World Blitz Championships: Magnus grabs the triple crown!

by ChessBase
12/30/2019 – It was a memorable final day of action at the World Blitz Championships in Moscow! Magnus Carlsen arrived as sole leader, but was caught up by an inspired Hikaru Nakamura. Two extra games were played to decide the champion, and the Norwegian prevailed. Carlsen won his third world blitz title and became the world champion in all three formats — classical, rapid and blitz! In the women's section, Kateryna Lagno defended her title from 2018. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Lagno still the queen of blitz

It was all Magnus Carlsen in 2019! The Norwegian star came from a 2018 in which he had won the World Championship title in London and the World Blitz Championship at the end of the year (he finished a half point behind Daniil Dubov in the Rapid). When things seemed all but impossible to improve for the ultra-talent from Tønsberg, he went on to obtain a host of tournament wins and get the triple crown the very next time he got a chance!

But there was no lack of drama in Moscow. Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Kramnik had remarkable runs of good results to put extra pressure on the leader. After beating Kramnik in round 18, Carlsen faced 16-year-old Alireza Firouzja, who ended up losing on time after failing to convert a winning position (there was a huge controversy involved though — Sagar Shah sent a detailed video explaining what went on). The all-important half point left Carlsen in the sole lead, but did not prevent Nakamura from catching up with him thanks to back-to-back wins in the final two rounds! 

Thus, Carlsen and Nakamura tied for first place on 16½/21 and, although prize money was distributed evenly (each received USD 55,000), the title had to be decided in tiebreaks. After drawing game one with Black, Carlsen scored the win he needed to close a remarkable year with yet another triumph.

Vladimir Kramnik won the bronze medal after scoring six wins and a single loss in the final day of action. Let us not forget that the Russian is currently retired from classical chess.

Meanwhile, Kateryna Lagno began the day with a full-point advantage over a four-player chasing pack, but a loss against Alisa Galliamova in round 13 meant she had to suffer a bit before getting the title. In fact, she reached the final round tied with Anna Muzychuk atop the standings table. Lagno drew Antoaneta Stefanova with the white pieces, while Muzychuk fell against Tan Zhongyi. Muzychuk got the silver nonetheless, while Tan Zhongyi clinched the bronze with her last round win. 

Lagno defended the Women's World Blitz title she had obtained in Saint Petersburg in 2018.

Replay the games with computer analysis. Full report will be published shortly.

The rapid event

Magnus Carlsen and Humpy Koneru were crowned 2019 World Rapid Champions in Moscow. Carlsen all but secured first place with a round to spare, and then confirmed it with a 22-move draw against Hikaru Nakamura. Humpy, on the other hand, caught up with Lei Tingjie in the final round after the latter lost against Ekaterina Atalik — the Indian star would then go on to beat Lei in the Armageddon phase of tiebreaks.

Full story: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Live games and commentary

Players receive 3 minutes plus a 2 seconds per move for the entire game.


Commentary by GM Leko, GM Miroschnichenko & WGM Skripchenko | FIDE Chess


Final standings (Open, top 25)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Carlsen Magnus 16,5 261,0
2 Nakamura Hikaru 16,5 259,0
3 Kramnik Vladimir 15,0 246,5
4 Grischuk Alexander 14,0 251,5
5 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 14,0 245,5
6 Firouzja Alireza 13,5 265,5
7 Artemiev Vladislav 13,5 263,0
8 Yu Yangyi 13,5 255,5
9 Matlakov Maxim 13,5 254,5
10 Duda Jan-Krzysztof 13,5 253,0
11 Andreikin Dmitry 13,5 250,5
12 Fedoseev Vladimir 13,5 240,5
13 Giri Anish 13,5 239,0
14 Zubov Alexander 13,5 237,0
15 Aronian Levon 13,5 233,5
16 Wang Hao 13,5 231,5
17 Inarkiev Ernesto 13,5 229,5
18 Svidler Peter 13,5 220,5
19 Gelfand Boris 13,5 216,0
20 Cheparinov Ivan 13,5 213,5
21 Dreev Aleksey 13,0 247,0
22 Nepomniachtchi Ian 13,0 245,0
23 Mamedov Rauf 13,0 240,5
24 Salem A.R. Saleh 13,0 231,5
25 Chigaev Maksim 13,0 230,5

