November 19, 2009 2:34

Carlsen wins World Blitz Championship

Blitz World Ch 09 - day 3Magnus Carlsen has won the World Blitz Championship in Moscow. The Norwegian scored 10/14 on the third day and eventually finished three points ahead of Viswanathan Anand, who scored 'only' 8/14, just like yesterday, but still finished 2nd in the standings, 3 points ahead of Sergei Karjakin. Vugar Gashimov apparently had enough of his bad play and decided to 'win' on the last day: 10.5/14.

The World Blitz Championship, the second stage of this year's Tal Memorial, took place 16, 17 and 18 November in the Main Department Store GUM on Red Square, Moscow. The time control was 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move. The 22-player, double round-robin had 42 rounds which were devided over three days.

The participants were: Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Boris Gelfand, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Morozevich, Peter Svidler and Ruslan Ponomariov (the players of the Tal Memorial round-robin); invited players Anatoli Karpov, Alexandra Kosteniuk, reigning Blitz World Champion Leinier Dominguez, former Blitz World Champion Alexander Grischuk, Dmitry Jakovenko and Judit Polgar and five of the six winners of the qualifying blitz “Aeroflot Open”: Sergey Karjakin, Vugar Gashimov, Shakhryiar Mamedyarov, Evgeny Bareev and Vladislav Tkachiev. The sixth winner, Zhou Jianchao, was replaced by Arkadij Naiditsch.

Day 3

The third and decisive day began with a small shock: Carlsen lost to Ponomariov, and because Anand beat Svidler, he had already caught up with the Norwegian. However, already one round later the tables turned in the top seed's favour again, because Ponomariov duly beat Anand as well. After the Indian dropped another half point against Grischuk in round 31, Carlsen increased his lead to 1.5 points.

In rounds 30 till 40 Carlsen was a steamroller, drawing three times and beating Karpov, Grischuk, Mamedyarov, Tkachiev, Naiditsch, Aronian and both of his closest rivals Karjakin and Anand. In round 40 Anand lost to Polgar and this meant that two rounds before the end Carlsen had already won the event, having collected 30.5 points against Anand's 27. Only then, with the first prize already secured and perhaps losing the flow a little, Carlsen lost again, versus Jakovenko.

Vugar Gashimov today showed that when he really tries, he can be one over the very best as well. In fact over the last 14 rounds he was the best, finishing on a superb 10.5/14. Scoring 9/14, Leko also had a good third day. (When describing these subtournaments over 14 rounds, it's important to realize that the players don't have exactly the same opponents over those rounds, but we won't take up the hazardous task to start comparing opponents on the separate days.)

With a score of 31/42 and a 2894 performance rating Carlsen eventually finished three full points ahead of Anand, who got 28/42 and a 2835 performance. Sergei Karjakin managed to stay ahead of Vladimir Kramnik by half a point. Former World Champ Alexander Grischuk ended shared 5th with Peter Svidler and Ruslan Ponomariov.

Vassily Ivanchuk, who won in Moscow last year, disappointed this time with only 19.5/42, half a point more than Anatoli Karpov, who eventually scored a 2690 performance. After her great form of yesterday, Alexandra Kosteniuk completely collapsed today and collected only 1.5 points out of her last 14 rounds. The reigning Women World Champion finished last in this World Blitz.

After almost two weeks of fantastic chess in Moscow, we finally have to say goodbye to the Tal Memorial, where except for Veselin Topalov, the whole top 10 gathered. We will miss the daily dosis of elite chess, but we won't have to wait too long. Already next Saturday the first round of the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk is played! Many of the players currently in Moscow will take a plane to Sibera - see the first-round pairings.

World Blitz 2009 | Round 42 (Final) Standings

World Blitz 2009

World Blitz 2009 | Round 42 (Final) Standings (Crosstable)

World Blitz 2009

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Selection of games day 3

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


nick burrows's picture

Where was Nakamura :O(

L's picture

I wonder what has happened to Aronian...
He doesn't seem to be in form any more. He at least should have ended somewhere in the top 5. Hope to see him back in shape.

