Reports | November 28, 2009 5:56

Carlsen & Nakamura in BNbank Blitz

BNBank Blitz 2009Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura are the top favourites to win tomorrow's BNbank Blitz 2009, a one-day blitz tournament in Oslo, Norway.

A strong field of players will participate in the BNbank Blitz 2009 which takes place in Oslo on Saturday, November 28. Among the ten invited players is the 18-year-old Norwegian chess wonder Magnus Carlsen, who recently won the World Blitz Championship. The other contenders include Hikaru Nakamura, the 2009 US champion considered one of the strongest blitz players on the internet, Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark, the second strongest chess player in the Nordic region, Jon Ludvig Hammer who is ranked as the second strongest player in Norway and two of the strongest female chess players in the world Victoria Cmilyte, Lithuania and Monika Socko, Poland, who recently won the strongest chess tournament ever played in Northern-Norway.

In the preliminary rounds the players are divided into 4 double round-robin groups. Two players from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals. The time control is 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move.

Preliminary groups: 11.00 - 12.15 CET
Quarter-Finals: 12.30 - 13.30 CET
Side tournament for places: 9-16 12.30 - 14.00 CET
Semi-Finals: 14.15 - 15.15 CET
Final and Bronze final: 15.30 - 16.30 CET
Prize giving ceremony: 16.45 CET

Six blitz tournaments took place on October 31st in Norway in the cities of Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Tromso, Trondheim and Porsgrunn. The winner from each city earned a spot in the final in Oslo, tomorrow, where he or she will compete against ten invited world class players for a prize fund of 74 000 NOK (app. 8700 Euros).

The participants tomorrow are:
1. GM Magnus Carlsen (2802, NOR)
2. GM Hikaru Nakamura (2715, USA)
3. GM Peter Heine Nielsen (2697, DEN)
4. GM Emanuel Berg (2594, SWE)
5. GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (2588, NOR)
6. GM Kjetil A. Lie (2547, NOR)
7. IM Viktorija Cmilyte (2480, LTU)
8. GM Monica Socko (2457) POL)
9. WIM Ellen Hagesæther (2269, NOR)
10. GM Leif Erlend Johannessen (2528, NOR)
11. Anders Hobber (2132, NOR, winner of the qualifier in Porsgrunn)
12. Daniel Kovachev (2243, NOR, winner of the qualifier in Oslo)
13. FM Kjetil Stokke (2382, NOR, winner of the qualifier in Bergen)
14. Pal Andreas Hansen (2072, NOR, winner of the qualifier in Trondheim)
15. FM Vadims Daskevics (2380, LAT, winner of the qualifier in Stavanger)
16. Peter Flermoen (NOR, 2100, second place in the qualifier in Tromsø)

The tournament will be covered live at Chessbomb. Here's the official site.


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


noyb's picture

Nakamura spanks Carlsen, 3-1!

Muadhib's picture

If anybody was spanking anybody then it was Carlsen who was spanking Nakamura.

1st game: absolute domination by Carlsen.
2nd game: domination by Carlsen, but then miscalculated the pawn race.
3rd game: Ok, we'll give this one to Nakamura
4th game: Easy draw, but Carlsen had to force things and lost.

End results doesn't really reflect what happened on the board. Obviously Nakamura deservingly won (afterall he scored points), but there was no spanking.

Labelled's picture

@Muadhib: Well said. I was there and what you are saying is very true. Can`t believe he gave away the second game...... Looked like a walk in the park from his position.

Well, well.... Guess he is saving his best for more important tournaments. Like the World Blitz and such..... hehe.... Give the Mickey Mouse titles to Nakamura!!

nick burrows's picture

Nakamura is the real World Blitz champion - we'll see next year ;O) - unless they invite him as a replacement as they seemed to do this year..

test's picture

Real world blitz champion? What have you been smoking?
If I recall correctly: Carlsen wins World Blitz Championship.

Boybawang's picture

Naka won from a lost position! Wow! I admire him even more! Winning a lost position is 10x more difficult than winning from equal position.

nick burrows's picture

@Mr smartypants

"Real world blitz champion? What have you been smoking?
If I recall correctly: Carlsen wins World Blitz Championship"

Yes i was implying that Carlsen's World Blitz victory was incomplete because they failed to invite (imho) the best blitz player in the world - Nakamura.
This victory only strengthens this conviction.

Incidentally they clashed on the icc last year - Hikaru won 13-7 - vid from Norway.

Guillaume's picture

Give us a break with Nakamura. If Nakamura is such an admirable blitz player, why didn't he participate in the World Blitz Championship? Where was he when Magnus Carlsen won this 42-games marathon against the very best players in the world? Come to think of it, when was the last time Nakamura participated in a World Blitz Championship and for what result? It seems he is more comfortable being called the best bullet player on Playchess and winning subpar rapid or blitz tournaments than being actually put to a real test.

test's picture

>> Incidentally they clashed on the icc last year – Hikaru won 13-7

Ok, if that is true, that is a match that is more significant.
Maybe Hikaru IS better in blitz. ;)

test's picture

edit: well yeah, as Guillaume said; was that a bullet match or blitz.
(Bullet is not at all the same as blitz with a few secs increment.)

test's picture

Thx for the link btw. :)
PS: all 4 games:

nick burrows's picture



I believe the 13-7 eas at 3 0 bullet, but i would imagine that even if playing at 3 2 would even it up somewhat, i still like Naka ftw.

