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


Coco Loco's picture

Man, I can't believe how lucky this Carlsen guy is!!! Time and time again :-)

odunayo's picture

Don't think its called luck, its called consistent! A good and consistent player.

mike's picture

+1 odunayo
Magnus plays consistently and relentlessly.
A true worthy champion of chess in our era.
honestly i wanted Nepomniachtchi to be the blitz world champion, alas the norwegian got it this time. congrats to all carlsen fans and haters!

Snja's picture

Consistency for Magnus, this is the key. See how he dominated with confidence, clear from the games of the blitz http://www.chessdom.com/fide-world-blitz-chess-championship-2014-live/

Anonymous's picture

"lucky" time and time again - yes indeedy! At classical, rapid and blitz, pure luck means the competition are left in the dust as usual, lamenting that their ambitions are entirely futile, when Carlsen is around ;-) Carlsen is ten times better than this rivals, it's that simple.

eadon's picture

"lucky" time and time again - yes indeedy! At classical, rapid and blitz, pure luck means the competition are left in the dust as usual, lamenting that their ambitions are entirely futile, when Carlsen is around ;-) Carlsen is ten times better than this rivals, it's that simple. (forgot to specify my handle :).

tesholama's picture

Ten time i cannot say because i do not know what the "X" factor may be, but high there with the other chess legends, Morphy, Capablanca, Fisher, Tal without doubts, And not to forget the principal, the mass of very strong players increased conspicuously during the last decades, it is too early, but he may become, THE GOAT

chess spectator's picture

tweet from: @Kasparov63
Carlsen is the strongest, of course, but winning at all 3 time controls is a little like winning tennis slams on clay, grass and hard court.

John's picture

no matter what Magnus achieve...there will be always people to doubt and call it luck

syzygy's picture

The first post was clearly ironic...There was no doubt in it.

Septimus's picture

Luck always follows great players. Nothing much to say. Best chess player alive today.

saltpebba's picture

if he won Anastazia as well, ..bloody badass.

NicK's picture

Carlsen start dating Anna :o)

Futebol brasileiro's picture

Carlsen did not impress me. He was lucky on several occasions (Aronian, Mamedov, et al.) and showed little class over the board and at the press conference. He was also lucky that Kramnik did not play. Aronian and Anand showed the most impressive chess.


 Anon's picture

Please, just don't feed the troll...

nonoyski's picture

you are feeding the troll

Anonymous's picture

Oh c'mon...you guys are both feeding the troll

me's picture

you should stick to soccer since you obviously do not understand a lot about chess. you are for sure no chess lover, only a chess hater. poor guy

 Anon's picture

So you decided to feed the troll...

Frits Fritschy's picture

Might be the same person.

xxx's picture


eadon's picture

Hahahahahahahahaha Anand has never been one of the Greats, just a WC during a time of weak players.

migzfd's picture

Stupid. Do you know chess history ?

RG13's picture

If Anand was "just a WC during a time of weak players" then so is Carlsen. Or are the strong players the ones that couldn't stop Anand from winning the candidates?

eadon's picture

"then so is Carlsen" - good point, but the difference is that Carlsen dominates. He's usually first or sometimes second in virtually every tourney he competes in. The other players may only occasionally do well.

Hernán Ruiz's picture

Another stupid comment, is becoming usual here.

Anil Philip.'s picture

Your vomiting out shows how ignorant you are!!!!!!

Hernán Ruiz's picture

Who cares about what impress you?Are you a top GM?Like you or not, Carlsen is the best player.

Brecht's picture

i guess your elo rating of 900 elo explains this kind of nonsense comments?

My name?'s picture

You cannot blame Magnus for being lucky. Him being lucky simply means his opponents are incompetent or unskilled.

 Anon's picture

Fantastic and entertaining tournament, great commentary, blunders and brilliancies galore!

Looking forward to the next rapid and blitz championships. And I was happy to see Anand and Moro doing well again in both competitions.

Born's picture

Hahaha! Bravo Carlsen the Greatest Champion there has ever been!! Undisputed dominace! All the haters swallow it!! =D

Anonymous Prime's picture

How does Naka share second with Nepomniatchthi if Nepo has the better tie break? Or is this slightly biased reporting due to sponsorship? Nama did well, but is he not just third?

 Anon's picture

I guess price money will be shared as in rapid but Nepo is second and Naka third.

And Nepo really did a great tournament, he is so strong with the faster time controls. I was a little bit disappointed about Grishuk, however.

Casey Abell's picture

Nice rebound for Nakamura from a very disappointing rapid tournament. The tiebreaks are just for the medals, of course, not the money or the actual scores. So, yeah, it was really a shared second place, no matter what the Naka-phobes might say. And it was an entertaining tournament in general, though Carlsen ruined the week for some folks around here (wink).

Anonymous Prime's picture

The tie breakers are for the actual standings, meaning Naka is actually third and not second. Despite what the Naka loving chess.com sponsors want their headlines to say. See what I did there Casey?

Casey Abell's picture

Hey, if it floats your boat to knock Naka, well, enjoy the boat floating. He shared second with Nepo, your interesting conspiracy theories about chess.com notwithstanding. By the way, the two players also tied in the rapid. Joined at the hip, you might say.

Sometime the Naka-phobes are as funny as the Carlsen-phobes. Wait a minute, nobody else could be as funny as them.

axel's picture

A bit more consistency wouldn't hurt. In the report for the rapid competition it said "Anand came 3rd ..." And in the blitz Nakamura shared 2nd.