Martin Lindgren's picture

I wonder why Karpov has declined so much in strength the last couple of years. He did a good tournament in Moscow, but in the matches against Kasparov and Anand he didnt seem to be much of a competition. Even Kasparov said that he (Karpov) was just "...shadow of his old self...". Why is that? Is it because he is getting older, or has the average level of strength increased so much since the use of computers? Mabye its because he focus more on politics (like Kasparov) these days? Still he was a force to reccon with for over 20 years.

IM Merijn van Delft's picture

I was quite impressed by Carlsen's endgame play!

CAL|Daniel's picture

Congrats to Carlsen. Thanks to Chessvibes for covering the event. The only strange thing is Ivanchuk's finish... Kosteinuk finished as expected in last but this is no insult as she did face quite a fierce set of competition!

PP's picture

Carlsen is amazing... He scored 2 points against the numbers 2 to 5 in the final standings. His losses are against player further down. Is it a matter of concentration?

Mort's picture

Looked like carlsen was more focused on winning games then the closest competition. Rather loosing a game, then drawing. And in the end that tactic paid of.

Labelled's picture

World Blitz Champion 2009 at the age of 18. World Champion 20..?? at the age of ..? Any serious predictions anyone???

Several of the players admitted today that there was not much to do about Carlsen at present. An obvious prediction is that the world elite will have to get used to seeing the back of him in future years and competitions, but will it be to much to ask that he will be as dominant as Kasparov was at his best??? One can wonder how much harder the task is concidering the level of competition today compared to the Kasparov era.......


One has to ask the question wether Carlsens number of wins, 28, compared to Anands 20 in second, was a choise of tactics or an impressive demonstration of superior chess ability. Three days of exhausting gaming and not score less than 10 in one of them is really impressive and speaks for itself concidering he ended up with the title.

Strongest world blitz lineup ever?? I do believe so........ Fantastic tournament to watch for chess fans!!

Garnoth's picture

Don't forget this is blitz. I know Carlsen is a formidable player, but in classical chess I don't see him as far superior to the likes of Anand, Kramnik, Topalov etc. yet. He is definetly in their league, but he has not clearly won a tournament while facing this strong an opposition.

Of course his tournament victory in China was fantastic, but both Anand and Kramnik weren't there. He might very well become world champion some day, but some people already (commentators @ chessbase included, they even call him future world champion, which just rubs me the wrong way) accept him as the world champion.

I wouldn't mind Carlsen as world champion, he has a great style and plays interesting chess. But he's no there yet.

gg's picture

"I don’t see him as far superior to the likes of Anand, Kramnik, Topalov"

He's still 18 years old, it's much to ask of him to already be far superior to the three strongest post-Kasparov players. To win Nanjing with a 3000+ performance is good enough, followed by 0.5 from winning also Tal Memorial a few weeks later and then crushing all opposition in the strongest blitz tournament ever played (going 2-0 against Anand, Karjakin, Kramnik and Grischuk in 2-5th place).

Zieg's picture

The fact that Kramnik is in the top of the blitz final list testifies clearly about his renewed strong state in chess. I think many are counting off one of the most important players in history; maybe Kramnik would be the next champion, not Carlsen, yet.

Martin Lindgren's picture

In my mind there is no doubt that Carlsen is an obvious candidate for being world champ. I only hope he goes all the way. He seem to tackle the preassure of sucess in a balanced manner. He also seem to have a good team backing him up. Could anyone tell me why Polgar and Kosteniuk came on the bottom of the table. I mean, they are the best women in the world. Are the difference that big between men and women?

sabretruth's picture

Yes, men have a visuo-spatial/logical/linear thinking advantage over women however this advantage may not be that large. Men have higher IQs on average by about 5 points but that is fairly inconsequential. The important characteristic is the relative distributions, men's IQs are more spread across the spectrum whereas women's are more grouped around the middle. This makes evolutionary sense, the bigger the difference between men's abilities the more easy it is for women to select the fittest mates, also the best of a diverse group of men is going to be much more intelligent than the best selected of a group of average men. Thus humanity's intellectual evolution advances more rapidly. Thus there are more stupid men than women but many more genius level men than women.

