Sergey Karjakin is World Blitz Champion 2016

by Johannes Fischer
12/30/2016 – Sergey Karjakin is new World Champion in Blitz. After narrowly missing to beat Magnus Carlsen at their World Championship match in New York, Karjakin got the better of Carlsen at the World Blitz Championship in Doha, Qatar. Though it was close. Very close...

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Photos: Maria Emelianova (Tournament page)

Sergey Karjakin

Carlsen and Karjakin had been dominating the blitz tournament from the very start. After day 1 they shared the lead with 10.0/12 and they continued to lead throughout day 2. However, before the last round Carlsen was leading with 16.0/20 while Karjakin was half a point behind. But in the last round Carlsen had to play the infamously solid Peter Leko with Black while Karjakin had White against Baadur Jobava.

Magnus Carlsen

After failing to create any serious winning chances against Leko, Carlsen finally settled for a perpetual and a draw and Karjakin did not miss to grab this opportunity. He won against Jobava and once again the tie-break - the Elo-average of the opponents - had to decide. Karjakin's opponents had the better average and this helped Karjakin to finish 2016 as World Champion.

A happy Sergey Karjakin at the end of the tournament

Carlsen won silver and Daniil Dubov won bronze. With 14.5/21 he shared places three to five with Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Grischuk and had the best tie-break.

Final standings after 21 rounds

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2 
1 8
GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2800 16,5 2740 259,0
2 1
GM Carlsen Magnus NOR 2873 16,5 2735 258,0
3 21
GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2724 14,5 2733 259,0
4 3
GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2842 14,5 2720 256,5
5 12
GM Grischuk Alexander RUS 2761 14,5 2718 253,0
6 6
GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2823 14,0 2708 252,5
7 10
GM Dominguez Perez Leinier CUB 2783 13,0 2725 253,5
8 34
GM Korobov Anton UKR 2666 13,0 2708 246,0
9 16
GM Ivanchuk Vassily UKR 2754 13,0 2697 254,5
10 15
GM Anand Viswanathan IND 2754 13,0 2695 249,0
11 26
GM Leko Peter HUN 2697 13,0 2678 238,5
12 5
GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2830 13,0 2677 245,0
13 44
GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2636 12,5 2767 261,0
14 45
GM Wei Yi CHN 2636 12,5 2722 237,5
15 17
GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2752 12,5 2700 250,5
16 24
GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2712 12,5 2688 249,5
17 29
GM Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2678 12,5 2663 233,0
18 19
GM Onischuk Vladimir UKR 2740 12,5 2634 228,5
19 35
GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2666 12,0 2712 248,5
20 55
GM Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2613 12,0 2706 238,5

...107 players


Games - Rounds 1-19


The Women's Tournament

After dominating the rapid tournament from beginning to end Anna Muzychuk won her second World Championship title in five days through a strong finish. After day 1 of the blitz tournament she had 6.5/9 but on day 2 she just crushed the opposition. She began the day with three draws but then won the last five rounds. In the end she had 13.0/17, won the tournament and became Women's World Blitz Champion 2016.

Anna Muzychuk won the World Rapid Championships and the World Blitz Championships

Half a point behind Anna Muzychuk followed Valentina Gunina and Kateryna Lagno with 12.5/17 each. As Gunina had the better tie-break she won silver and Lagno bronze.

