Reports | July 09, 2012 15:23

Grischuk leads World Blitz Championship at half time (VIDEOS)

Alexander Grischuk, the leader after 15 rounds | All photos © ChessVibes

Alexander Grischuk is leading the FIDE World Blitz Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan after 15 of the 30 rounds in total. The Moscovite scored 10.5/15 and has one point more than Dmitry Andreikin, Vassily Ivanchuk and Sergey Karjakin. Magnus Carlsen, who started badly, still has chances to win the event. The Norwegian is in sole 5th place with 8.5/15. The second and final part of the tournament starts tomorrow at 15:00 local time (11:00 CET).

Alexander Grischuk, the leader after 15 rounds | Photo © ChessVibes

Event World Blitz and Rapid Championships | PGN: Rapid | Blitz via TWIC
Dates July 2-10, 2012
Location Astana, Kazakhstan
System Rapid: 16-player single round robin | Blitz: 16-player double round robin
Players Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Morozevich, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Viktor Bologan, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexey Dreev, Igor Kurnosov, Vladislav Tkachiev, Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Anuar Ismagambetov, Dmitry Andreikin, Le Quang Liem, Nikolai Chadaev, Pavel Kotsur and Rinat Jumabayev
Rate of play Rapid: 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1 | Blitz: 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.
Special rule The players are not allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents. Any draw claim will be permitted only through the Chief Arbiter and accepted in case of a triple-repetition of the position or the 50-move rule
Prize fund US $200,000 for each tournament; first prize US $40,000

The World Rapid Championship was already quite exciting to follow, and it was no surprise that the World Blitz saw even more spectacle. Purists who can only enjoy high quality chess are not recommended to read further...

Let's first mention a few of the biggest blunders, to get a bit of that comforting feeling that even these giants are humans after all. (And don't forget that in most of these cases the player making the mistake had little time on the clock.)

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The fresh World Rapid Champion, Sergey Karjakin, started strongly. He scored 4.5/5 and continued to remain unbeaten to reach 7/9. Especially his game against Le Quang Liem was impressive.

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Sergey Karjakin | Photo courtesy of the organizers, more here

Magnus Carlsen, who seemed to be playing without much energy on the last day of the rapid event, surely wants to reclaim the blitz title which he lost to Levon Aronian in Moscow, 2010. However, again he wasn't in top shape during the first few rounds of the blitz. Already in the first game he went down to Dmitry Andreikin, who in fact is a blitz specialist.

The final part of Andreikin-Carlsen, round 1

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Like Carlsen, another former World Blitz Champion, Vassily Ivanchuk, also lost to Andreikin. The final position isn't completely lost yet, but Ivanchuk just couldn't find a good move and lost on time.

Ivanchuk-Andreikin, round 2

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The following game was a fantastic fight which ended with two bare kings on the board and smiles on the players' faces.

Mamedyarov-Carlsen, round 3

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With 7/9, Karjakin was a full point ahead of Grischuk and Andreikin, but then he lost his first game.

Karjakin-Gelfand, round 10

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Both Andreikin and Grischuk won their games to catch Karjakin in first place. Andreikin and Karjakin then drew their mutual game, while Grischuk defeated Carlsen, just like in the rapid tournament:

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Alexander Grischuk (here during the rapid tournament) | Photo courtesy of the organizers, more here

Grischuk kept the lead until round 15, the last round of the first day. Here's another victory by the Moscovite:

Grischuk-Ivanchuk, round 12

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Magnus Carlsen had started with 1/4 but ended with 3.5/4 to finish at two points behind Grischuk after round 15. He beat Karjakin, just like in the rapid: 

Karjakin-Carlsen, round 14

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The playing hall during the World Blitz | Photo courtesy of the organizers, more here

Games rounds 1-15

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World Blitz Championship 2012 | Round 15 standings


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.


KingTal's picture

Seems like Carlsen was still upset from the lose, he started very badly, but with the win against Karjakin in the 14th round i think this might give him some wind for tomorrow. And lol at Topalov with just 1 win and 9 draws...

So here some lame predictions for the final top 3:
1. Carlsen 20.5
2. Grischuk 20.0
3. Karjakin 19.0

Anonymous's picture

Being upset from a loss is hardly relevant as it happens to everyone.

KingTal's picture

But it was a very bitter loss because a lead of 1.5 points when only 4 rounds to go... this doesn´t happen to everyone, especially considering that not everyone has that high ambitions... its a bit of a very big loss don´t you think? I think it has some effect on motivation.

foo's picture

Maybe thats why he wont be world champ. You have to have the ability to bounce back. Look at Anand. Anand-Topalov match. Lost game 1, Equalized straight away in game 2. In the recent Gelfand - Anand. Lost Game 7, back in Game 8!