...207 players

Final standings (Women, top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Lagno Kateryna 13,0 170,5
2 Muzychuk Anna 12,5 168,5
3 Tan Zhongyi 12,0 167,5
4 Gunina Valentina 12,0 164,0
5 Kosteniuk Alexandra 11,5 169,0
6 Lei Tingjie 11,5 168,5
7 Arabidze Meri 11,5 161,5
8 Stefanova Antoaneta 11,5 157,0
9 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 11,5 142,0
10 Bodnaruk Anastasia 11,0 167,5
11 Mammadova Gulnar 11,0 148,5
12 Koneru Humpy 10,5 173,5
13 Munguntuul Batkhuyag 10,5 165,5
14 Paehtz Elisabeth 10,5 161,5
15 Abdumalik Zhansaya 10,5 161,5
16 Galliamova Alisa 10,5 156,0
17 Saduakassova Dinara 10,5 156,0
18 Zhukova Natalia 10,5 156,0
19 Krush Irina 10,5 146,0
20 Mkrtchian Lilit 10,5 144,5

...122 players

Starting list Blitz (Open)

No. Name Rtg
1 Nakamura Hikaru 2885
2 Carlsen Magnus 2865
3 Karjakin Sergey 2836
4 Nepomniachtchi Ian 2826
5 Yu Yangyi 2807
6 Svidler Peter 2805
7 Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2796
8 Artemiev Vladislav 2793
9 Andreikin Dmitry 2780
10 Giri Anish 2769
11 Le Quang Liem 2768
12 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2768
13 Andriasian Zaven 2766
14 Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2756
15 Zubov Alexander 2754
16 Kramnik Vladimir 2748
17 Grischuk Alexander 2741
18 Dubov Daniil 2736
19 Korobov Anton 2720
20 Matlakov Maxim 2720
21 Vitiugov Nikita 2719
22 Dominguez Perez Leinier 2715
23 Fedoseev Vladimir 2714
24 Wang Hao 2714
25 Jobava Baadur 2712
26 Morozevich Alexander 2712
27 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2706
28 Meier Georg 2701
29 Gelfand Boris 2700
30 Kamsky Gata 2699
31 Aronian Levon 2698
32 Ponkratov Pavel 2698
33 Tari Aryan 2689
34 Amin Bassem 2685
35 Nihal Sarin 2685

... 205 Players

Starting list Rapid (Women)

No. Name Rtg
1 Lagno Kateryna 2606
2 Lei Tingjie 2543
3 Kosteniuk Alexandra 2521
4 Muzychuk Anna 2504
5 Koneru Humpy 2489
6 Tan Zhongyi 2480
7 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2463
8 Kulon Klaudia 2457
9 Stefanova Antoaneta 2452
10 Harika Dronavalli 2445
11 Dzagnidze Nana 2432
12 Ushenina Anna 2424
13 Abdumalik Zhansaya 2415
14 Galliamova Alisa 2415
15 Gaponenko Inna 2415
16 Arabidze Meri 2412
17 Saduakassova Dinara 2390
18 Cramling Pia 2383
19 Sargsyan Anna M. 2382
20 Paehtz Elisabeth 2380
21 Bodnaruk Anastasia 2375
22 Zatonskih Anna 2374
23 Krush Irina 2371
24 Gunina Valentina 2366
25 Buksa Nataliya 2356
26 Muzychuk Mariya 2344
27 Danielian Elina 2341
28 Girya Olga 2337
29 Guichard Pauline 2335
30 Pourkashiyan Atousa 2327
31 Heinemann Josefine 2325
32 Mamedjarova Zeinab 2325
33 Assaubayeva Bibisara 2323
34 Mammadzada Gunay 2314
35 Bulmaga Irina 2308

... 122 Players

Schedule (Open)

Because there are only 17 rounds in the women's tournament, there is no round at 15.30, 16.00 or 16.30 (UTC) on Saturday or 14.00 (UTC) on Sunday. Otherwise the schedule is the same for both tournaments.