Final standings after 17 rounds

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2 
1 1
GM Muzychuk Anna UKR 2645 13,0 2486 159,5
2 3
GM Gunina Valentina RUS 2605 12,5 2482 158,0
3 2
GM Lagno Kateryna RUS 2641 12,5 2464 156,0
4 6
WGM Tan Zhongyi CHN 2552 11,0 2473 161,0
5 10
GM Harika Dronavalli IND 2501 10,5 2499 160,0
6 20
IM Charochkina Daria RUS 2375 10,5 2470 156,5
7 12
GM Kosteniuk Alexandra RUS 2500 10,0 2484 157,5
8 27
IM Kashlinskaya Alina RUS 2286 9,5 2494 162,5
9 5
GM Ju Wenjun CHN 2571 9,5 2483 163,0
10 9
GM Koneru Humpy IND 2502 9,5 2464 159,0
11 18
IM Javakhishvili Lela GEO 2380 9,5 2440 151,0
12 15
IM Gaponenko Inna UKR 2414 9,5 2391 142,5
13 23
WGM Abdumalik Zhansaya KAZ 2361 9,5 2377 135,5
14 16
GM Zhukova Natalia UKR 2394 9,5 2350 129,5
15 17
IM Pham Le Thao Nguyen VIE 2382 9,5 2322 119,5
16 4
GM Stefanova Antoaneta BUL 2582 9,0 2468 149,0
17 8
GM Zhao Xue CHN 2526 9,0 2451 156,5
18 24
IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat IRI 2335 9,0 2422 138,5
19 26
WGM Saduakassova Dinara KAZ 2299 9,0 2407 137,5
20 7
IM Paehtz Elisabeth GER 2528 9,0 2395 142,0

... 34 players




Tournament page...

Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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BeachBum2 BeachBum2 1/3/2017 03:17
@ Petrarlsen: I generally like what you wrote in your comment from 12/29, but I'm not sure how practical those mini matches could be... If they want to have blitz championship within 2 or 3 days, it is only 20-30 games. If we want mini-matches even of 4 games, it means you can only have 5 to 8 participants... This is IMHO not enough. While it looks like people beyond top ~20 have little chance to win it, I would allow more then 5-8 people in blitz (at least top 20, plus maybe a few "special guests").

I wonder if the main reason for the world championship to be so short is to save money on organization (hotels, venue etc)?
ChessTalk ChessTalk 1/1/2017 07:20
I'm from the US and during the 2008 elections, there was a little issue about Barack Obama referring to the country, Ukraine, as The Ukraine which evidently put the nation in a context as region of some larger union ;) So during the Blitz and Rapids ceremonies, I noticed on one instant that the players were announced as coming from "The Ukraine" instead of coming from Ukraine. Was this not a bad mistake for FIDE to make? Is it just PCism? What did the players think of being announced as from "The Ukraine"?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/1/2017 04:55
@ BeachBum2 : I quite agree that the present system isn't really satisfying.

Under the last article about the Rapid World Championship, I proposed ( ; post : "12/29/2016 09:22") a completely new (and ambitious - perhaps too ambitious for the "chess public" tastes !) system that could also (with very minor adaptations) perfectly well be used for the Blitz World Championship. I would be quite interested to know what you would think of it ?
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 1/1/2017 03:45
It is normal to be favoured in tiebreaks if the average rating of the players against who you won is higher. But losing against Magnus Carlsen should not give an advantage to anyone. Even I am good enough to lose against Carlsen.
BeachBum2 BeachBum2 1/1/2017 01:29
Instead of having 100+ players and forcing top players to compete in who can get close to 100% wins from opponents rated 200+ below them... What if we have only 21 or so players in world championship, selected using current top ELO (and maybe a few as main tournament winners)? Everybody could play with everybody and it would be more fair? Based on results, almost nobody outside top20 ELO has a chance for top 5 anyway.

Also... the blitz increment is IMHO too small. It is barely time to move a piece and press the clock. I love blitz, but watching top players with hands flying all over and allowing blunders they would not allow if they just had another 2 seconds per move... it is fun, but it is indeed almost like watching StarCraft.

