place, and congratulations also to Nakamura!

Kudos to all the participants for a nice event!

And thanks GM Komarov for good, skilled and fun comments! His accent didn't bother me. I found it just charming. :-)

Witkacy's picture

Of course you can't compare but only ONE point?
Fischer won at the the Herceg Novi blitz event 4 and a half points MORE than the second player , Tal. Also beating 4 world champions!
And spend no more than 2/half minutes during the game. Now, that's impressing.

Witkacy's picture

Impressing? I mean impressive.

observer's picture

Deliberately provoking, but I'll bite here.

Firstly a correction: Fischer beat 3, not 4 ex-world champions ( the 4th [to be] world champion in the event being himself). They were Tal, Petrosian and Smyslov. Petrosian was 40 at the time, Smyslov 49. The reigning world champion, Spassky, did not play.

Yes, this was a fantastic performance by Fischer when he had developed to be at the top of his game. He was 26 at the time. Carlsen is 23 and still developing. He is not yet at this level, but may well be by age 26. Fischer was not so strong at age 23.

Fischer got 19/22 - 86.4%
Carlsen got 17/21 - 81.0%
Not too big a difference.

But also, in fact the Herceg Novi event wasn't all that super strong. Whereas almost every top world player played in Dubai, for Herceg Novi (12 players) we had:
- only 5 of the absloute top at the time played: Fischer, Petrosian, Tal, Korchnoi, Hort.
- Missing were: Spassky (reigning world champion), Larsen, Geller, Polugaevsky, Portisch, Stein.
- The bottom half of the tournament consisted of relatively weak players.

It is also much easier for a first place getter to put distance over second place getter in a double round-robin than it is in a 100 player Swiss.
Second place getter in Herceg Novi got only 14.5/22 (65.9%)
Second place getter in Dubai got 16/21 (76.2%)
Therefore Carlsen's distance from second place getter is much less than Fischer's mainly due to higher-scoring second place getter in Dubai.

Overall, I don't think Carlsen's performance is that much less than Fischer's.

Torpedo's picture

Thank you for this comment observer.

observer's picture

You're welcome; compliment appreciated.
I've always been rather fascinated by tournament history, so it was interesting to do a comparison.

RG13's picture

+1 Observer, I appreciate posts like this from you FAR more than your ranting against S3. Thank you!

observer's picture

Ok, thanks.

This S3 stuff doesn't really bother me at a personal level. Unlike S3, I DO have a life to live and am enjoying it.
But it does affront my sense of rightness that this one troll can half-destroy the forum and use it as a means to attack a player in a cowardly way; this is what motivates me. I do not find it pleasant, but do like to see things through to the end. I think people on the forum are now far more aware of what this guy gets up to.
Once away from the keyboard, it bothers me very little, if at all, and truly is not an important issue in my life.
I am intending to spend less time at chessvibes from now on; I have things to do!

jimknopf's picture

Excellent post, observer.

observer's picture

Thanks Jim!
So are yours; your contributions are much appreciated.

Grandma's picture

Excellent comment, @observer. :)

observer's picture

Thanks Grandma!

You are a very welcome recent addition to the forum, and your posts are uniformly excellent too (and don't let any troll tell you they are not).
And you DO write English very well :)

David Korn's picture

Excellent. Thank you. Greatly look forward to all you say in future. Thank you, kind sir.

observer's picture


I made a slight mistake with Fischer's age at the time. He was 27, not 26. For some reason I was thinking his birth month was July, but it was March.
The ages of Petrosian and Smyslov are correct. The event took place on 8 April 1970.

Other near-top players not in it were Botvinnik, Keres, Taimanov, Gligoric, Najdorf.

If rating inflation could be adjusted for, it would be interesting to compare rating performances; and the average rating of both players' opponents.

Chris's picture

Fischer candidate matchec 6:0 vs Taimanov, 6:0 vs Larsen, 6.5:2.5 vs iron Petrosian ex champion,
6.5 3.5 after 10 games in WC match vs Spassku calculating vo. for Spassky, if not 6.5 : 2.5.
Up to now no one has repeated it.

Anonymous's picture

It's only the two 6-0s that are remarkable, and give Fischer a spot as maybe 7-8th greatest player ever.

Hernán Ruiz's picture

What a bitter week for all those Carlsen haters!!
Don't worry; the time for Magnus losing tournaments
will come.But not soon.Meanwhile, you have to suffer!! And, of course, you will hate also the new champion.I feel really sorry for you, so envious people.

jimknopf's picture

So far Carlsen has

- reached no.1 of the playing list by the biggest margin ever, since ELO rating was introdued.
- become classic world champion
- won the rapid world championship against one of the strongest fields ever in that format
- won the blitz against the same very strong field with HUGE 17/21 (meaning that those who got 16/21 already played great - but he just marvellous)!

If that is a moment for envious souls to keep on nagging, not being able to appreciate a definitely special moment in the history of chess, I'm glad I don't have to understand that level of small-mindedness.

I enjoyed the whole tournament: it was a chess thriller in many ways, with lots of great players and great play, including drama, tension, and entertaining and funny comment moments. And the fact that there were very strong contenders for the two titles, who were hard to surpass, makes Carlsens achievement even greater from my view.

This was definitely a performance reminding me of Fischer's best times, who also of course didn't play flawless (who could?). But he showed this level of creativity, mixed with high fighting spirit and strong nerves, which I saw during the last days, especially in Carlsen's play.