Round Date Time (UTC)
1 Dec. 29 11.00
2   11.30
3   12.00
4   12.30
5   13.00
6   13.30
7   14.00
8   14.30
9   15.00
10   15.30 (Open only)
11   16.00 (Open only)
12   16.30 (Open only)
13 Dec. 30 10.00
14   10.30
15   11.00 
16   11.30
17   12.00 
18   12.30
19   13.00
20   13.30 
21   14.00 (Open only)


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Jacob woge Jacob woge 1/1/2020 10:57
“Jacob woge: How would you frame the rule for this situation?”

I would revert to the previous version of FIDE’s own rules, and add a clause that the lone minor piece may claim victory if he thinks he has one. The claim will be checked using a chess engine (fritz 5 should suffice). Ridiculous claim will get you a warning.

Remember, the “Zombie Pieces” rule is not very old. It is not used in on-line chess. It is also not used in the U.S.

I still need to see a practical example of the lone piece having been cheated out of a win by an intentional flag fall.

While the collateral damage done to games like the present one discussed come in any number.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 1/1/2020 03:30
As for the protest. I think both players have minor conduct issues during the game. Carlsen’s antics/outbursts when things go wrong may have the effect of putting his opponents off his guard. He is “letting off stream” (Leno), twice during this game but it’s not the only one. But sitting across you may tend to think, “well, that was it”. And it’s not. The point is not in the bag, the draw is not secured.

Unintended, I am sure, and definitely a treat for the spectators. But still.

Then again, it’s only blitz. Chess for fun.

As for Firouzja, his toppling of pieces are corrected in his own time. But still it is too much when it happens on every other move, and there is one moment where his pawns end up on e3 and e3.5 . With Carlsen on the move twice, until finally pushed e3.5-e5. No complaints from Black.

So you give and you take, and post-game complaints have the nature of a boomerang.

I see, somewhere, Firouzja compared to the young Fischer. Well, not in conduct. Fischer was impeccable towards his opponent.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 1/1/2020 03:13
By the way, the commentary of this event was brilliant. Just brilliant.
BKnight2003 BKnight2003 1/1/2020 02:46
@ James Satrapa, the rule should be:

- The player whose flag falls LOSES the game EXCEPT when the other player doesn't have enough material to mate AND there isn't MATE IN ONE over the board. On the occurrence of that exception, the game is DRAWN.

- If there is MATE IN ONE over the board when a flag falls, the player (either side) in this situation WINS the game.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 1/1/2020 02:29
“This is why the rule exists as it does. There is no way to be fair at all times.

White Kh8, Ne7, Pf7; black Kh8, Rg8, Ba2.

1.fg(Q)+ Bxg8 2.Ng6 mate. By what some people want, the game would be officially over after 1...Bxg8 despite mate on the next move.

It is just too difficult to legislate individual positions, some of which, we cannot yet even imagine, and apply a blanket rule. I would rather Firo lose that, than someone draw the position above.”

Yes, such positions do exist. Still, it has worked for a number of decades without what I suggest to call “Zombie pieces.” And still does, unless there have been recent rule changes, in the American USCF. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I still, along with Peter Leko, think it is silly, bordering on being counter-productive. This rule changes the outcome of a number of games to something often both players involved think is weird. The infamous Sočko-Foisor is one example. The present game, Firouzja-Carlson, is another.

These are real games. I would like to see a practical example, in which a mate as cited above (or similar) was possible, but the player about to get mated got away with a draw because his/her own time ran out. Did this ever happen?

I frankly don’t know (mean8ng I haven’t seen one) but what I do know is that results are changed all over the world because of this possibility. Until I see evidence to the contrary, I shall maintain that this is a case of the cure being worse that the disease.

The first, rather obvious, thing I think should be done away with, is the cases where voluntary under-promotion is required to willfully get yourself mated. When a world crown finalist gets baffled, something is off its rails.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 1/1/2020 02:04
“Jacob... you should listen to the interview with Dr. Marape of the FIDE Medical Commission. He explains this.”

I did. And I think he is barking up the wrong tree. Doping is just not a concern. Cheating thru collusion and the use of chess engines are. This is what gets people busted, as the recent Rausis incident has demonstrated, amongst a number others.