Minor thing: the delays on "blue board" in online translation are annoying. With modern tech, they can not track positions of pieces within a second? I understand that they might be trying to "wait" to make sure player actually done with the move, but IMHO it is better to let it show instantly, and change the electronic board if player did not release the piece and moved it again.
mythiclott mythiclott 1/1/2017 12:56
Look...carlsen tied for first in both events...but "lost" on Tiebreaks. Pretty good result...but his rating sort of screwed him out of both in TB"S. Thems the breaks. Too bad. Congrats to all! If Carlsen wants to win everything he's gotta prove why that high rating is there. No excuses.
BerlinExpert BerlinExpert 1/1/2017 12:22
@Riddler Morozevich competed in the Blitz and not the Rapid. He scored 11.5 in the Blitz:
For the Open Blitz section, ChessBase only lists players with a score of 12 and higher.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 12/31/2016 05:07
"- In the classic, slow WCC competition, a tie is determined with quick play.
- In the rapid and blitz competition, a tie is NOT determined with quick play... "

One reason could be that you would have to lay down rules for an n-way tie. Still, that is manageable.
Darkergreen1327 Darkergreen1327 12/31/2016 04:54
Who tops the rapid/blitz/classical rating list? Well...

Great job by Karjakin though - especially after his terrible performance in the rapid event.
ARK_ANGEL ARK_ANGEL 12/31/2016 03:29
Congratulation Karajakin for his brilliant victory. And Carlsen for his brilliant al round performance. Those who whining in favor for Carlsen regarding TB just want to remind Karajakin did beat Carlsen in the process. And Carlsen never won the Classical world championship out right.
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 12/31/2016 03:06
I'm sure I'm not the first one to point out the irony.

- In the classic, slow WCC competition, a tie is determined with quick play.
- In the rapid and blitz competition, a tie is NOT determined with quick play...

As Al Pacino would yell, "SOMETHING'S GOIN' ON HERE!!!"

Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/31/2016 02:26
"What happened to Morozevich?" Riddler.

He finished 30th with 11,5 points. He does not appear on the list of this article which stops at the 20th ranked player (who had 12 points).
Riddler Riddler 12/31/2016 10:28
What happened to Morozevich? I can't seem to find him on the player list, let alone the final standings. Yet he obviously took part.
VassHamChess VassHamChess 12/31/2016 10:15
Congrats to Karjakin, a diserved winner. The TB is indeed skewed, but I think with any other form of TB Kajakin would still be the winner and he DID beat Carlsen, so ... These two crushed the field, and Karjakin proved (again) that it wasn't a fluke he managed to qualify for the WCC match against Carlsen, he is a brilliant player.

A little sad for Magnus who tied twice for the first place, but he had a shaky event in the rapid, while in the blitz, any other year such a performance as the one him (and Karjakin) had would net the title, and quite handily I think. Thrilling event, it was fun to follow.
BerlinExpert BerlinExpert 12/31/2016 09:54
As far as I could tell, the Rapid and Blitz tournaments were open to any qualified player who wanted to sign up. By qualified player in these tournaments, I think it means a Grandmaster or a winner of a national title. ( Logically speaking, people who signed up for the tournament agreed to the rules in which winners would be decided. So all in all, now matter how zany the tiebreak rules one may think they would be, all the people who entered in the tournament agreed to abide by those rules.

That being said, I don't feel that there is anything wrong with the tiebreak rules. Since Carlsen was the top-seeded player at the start of the blitz tournament, he was expected to win the event. Let's extend the analogy a bit. Say Player A has a pre-tournament rating of 3500. Player A should be expected to win the blitz tournament 100 times out of a 100. Say Player B ties with Player A in the final standings. Earlier in the tournament, Player B lost to Player A. Player B's average rating of opponents is higher than Player A's average rating of opponents. Player B definitely is the deserved winner since he overcame the inevitability of Player A winning the tournament.