So the small and speculative advantage men have with visuo-spatial and linear thinking combined with the higher amount of genius level men and the greater numbers of men playing means that women don't really have a chance unless one gets an anomalous statistical spike like Judit who made the top 8 at one point.
As more women play chess we'll see more women challenging the top men but not nearly enough to seriously challenge them for the world title.

Pablo's picture

Correction: Polgar and Kosteniuk are not the best women players in the world. There is also Humpy and Yifan; and, for the moment, you can see the difference in the elo medition's. Probably, in the future there won't be such a big difference.

And by the way, Carlsen is maybe not the best player in the world. But he is 18, he is very intelligent in the way he plays, he has great people behind his back; and taking consideration about potencial: yes, Carlsen has the greatest potencial; no doubt. Is just a matter of time. I mean, is obvious: is just a matter of time and Carlsen will be the indisputed best player in the world.

Thomas's picture

Kosteniuk is world champion, but currently just #11 by rating. Judit Polgar is still by far the highest-rated woman (she never participated in women's world championships), but hasn't played much recently. And in the Tal Memorial blitz, only two lower-rated men finished ahead of her: Bareev and Karpov (both relying on their experience?).

sulotas's picture

Correction: "separate", not seperate...

Chamsky's picture

I really appreciate Magnus Carlsen for being a blitz champion for the world title Mabuhay ka(Congrattulation!!) Carlsen form Philippines. Your the next world chess Champion in world history.......

randy mercado's picture

gentlemen and fellow chess afficionados:

No doubt GM Magnus Carlsen is potential World Champion. And no 18 year old Grandmaster had ever achieved the feat of having crossed the 2800 barrier, not even GM Garry Kasparov. Thus, for the record he is the fifth player, and the youngest so far who had ever reached that ELO Rating. On the other hand, to become a World Chess Champion, apart from being a well-rounded and a talented player, one must be destined to be such. Lastly, if my memory serves me right, GM Kasparov was so dominant within a certain period of time up to the time he reached the 2851 ELO Rating, the highest so far in the history of chess. However, thereafter up to Linares, 2005, the gap between GM Kasparov, GM Anand, GM Kramnik, GM Topalov, GM Ivanchuk, GM Leko, and other elite Grandmaster (2700s) had gradually narrowed down to the minimum until GM Kasparov reached the 2812 ELO Rating at the time of his retirement from competitive chess. Therefore, this proves that one can become a World Chess Champion even if he is not so over and above the other elite Grandmasters at a certain of point of time because to become such not only chess talent is to be counted but other factors as well especially if it is a match play. It reminds me of the article written by GM Yusupov that in a World Chess Championship Match, the protagonists are to be judged by the following factors, among others, in any order: 1) Opening Preparation 2) Calculation of Variations 3) Tactics 4) Positional Play 5) Endgame Analysis 6) Attack 7) Defense and 8) Strategy.

Thank you very much.

jazzkoo's picture

a very strong field... what 9 of the top ten. But why is Topolov not there? Not invited? Whats the scoop there? If not invited, why? I could guess but I'd rather just know the facts.. :-)

gg's picture

I think there's too much talk about the (non-blitz) World Championship... Carlsen could decide to quit chess tomorrow, it doesn't make any of his results this far less impressive. And with the knockout FIDE use for qualification it doesn't help if you are even more superior than Kasparov was, there's still no guarantee that you will ever reach a title match. In minimatches there are usually lots of upsets, as the FIDE title wins of especially Khalifman and Kasimdzhanov showed. Korchnoi was leading against Kasparov after four games in 1983, Petrosian was even with Fischer in 1971. Regardless what happens in the future Carlsen's results as a teenager have been extremely impressive. From the shared first in Corus 2008, ahead of Anand, Kramnik and Topalov, to the 3000+ performance in Nanjing against a field of more or less the same level as the one in the Tal Memorial (2763 vs 2764), and the world blitz title after scoring 8-0 against 2nd-5th, including Anand and Kramnik. And the scary thing is that he will still be a teenager a year from now...

Michael's picture

Carlsen, Schmarlsen - even I could see the mate in two moves that he missed against Leko :-)

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