KingTal's picture

Yes at moment after 22 rounds it seems impossible, one of the trio Karjakin, Grischuk or Andreikin will probably be the champ.

nimzo64's picture

Oh yes, Carlsen has never been known to bounce back ...hmmmmm

thinking's picture

Totally agree :)

KingTal's picture

Seems like i guessed pretty well, hehe. Carlsen did a magnificent comeback with 8 wins straight after round 22, but Grischuk was too solid and deserved the victory. Congrats to him!

Anonymous's picture

Maybe. But he had a night's sleep and it's a new tourney now. He's not a kid anymore.

Thomas's picture

"Magnus Carlsen ... still has chances to win the event." So do Morozevich, Chadaev(!) and Radjabov who are just 1/2 point behind him, why is one player singled out? :)
Interesting to have two qualifiers in the upper half of the field - in Andreikin's case, some people actually predicted that he will overperform with respect to his (classical) rating.

bigga's picture

Because Carlsen is the number one in the world, and chess public is interested in carlsen's results, not radja's or morozo's.

Anonymous's picture

@bigga As you can see, being rated number one in the world doesn't amount to a whole lot more than publicity.
Winning World Championship Titles mean a lot to the guys playing here than do Elo Rating points.
Btw, the world number one has a minus (-) score against the World Chmpion Anand.

h8dgeh0g's picture

yeah, but most of the games were played when a very young carlsen faced super-strong anand, so you should not read too much into it. its scary that at 21 carlsen alrady has more or less even score against most of the other fearsome opponents.

RealityCheck's picture

@bigga You place too much value on being number 1; means nothing really. The concept of "world champion" involves much more than leading a pack of top ten.
Its the players whole personality and many years of dedication and the months long struggle that make fighting for the world championship title so dog gone interesting.

Chess Fan's picture

Absolutely true.
Not to deprecate the value of #1 on the ratings by any chance (which is really awesome), but the title of the unified World Champion (..Kapsparov->Kramnik->Anand now) is very cherished for a reason - the reason being your line of reasoning.

valg321's picture

true and good point

Thomas's picture

Ah I get it: the world #1 is always worthwhile mentioning, others only if I scored better than him. If Topalov was still world #1 this short report would have been pretty long (Topa was never particularly strong at faster time controls and surprised many, possibly including himself, with his rapid result).

Saying that Carlsen still has chances to win the event is, at best, stating the obvious that anything can happen in blitz.

rogge's picture

Having fun, Thomas? Nothing better to do? Geez.

Anonymous's picture

Rogge: pot-kettle-black

Niima's picture


Speak for yourself. I am interested in how Morozevich does (and Radjabov for that matter).

redivivo's picture

The thing is that Carlsen has scored some very strong blitz results, and he is #1 in the world. Thus, when he is ahead of Radjabov and Morozevich it is more likely that Chessvibes will mention Carlsen's position in the field than that of Radjabov and Morozevich. And the fact that Carlsen is mentioned in the to Thomas unappetizing context of his still having winning chances is what makes Thomas unhappy. I don't think he will have to worry though, Grischuk seems clearly strongest this far.

Thomas's picture

I don't mind at all that Chessvibes only mentions the current top5, one has to stop somewhere. And I don't find it unappetizing that Carlsen's winning chances are mentioned, nor does it make me unhappy, I merely find it a bit odd. Put it that way: if any of the established players who are now ahead of or just behind Carlsen (Grischuk, Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Morozevich, Radjabov) were in Carlsen's situation - 2 points behind the leader, 1 point behind another trio - would Chessvibes mention that they still have winning chances?

I don't think so, so what makes Carlsen special? He is #1 in the world based on classical games, that's undeniably true and has been mentioned more than once. "Carlsen has scored some very strong blitz results" - in the given context this would suggest that he is _always_ stronger than his peers and today's result is a rare outlier. Let's have a look at his Tal Memorial Blitz results:
2008 Ivanchuk 23/33, Kramnik 21.5/33, Carlsen 20.5/33
2009 Carlsen 31/42, Anand 28/42, Karjakin 25/42
2010 Aronian 24.5/38, Radjabov 24/38, Carlsen 23.5/38 [the only time Radjabov participated]
2009 was impressive (but exception rather than rule), the other years weren't bad at all, but all taken together it doesn't imply that Carlsen is simply the best in blitz.
Winning the event would either imply an excellent score (say, 12/15) tomorrow or a good one (better than today's) combined with relatively bad ones for all four players who are now ahead of him. It isn't impossible, but is it likely enough to mention it explicitly?

Bigglesworth's picture

I would say being the only player to medal three years in a row DOES imply that Carlsen is the best in blitz. Being the best doesn't mean you have to win every event, just that on average, you will do better than everyone else.

redivivo's picture

Yes, Thomas picks three top blitz events and Carlsen alone was top three every time, and no other player was top three more than once.