Now let's lower the rating of Player A a bit from 3500 to around 2900 and go through the above example again. Player B who ties with Player A still has overcome the high likelihood of Player A winning the tournament. Therefore Player B is the deserved winner in the tiebreaks.
KingZor KingZor 12/31/2016 08:09
The Elo tiebreak system amounts to a player being penalized for being strong. Carlsen should never consent to it again. Why not decide it over the board? It's blitz, after all! How long could it take?
jhoravi jhoravi 12/31/2016 07:44
Carlsen has the most consistent result in both Rapid and Blitz proving that he is the best in the field.
Aighearach Aighearach 12/31/2016 07:26
Playoffs would be better. And certainly it is... odd for Carlsen to have finished with the most points in both rapid and blitz and to have had no chance at either title.
Damien Sandow Damien Sandow 12/31/2016 07:15
Sergey Karjakin took his revenge over Carlsen
Pieces in Motion Pieces in Motion 12/31/2016 05:28
Nice compensation for Karjakin. Good and fun tournament and I look forward to the next ones.

Happy New Year to all. 😊
scoobeedo scoobeedo 12/31/2016 04:33
Bill Alg:

I do not care about Carlsen.

I care about chess!

I ask you, Mr. Ilyumzhinov, again to step down.
You are not the right person for this job.

You are sabotaging the chess sport.

Please leave!

You can believe me that I speak for the most chess players.
Nearly nobody want you as president of the FIDE.

Rama Rama 12/31/2016 01:44
Was Karjakin's strategy in the classical World Championship to survive until the blitz playoff and then surprise Carlsen? That would have been shocking!
kf2wins kf2wins 12/31/2016 01:11
wow this is big news, sergey has definately shown his true form and has recovered his loses agains magnus in the classical tournament.
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 12/31/2016 12:34
Congrats to both: Karjakin and Carlsen. Fortunately for them, Caruana and SO did not participate. It would have been more exciting. Carlsen proved all the way, he is on the top rapid, blitz. Karjakin , on the other hand, proves he has a glft He is good at blitz. Congrats champion. Nakamura made up with fine performance in the blitz. Not all the time on the top. The rest GMs are proving themselves up and equal to give very good fight to whoever is the opponent, makes no difference if you are world champion orc not. CONGRATS TO ALL
wengardz wengardz 12/30/2016 11:14
Better reset the Blitz rating to zero before the tournament starts. And let's see who's gonna win based entirely on points accumulated. However, participation should be done by qualification thru rating.
calvinamari calvinamari 12/30/2016 10:53
The missteps of the masterminds at FIDE are far too numerous to rehearse but, even given low expectations, it is a complete and enduring marvel how even in a blitz event they figured that it was not worth investing a mere extra 20 minutes to stage a playoff. Apart from avoiding the inevitable vagaries of formulaic tiebreaks, eliminating a playoff undercuts making chess more spectator friendly. A short mini-match playoff would have been the perfect culmination for this large and complex event. Yet another lost opportunity, and a colossal one at that.
yesenadam yesenadam 12/30/2016 10:52
Congrats Karjakin!

Wouldn't it seem to Salem, for example, that Nepo scored 1/2 a point more than him due to the average rating of Nepo's opponents being 100 lower? And that Salem's result is actually more impressive? Or to Stefanova (ave opp 2468) that the higher-scoring Pham (ave opponent 2322) got it easy? Well, I don't know how this system works exactly - I guess these seeming irregularities always happen.

scoobeedo: I agree, although I found your prostitution metaphor spectacularly tasteless and inappropriate. I'm sure you don't mean any disrespect to Hou, but it sure didn't come out that way. (What sort of 'hooker' would it have been ok to treat her as? An expensive one? Or do you mean.. It feels too sleazy even thinking that much about it.)
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 12/30/2016 10:39
I suggest using the Electoral College system next time...
Jacob woge Jacob woge 12/30/2016 10:35
Karjakin is the deserved winner, due to his winning the encounter with Carlsen. This pretty much ensures he would win any tie-break based on this tournament's results alone.

Which is what we should have. This year's Christmas, not Christmas Past.

Rating as tie-break is crap, in my opinion. The top seed pretty much has to win it outright. Better drop some rating points well in advance of the event, say, right after taking the title. Just a hundred or so. As preparation for the next event, to improve your tie-break.