Carlsen has a lot of respect for his nearest contenders, as he confirmed in the press conference. And he, in contrast to some here, has no problems acknowleding good play, admitting that they definitely made it hard for him to get through.

I have no doubts that this also counts for the next world championship: Carlsen does not underrate Anand, and is well aware that he will have to work hard for a win against him. But after these days, Carlsen also will be VERY confident and balanced himself, for good reason, and not feel any bit inescure in view of a recovered Anand, who works hard and successful, regaining strength for that match (perhaps the last big title match in his career). I guess that Anand will get few, or rather hardly any chances, to profit from a big blunder like in their rapid game.

Today just means
"congrats Magnus, enjoy the moment!" to me.
And I hope at least some can relax and enjoy the moment with him.

Anonymous's picture

Balanced and unbiased as always, jimknopf.

Thomas Richter's picture

There might be no bias, but is it 'balanced' to write only positive things about Carlsen?

Anonymous's picture

That post was written to see your reply. Thank you, richter.

observer's picture

In this situation there might be a case for this, yes.
But how in hell is it 'balanced' to write only negative things about Carlsen? Not a word of praise from you for Carlsen's great achievement.

I seriously start to think you yourself is unbalanced.

Grandma's picture

I certainly agree, @observer

It this case one would expect every Chess lover to congratulate Carlsen and praise him for his historic achievement.
But Thomas is obviously unable to do that.
He seems to be really unbalanced.
And he doesn't tell us the reason for his strong bias.
There must be a reason hidden somewhere, a secret which is yet not revealed.

chess spectator's picture

'thomas' and 'balanced' in one sentence - this must be a joke. can't believe he claims to be a journalist.

Anonymous's picture

Do you realize how you can learn a thing or two from jimknopf? There is no need to cover everything that might have been going on during a tournament in order to claim balanced perception. No need to act as an accountant, since you will never get there anyways. jimknopf writes from a personal perspective and shares his balanced overall view of the tournament. Once again I enjoyed reading.

Thomas Richter's picture

I don't claim that my posts are balanced, just that they add balance to this forum - i.e. they are part of a discussion and have to be seen in the context of other posts. I rarely give abundant praise to players, making exceptions for those who IMO generally do not get enough attention and praise, e.g. when Gelfand won Tal Memorial.

"Do you realize how you can learn a thing or two from jimknopf?" Sure, his posts show evidence of chess understanding - unlike some others praising Carlsen a lot. But the praise he gets here is probably related to the fact that he expresses an apparent majority opinion.

Defender from Hell's picture

I object to those who accuses Thomas Richter for trolling. Thomas Richter is not a troll, simply because he signs his endless repeat negativity with his real name.

Eventually, we might settle for the term "Signature Troll".


Anonymous's picture

Thomas is no troll simply because he writes his actual opinion about Carlsen all the time, i.e. that he has been lucky everytime he won something, etc. S3 on the other hand is a troll because he doesn't really write his opinion. I think he in a way likes Carlsen, and is far from stupid, just not a content person.

Anonymous's picture


observer's picture

So if the forum is 100% right without you, but only 90% right with your unbalanced opinion included in it, then the forum has become more "balanced" and this is a good thing!?

Anonymous's picture

Right. The idea that Thomas is somehow adding "balance" by constantly asserting Carlsen is lucky in everything he achieves is ludicrous in the extreme.

Anonymous's picture

"In the time of greatest despair,
a child shall be born
who will destroy the Carlsen hype
and bring balance to the Chess."

The Jidai Path: A Manual for Students of the Chess

Anonymous's picture

Some people are just obsessive and delusional

Vodkarov's picture

Dear ignorant idiot. Fisher had a bigger margin than Magnus ever had. Learn some chess before making ignorant comments

Anonymous's picture

Dear Vodkarov. Your tears are delicious, so salty and yet so sweet.

Grandma's picture


A very good comment, @jimknopf.

As always from you. :-)

kcmclvr's picture

@jimknopf, gem of a comment!

respect's picture

+many, many love your posts, jimknopf

AngeloPardi's picture

Almost perfect : Fischer had a 120 points margin over Spassky in 1973.

observer's picture

Your post is appreciated, but I'll be a pedant here and for the record will say that in the July 1972 list Fischer was 2785, and Spassky 2660, which is a difference of 125.
Fischer lost 5 points in the WC match, which Spassky gained, so the difference narrowed to 115.

Anonymous's picture

did you calculate vo for Spassky in that rating?

observer's picture

FIDE at the time did not count the defaulted game in the ratings.
Therefore Fischer lost 5 rating points on a 12.5 - 7.5 scoreline of played games.

RG13's picture


Anonymous Prime's picture

"So far Carlsen has

- reached no.1 of the playing list by the biggest margin ever, since ELO rating was introdued."

Carlsen has achieved the highest ever rating, clearly. However, both Fischer (125 points in July '72) and Kasparov (82 points in January 2000) had a larger margin to the number 2 in the world at the time.

David Korn's picture

Excellent as always. Nice to see you, jimknopf, you are of real value in this environment in my book. Thank you kind sir.

Awfulhangover's picture

At 23, what more had Fischer won than Carlsen, since Fischer is much better as many claim? Titles, big tourneys? Was he highest rated at 19 and held it thereafter?
I don't know, I just ask the fans.

Anonymous's picture

No point asking the Fischer nuts, all they know is that Fischer was American and thus must have been the greatest ever.


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