Speedchess Championship: Carlsen vs Caruana 22:4

by André Schulz
12/14/2022 – The result of the eagerly awaited rematch of the 2018 World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana in the quarterfinals of the chess.com Speedchess Championship was one-sided. Caruana didn't take his chances, Carlsen took them all and demonstrated world championship level chess in 5+1 blitz, in 3+1 blitz and in bullet. He even managed to satisfy his harshest critic. | Graphics: Chess.com

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For Magnus Carlsen it is the third Chess.com Speedchess Championship. The World Champion won the first edition in 2017 but then was beaten by Hikaru Nakamura, who has won all the other tournaments in the series after 2018. In the sixth edition of the series, the Norwegian seems determined to win the title again.

The final stage of the Speedchess Championship is a knockout tournament with 16 players. In each match the players play 5+1 blitz for 90 minutes, 3+1 blitz for 60 minutes and 1+1 bullet for 30 minutes. Depending on the length of the games, the number of games in each match can of course vary. The format also invites particular match strategies, for example, a player, who is in the lead can drag out lost or clearly drawn games as long as possible to reduce the overall number of games.

Tuesday saw the quarter-final match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, a rematch of their World Championship match in 2018 - under different circumstances and playing conditions, of course.

Since 2018 things have also changed in the rankings. While Carlsen is still the world's number one by a considerable margin, Caruana is no longer the world's number two. At the beginning of the 2018 match, Caruana was very close to Carlsen on the world's ranking list and with a win in the match he would have been new World Champion and the new world's number one. But that did not happen. Four years later, in classical chess Caruana is the world's number six and almost 100 Elo points behind Carlsen.

But if you look at the current blitz ranking, Caruana is in third place with a rating of 2847, behind Nakamura and Firouzja but ahead of Carlsen (2830). However, only games played over-the-board are taken into account here as the large number of online games are not rated by FIDE.

The match between Carlsen and Caruana was eagerly awaited, but took place more or less at the same time as the semi-final match of the World Cup between Argentina and Croatia.

But real chess fans had their preferences:

The match turned into a disaster for Fabiano Caruana. Carlsen won the 5+1 blitz 6:2, the 3+1 blitz 7:1 and the 1+1 blitz 9:1, which led to a final score of 22:4 for Carlsen. Moreover, Caruana did not manage to win a single game.

In individual games Caruana was not without chances but whenever Caruana had winning chances Carlsen managed to defend or to turn the tables around. Carlsen made almost no tactical mistakes, showed excellent time management, took all his chances and played very fast and very well when he had only seconds on the clock.

The seventh 5+1 blitz game is an impressive demonstration of Carlsen's strength in blitz.



Master Class Vol.8 - Magnus Carlsen 2nd Edition

Let our authors show you how Carlsen tailored his openings to be able to outplay his opponents strategically in the middlegame or to obtain an enduring advantage into the endgame.

The Norwegian has often destroyed his opponents in online chess, but was often not satisfied with his play, a phenomenon that Anish Giri commented on Twitter:


But what did Carlsen say? "There was one game that I was actually very happy with, which was the Petroff where I got knights against bishop as well as queen and rook, very symmetrical position. I think I played that game very well. Normally, I'm not happy with games, but that's one that I was really satisfied with"

After all! For once Carlsen was able to satisfy his harshest critic.

Live commentary of the match - with Peter Leko, Nils Grandelius and Laurent Fressinet

All games of the Speed Chess Championship



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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.