Blitz rating, of course. Which, as opposed to blitz tournaments, is a rather new invention, and one we can do without.
donwaffel donwaffel 12/30/2016 09:29
Karjakin is so so.............
.. will never be WC lucky TB
vincero vincero 12/30/2016 09:20
people making comments here should actually LOOK at the ratings before falsely claiming WAY above others.
he is NOT!
Bill Alg Bill Alg 12/30/2016 08:56
So... which tie-break would all of you Carlsen fans choose, if you had the authority? Even now that the tournament has ended, you would be hard-pressed to find one that makes Carlsen the winner. Karjakin even won their head-to-head encounter *with Black*. I guess you would pick bigger number of victories (=bigger number of losses), that is just about the only one.
pororo pororo 12/30/2016 08:03
If I'm not mistaken, even if you remove Magnus from Karjakin's opponents and Karjakin from Magnus' opponents, Karjakin still ends up with the better tiebreak. Also, Karjakin is better on the next two tiebreak systems, including the head to head.

calvinamari calvinamari 12/30/2016 07:59
really? They could not manage a playoff even in a blitz event? I guess Magnus is punished for dodging all those participants who were higher rated that he was!
scoobeedo scoobeedo 12/30/2016 07:59
Just to be clear ...

I did not write the comment before because I support Carlsen.

I did it because I support chess. I do not care that Carlsen was the double loser.

I feel a little sad for him, but I like Ivantschuk and Karjakin a lot.

But this is not a question of sympathy. it is a question of fairness.

What the FIDE here did would be the same if world cup final is 1:1 and they dont make a penalty shooting. But they say that they accumulated all km which was run and the team with more km win the cup.

scoobeedo scoobeedo 12/30/2016 07:48
I suggest that they move the next WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Rapid and Blitz to Las Vegas and play them in a casino.

Even more time saving is to use dices and cut the annoying chess game out.

That the people who are controlling the FIDE are not the biggest chess fans is since a while clearly to see.


How can you dare to let a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP be decided on secondary calculations and not on points.

There MUST be of course a play off.

Fide, please tell me why you sabotage since a while our sport?

It is in my opinion a disgrace for the sport chess what you do. Chess a la casino style.

Shame on you, FIDE.

- - -

First you treated Houfan like cheap hooker. She went away from your lousy organization. After it you organized a short match of 12 games in New York.

The 12 games brought the players under a lot of pressure and the quality went down. Shame on you, FIDE.

Now you organized two world championships and on the end did the player with the same points as the winner not have the right to have a chance to fight for the title.

Maybe it is time to check your mental state, Mr. president!

I feel ashamed to be a chess player and in your organization.
ChessTalk ChessTalk 12/30/2016 07:46
Karjakin was right about Magnus in that interview with Samokhvalov:

"Yes, he behaves as if he wants to win in all sports that he plays, in football, cards or whatever. When he loses he gets mad. In my view I’ve got a preferable form of that killer instinct, because I try to win where it’s important, while he does regardless of whether it’s important or not.

Mind games!
turok turok 12/30/2016 07:17
I find it very funny that the classical chess tiebreaks rely on rapid and or blitz yet the blitz just ends on ELO hahahaha. However, IMO just as in most other sports head to head should matter and Karj did beat him so I am ok with the outcome regardless of elo etc.
Logos Logos 12/30/2016 07:15
I agree with VVI. Arguments claiming discrimination against Carlsen because of his high rating are contradictory. Carlsen's rating is high due to his past wins. If he is to justify his rating, then he should continue to win and not need favourable tiebreaks. If he does not (and lose to Karjakin in the process), then we have a new champion.
ff2017 ff2017 12/30/2016 07:04
So what, Carlsen also LOST to Karjakin. Ending result is quite fair.

Too bad we won't likely ever get that Anna Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan match.