Anonymous Prime's picture

Exactly my point Axel. When chess.com shirts wearing Nakamura ends on the same point total as Nepo, he is shared second, despite having a worse tiebreaker. But the 4 players finishing with the same point total behind carlsen in rapid, are mentioned as finishing second third fourth and fifth.
Of course, just mentioning this and raising the question of whether this is slightly biased reporting, makes me a Nakaphobe. That goes without saying.

Thomas Richter's picture

To be fair, it 'feels' as if Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura shared second place in the blitz - the tiebreak was verrry close, and second tiebreak (Buchholz) would have been slightly in favor of Nakamura. In the rapid event, Caruana was "rather clear tiebreak silver medallist", it was just as close between Anand and Aronian for bronze and fourth place, and then again Morozevich came from behind and deservedly remained behind on tiebreak. So a point can be made for treating the two situations differently.

Subjectively, it made sense to me who was officially ahead in a "too close to call" scenario. In the blitz, Nakamura got two presents from Anand and Morozevich in the final phase, Nepo got no presents in the decisive last rounds. In the rapid, Aronian can only blame himself for not beating Anand in the last round to get, actually, silver. In the blitz, my preference for the player who gets far less attention and praise in western media might play a role. In the rapid, I claim to have no bias whatsoever for Anand over Aronian or Aronian over Anand.

An earlier moment may have been more revealing, while it was certainly unintended: After round 14, Chessvibes tweeted "Carlsen beat Polgar, now a full point clear as Nakamura-Mamedyarov was drawn - in spectacular fashion!" - completely overlooking Nepomniachtchi. This can happen in the heat of the moment, but would Peter Doggers have overlooked Nakamura overtaking Nepo?

Carls son's picture

Nepo had one more total win. Nakamura had one less loss. Nakamura also beat Nepo straight up with the black pieces so in my mind he was the better player even though some tie break that is a consequence of the swiss structure(a horrible tournament structure imo DRR is far far superior) and nothing else. Nakamura got gifts but several of his draws and one of his losses were wins that he blew so it works the other way. Nakamura notched wins vs Aronian, Anand, and Nepo while stoning Carlsen out. Can Nepo say the same? Both Nepo and Carlsen's wins were against lower rate opposition and both of them got and gave gifts as well.

Thomas Richter's picture

Yes, there are tiebreaks favoring Nakamura - head-to-head would be a logical one, but was only third tiebreaker (arguably the entire tournament should matter more than a single game). Most wins is another common tiebreaker (another story is if it makes sense particularly in blitz which always has plenty of decisive games) that would have favored Nepomniachtchi.

As to whom they beat (arbitrarily selecting those with blitz rating 2800+): Nakamura beat Nepomniachtchi, Aronian and Anand (draws against Carlsen and Mamedyarov, loss against Le Quang Liem). Nepomniachtchi beat Vachier-Lagrave, Le Quang Liem, Anand and Mamedyarov (draw against Carlsen, losses against Nakamura and Aronian). OK, 4/6 is slightly better than 4.5/7, and MVL had a bad event by his standards, but it isn't as clear in favor of Nakamura as you suggest [by being more selective and doing some cherry-picking].

It's futile to discuss all games with all their twists and turns, but: "Nakamura ... several of his draws ... were wins that he blew" - I can find only one: against Mamedyarov where he was first winning, then lost, then the game finished in a draw. The draws against Wojtaszek, Meier, Carlsen and Harikrishna were relatively correct (he was better but probably never winning against Harikrishna), against Sargissian he was (potentially) in trouble and escaped.

"imo DRR is far superior" - yes, but would you want a double round robin with 116 players? Or, limiting the field to those with Blitz Elo 2700+, still 30 players? Some blitz world championships had this format (small field, invited players plus a few qualifiers), but then Meier, Lu Shanglei and Yudin would still be internationally unknown

Anonymous Prime's picture

Anyone can have their own thoughts and feelings about who performed better. Fact remains that according to the tournament regulations, Carlsen came first, Nepomniatchtchi second and Nakamura third, as reflected by the medal ceremony and official results. If Chessvibes is pretending to be a source of chess news, they should report accordingly.
I don't mean to take anything away from the quality of the reporting on the chess technical side of things, this is always up to high standard. I just do not think that reporting Naka shared second place is good for the credibility of Chessvibes or Chess.com as source of chess news.

RG13's picture

I don't think Nakamura wears chess.com t-shirts during competition simply because he loves the site. They are clearly his sponsor and it is therefore reasonable for them to root for him. That being said, your point seems valid to me.

Anonymous's picture

A delusional and obsessive comment may follow...

Anonymous's picture

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

Thomas Richter Fanboy's picture

Oh, no. This cannot be right. MC won both titles only because the others was out of form, because his hotel room was equipped with a better matrass, because he cheats (S3 is still searching all the 45 videos in slow motion to find the proof) and because his seconds donated him their full points.

Magnus Carlsen is not the best chess player in the world at the present, and soon Thomas Richter will prove it to you in plain writing.

thomasandkramnikknowsbetter's picture

Pure luck and non-chess reasons, - this orange juice for one thing.
Just ask Thomas and Kramnik.

kcmclvr's picture

Wow! Carlsen talked about becoming the champion in Rapid and Blitze as well. Finally, he walked the talk and it's a tremendous achievement. Demonstration of dominance and versatility has already pushed him in to the exalted group of greatest players of all time. He seems to be destined to become the greatest player of all time.

My name?'s picture

"the greatest of all time..." UNTIL the next comes along.

How small humans are, "greatest this, widest that, strongest this, dumbest that."


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