Chess is not like sport in this respect, and one would do well to acknowledge that.

“Keeping the sport clean”. Well, chess is not sport. It is a game. It does not need to be “clean”.

There is a reason why nobody objects to scan for electronic equipment before the game, while on the other hand a lot of players are annoyed/intimidated by having to get out their willie and pee in a cup after the game.

The first measure makes sense. The second one does not.
PhishMaster PhishMaster 1/1/2020 01:39
This is why the rule exists as it does. There is no way to be fair at all times.

White Kh8, Ne7, Pf7; black Kh8, Rg8, Ba2.

1.fg(Q)+ Bxg8 2.Ng6 mate. By what some people want, the game would be officially over after 1...Bxg8 despite mate on the next move.

It is just too difficult to legislate individual positions, some of which, we cannot yet even imagine, and apply a blanket rule. I would rather Firo lose that, than someone draw the position above.
chessdrummer chessdrummer 12/31/2019 11:22
Jacob... you should listen to the interview with Dr. Marape of the FIDE Medical Commission. He explains this.
James Satrapa James Satrapa 12/31/2019 11:19
Jacob woge: How would you frame the rule for this situation?
Jacob woge Jacob woge 12/31/2019 05:52
“I think that this rule is really dumb. Mate is theoretically possible with cooperation or helpmate.”

I think so, too. Fide has introduced the notion of Zombie Pieces : as soon as you flag, your entire own army turns hostile. The more men you have got, the worse. As long as your enemy has more than a lone king, he will win.

With some exceptions. With a lone queen, you do not lose. Add more pieces, and you do. With lone Rook vs. bishop, you do not lose. (With rook vs. knight, you do). Equally-coloured bishops, you do not lose.

And of course, any pawn vs. a minor piece loses. Since you could underpromote into a Knight, when there is always a mating position.

It is a stretch, and in any private setting this rule is down the garbage bin. We play like we used to, before fide got funny ideas.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 12/31/2019 05:03
In my opinion, doping control in chess is ridiculous. It has nothing to do with performance at the chess board. It has everything to do with trying to increase financial support, in a dream scenario thru an entry in the olympics proper. Which is not going to happen anyway.
Zdenek Adamek Zdenek Adamek 12/31/2019 11:46
In game Carlsen vs. Nakamura players missed mate in three after 26. Rxh7+ ... Is it possible?!?
lajosarpad lajosarpad 12/31/2019 10:20
Carlsen is excellent not only in the advertising of chess, but also in teaching Norwegian. Thanks to his great effort, from now on, we know the word Faen.

Alireza was behaving badly. After all he is a teenager, who was an inch from beating the best player in the universe and becoming blitz world champion himself. So, although his behaviour is unacceptable, it is understandable. He should apologize Carlsen for this though.
hurwitz hurwitz 12/31/2019 09:46
Was it a silly claim from Firouzja? Of course it was, but come on, he is only 16 years of age, give him a break. It would be good to show some empathy.

And about Magnus, such a classy champion, see his reflection about his game here:
Nordlandia Nordlandia 12/31/2019 08:43
I think that this rule is really dumb. Mate is theoretically possible with cooperation or helpmate. Like if that is ever going to happen 😂

I do think that FIDE should make exception for cases like this. The argument is that minor pieces can't mate on it's own, opposed to major pieces.

The rule is silly, no question about it.
Aighearach Aighearach 12/31/2019 05:10
There is no questioning his chess strength, but the beard is still pretty weak. Patchy. Must itch like crazy.

And the hair jell really makes the scraggly beard stand out. He should refrain from using any hair styling products if he's going to leave his beard so uneven.

If you look at the other Carlsen story with a picture of Jobava you can compare; his hair and beard are groomed in the same way, you can tell that they're supposed to fit on the same head.