Guillaume's picture

Oh, drop the caps, will you?
I don't see any trace of Nakamura in the previous Blitz World Championship either. Was he never ever ever invited? Or did he just flat out refuse to go? What were his excuses in 2006, 2007 and 2008? What will it be in 2010?

BTW, I have nothing against Nakamura, I'd rather like to see him compete in the World Blitz Championship. But until it happens, he is just the sum of his best achievements: the US champion, and a really damn good and fun to watch online player, for what it's worth.

Muadhib's picture

Nakamura was invited to World Blitz Championship, but declined because supposingly the invitation came too late.

Like you need to prepare for blitz.

Thomas's picture

For me it is rather irrelevant whether Nakamura was invited to the World Blitz Championship early, late or not at all - he could have played the Aeroflot blitz qualifier and didn't. So for the time being his blitz reputation is still mostly based on online blitz which is not the same as playing over the board: no prize money at stake, not everyone takes it equally seriously, ... . And a somewhat lucky victory in a 4-game match against Carlsen (winning game 2 from a completely lost position) is not the same as what Carlsen did: playing 42 games against all, or at least most of the world's strongest players.

BTW, same Naka pattern for Corus: He could have played Corus B to qualify for the highest group like others from his generation did (Karjakin, Carlsen, now Caruana) but declined several invitations, sitting and waiting for a crown group invite to come along [or rather playing the Gibraltar Open at the same time].

nick burrows's picture

The caps seemed necessary because you repeated 3 times that Nakamura did not play in the World Blitz due to fear. He stated himself that he was not invited util it was too late - yet you imply that he is lying, with nothing whatsoever to back it up. I choose to believe what he says.

On top of that he beat Carlsen last year 13-7 in bullet. Now he beats him 3-1 o.t.b.

Magnus is my favourite player as it happens, i just think Naka has him in blitz. For some Magnus can do no wrong, may as well just make him WC without having to even face Anand eh!?

Guillaume's picture

Late invitation can indeed be a problem in Russia, because getting a visa can take quite some time. I almost had to cancel going to Moscow once, anxiously waiting for my visa until the day before departure. No visa, no Russia.

However, as Thomas rightly pointed out, this is irrelevant since there are ways to qualify to World Blitz Championships.

It sure looks like Nakamura does not really want to play in a World Blitz Championship. I'd say he probably wants to keep the freedom to "pre-move", even with on-the-board games. Just watch the video of their second game, the one that Carlsen lost in a totally winning position, around 8:40, and observe how Nakamura repeatedly moves his pieces on Carlsen's time, sometimes several times in a row (8:50). It's particularly blatant if you watch it at 1/10th of the normal speed. As much as this is perfectly legit in online games, and probably not such a big deal in a tournament like this one, I seriously doubt that this kind of behavior would go unchallenged in a World Blitz Championship.

Nakamura fan's picture

Do I think Nakamura is 1 of the top 20 players in the world? No, but I think he's top 25. Do I think he's as good as any of the top 5 in blitz? No, they're too strong in any format. I think he MAY be #6 in the world at blitz. He MAY have a 50% chance of winning at blitz against Gashimov.

donkey's picture

There is no such thing as luck in chess. Nakamura beat the World Blitz Champion. That does not make him the World Blitz Champion. It does make him a really good blitz player. What's the problem?

Thomas's picture

Visa problems also affect Russian players - after the Tal Memorial, Kramnik mentioned that he is still waiting for his visa to play in the London supertournament !!?
But if organizers invite a certain player, generally I assume that they help him to get a visa in case of need?

Ssyphs's picture

I'd want to see more evidence before I'd draw any certain conclusions on who is better at blitz. The online match between them was more than a year ago and Carlsen has undoubtedly improved since then, and the 4 game BnBank match is just too few games to give any kind of good statistical information (e.g. think about a provisional rating based on only four games).

Nakamura has certainly made a name for himself with blitz though, and to say that an American is best at anything in the the chess world would be something that no one has been able to say in a long time. The only thing I don't like is when some make the claim that blitz is a sort of chess talent barometer and claim that Nakamura's blitz skill shows he's the world's most talented player. He's very talented, but blitz skill may only indicate that a player has worked hard to maximize his or her blitz technique.

flshsatr's picture

Some says Nakamura is the world's best Blitz player just because his reputation on icc and his 4 games against Carlsen? Give me a break! He consistantly refused invitation or even try to enter a blitz tournament to qualify for the world's Blitz championship year after year avoiding a confrontations with some of the best players in the world and really test his capabilities.Until he prove himself OTB play against the top rated players in the world consistantly like Carlsen he is just a very good Blitz player on icc.

Peter Doggers's picture

Nonsense. This year he is invited, and he'll play.

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