It's nice he got the triple crown back, but I guess it came at the expense of his fashion sense.
Archnimzo Archnimzo 12/31/2019 05:01
Congrats to magnus, but Firouza disappointed with that
melante melante 12/31/2019 02:55
So the final position is a beautiful self-mate kind of problem!
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/31/2019 02:47
It is true that the final position is a draw, but a bit complex. Alizera did miss clear wins previously - but that's blitz.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/31/2019 02:34
Final position an easy draw? F has three pawns more or less connected, and quite advanced, and Magnus zero. And the pawns are quite advanced. F. could have won that game three times before being flagged. Which can explain some frustration. But he did lose on time in a position where it was possible for Black to mate (even if it required some team work with White) - that's the rule. That he did not remember the rule and asked the arbiter to show it to him, I can understand. That with such an overwhelming advantage, he did not see immediately the possible theorical mate by Black, that's OK.

What is not OK are the tantrums and most of all, pretending that Magnus talked in the last 2-4 seconds - which is untrue. Fortunately, the game was filmed (with sound) - otherwise, the reputation of Magnus could have been unfairly attained.

I watched the video attentively and, only about 2 minutes before the end (of real time, not time on clocks) did Magnus mumble 2 or 3 words in Norwegian when he blundered a pawn. Clearly, he was not talking to Alireza, but this was rather a spontaneous reaction of a player in big trouble who just blundered an important pawn and which could mean losing the game and compromise winning the match. You know, the kind of words that can come spontaneously of your mouth in such circumstances (I could make some guesses, even if I do not speak Norwegian) - that really is how it looked like. And it was not that loud, and he clearly was talking to himself or some third invisible entity.
Rambus Rambus 12/31/2019 02:30
Sad to watch Sagar Shah's video showing Firouzja's writing a ridiculous protest. Hopefully he learns from this & moves on. No doubt he's a super talent & potential world champ (probably all formats). Can see from the video he's hell bent on beating Carlsen, which is great to see, given a lot of Carlsen's other opponents play like they're lost from move 1.
Logos Logos 12/31/2019 02:26
Firouzja was well within his rights to file an appeal - there is nothing wrong with that. Magnus did say something loud during the game - not at the time Firouzja mentioned but earlier. No need to persecute anyone. Congratulations to them both.
Peter B Peter B 12/31/2019 02:13
That final position Firouzja - Carlsen position is an easy draw, even I could draw it. Firouzja should have recognised this, and offered a draw since he was well behind on time (roughly 18 seconds to 2 when he knocks his king over). Instead he pushed for a win and it backfired. That's how it goes sometimes: you push too hard for a win and instead you lose. As for Magnus, he got rewarded for playing so quickly and finding the right moves to get a drawn position.
Texxeva Texxeva 12/31/2019 12:08
Triple exclamations for the Magnus!!! Congrats!
Texxeva Texxeva 12/31/2019 12:02
In the Carlsen vs Nakamura game, 26. Rh7! should mate in three.
Jack Nayer Jack Nayer 12/30/2019 10:03
Remarkable. Kramnik did extremely well!
milog milog 12/30/2019 10:01
*correction - of course I meant to say:

“...losing on time in both a position with a possible mate (by ANY possible sequence of legal moves) on board and without, either getting ZERO or half a point.„
milog milog 12/30/2019 09:58
It‘s one of the most basic rules of tournament and blitz play...anyone who plays online blitz from time to time will have encountered the situation of losing on time in both a position with a possible mate (by ANY possible sequence of legal moves) on board and without, either getting a full or half a point. And for sure one will have seen it from the other side as well, either gaining half a point or one point with a bare king. Don‘t tell me a young GM never plays online blitz...
And any regular tournament player should also know: if your opponent misbehaves, stop the clock and call the arbiter. Any appeal after playing on and losing the game will be rejected.
johorsky johorsky 12/30/2019 09:36
Besides, it is not necessary to promote a pawn to be checkmated. With opposite bishops checkmate is always possible.
johorsky johorsky 12/30/2019 09:34
It’s surprising that players don’t know this basic blitz rule. And in no other game I know is a player allowed to behave like that.
Green22 Green22 12/30/2019 09:01
How ridiculous this is. Ok Black can CM the White King if White promotes to a Knight?? lol okayyy i'm sure that will never happen he'll promote to a Queen and mate Carlsen! and Carlsen didn't utter a single work when Firouzja has 1 or 2 seconds left on his clock. I watched the video 10 times at that point.
PurpDriv2 PurpDriv2 12/30/2019 08:13
Congrats to Magnus.
Sad behavior from Firouzja ...