Anonymous's picture

but isn't it just the 1rst place that we are talking about here?

Anonymous's picture

So Carlsen hasn't scored some very good blitz results because he hasn't won every event? With that logic he hasn't scored some very good results in classical chess either.

redivivo's picture

""Carlsen has scored some very strong blitz results" - in the given context this would suggest that he is _always_ stronger than his peers"

So if I say that Aronian has scored some very strong rapid results I would mean that he_always_is stronger than his peers in rapid chess? I don't think so.

Thomas's picture

IN THE GIVEN CONTEXT referred to Carlsen's chances of still winning the event. This would probably require that he regains the blitz form he showed in 2009 - a 33.3% chance if we literally believe these earlier results, and even then Grischuk might keep his lead.

Carlsen's medal chances are still intact, all it takes (still a lot) is to overtake two of Grischuk (least likely), Andreikin, Ivanchuk and Karjakin and to stay ahead of Morozevich, Radjabov (and Chadaev).

Anonymous's picture

If Carlsen has scored some very good blitz results it doesn't mean that he always is better than his peers, or that (as you say) he (in the given context) always must be better than his peers to win an event like this. He could obviously be worse than his peers next time or at some event in 2010 or 2014, but to win an event like this he certainly doesn't always need to be better than his peers, it's one single event that is being discussed.

Anonymous's picture

context -> dictionary

bondegnasker's picture

You find it strange that Carlsen is mentioned so often... and yet, whenever Carlsen is mentioned, you mention him some more...

Anonymous's picture

Correct...MG is marketed by pros who fully understand the importance of branding and image...I'd love to see him featured at some film festivals/Oscars with a couple of very hot porn stars on each arm. Chess needs this type of image, not that of geeky shut-ins.

strana's picture

Andreikin is avery strong GM, who plays stronger than 2700 in classic. He was a former junior world champion and won recently the very strong russian higher league ( together with 16 year old Daniil Dubov) Put him to play in Wijk, Dortmund, Biel,etc, and Andreikin would increase his rating. It is sad that the same names get the invitations to play in big "western" tournaments. If Dubov was not russian, he would be considered an improved Carlsen at the same age.

Anonymous's picture

Seems that today's events prove Thomas right.

Thomas's picture

It's not about being right or wrong ... . In a way, the Chessvibes report about the second day of the rapid event was "wrong" more or less suggesting that Carlsen had already won with five games remaining - not that I blame them, the eventual turn of events was hard to predict and rather unlikely.

Carlsen coming from behind in the blitz event to overtake four players seemed even more unlikely. Miracles or disasters (depending on who you are or who you are rooting for) don't happen too often, else they wouldn't be called such a thing.

Anonymous's picture

Not getting a bit nervous after all? With two rounds to go Carlsen is one point behind Grischuk in first.

Anonymous's picture

Grischuk is the new word champion! Congratulations!

Anonymous's picture

Well, that was close wasn't it? Carlsen 0.5 from winning the title on tiebreak and the premature celebrations of Carlsen's result almost reached a sad end. A bit like bronkenstein's jubilant "Carlsen finished third, DESERVEDLY!" in the rapid event over at Chessbomb. Then Topalov didn't find the win that would have given Carlsen a worse tiebreak in the fight for second place, and bronkenstein was no more a happy puppy. At least he got his chance to celebrate joyfully for a few seconds :-)

Thomas's picture

Well, in the final round Grischuk was a bit like a runner approaching the finish, not caring how close his competitor might come as long as he keeps his lead (BTW are you sure that Carlsen would have been first on tiebreak? Their mini-match was drawn - Grischuk won yesterday - and Mark Crowther tweeted "according to the commentary ... there will be a playoff").

I would say my predictions weren't that bad :) - I wrote that 12/15 would mean first place for Carlsen but he scored "only" 11/15 (3/7 followed by 8/8 !). And I suggested that he might win a medal, but actually expected bronze rather than silver. The main surprise today was Ivanchuk's 5.5/15 (after 9.5/15 yesterday) - at least if a result from Chucky is ever surprising. Chadaev also couldn't quite keep his pace (8/15, then 5.5/15).

Columbo's picture

neither a kid nor a robot ...

Coco Loco's picture

Is Bologan trying to implement the Kasim's no-draws-ever proposal?

noyb's picture

Very interesting to me is that Chucky is still around at the top of the results, no matter what the time control!

Septimus's picture

Is Bologan a computer scientist/engineer? He seems to prefer binary.

bronkenstein's picture

lol Indeed, this guy needs no Sofia rules!

PS just compare it to Topalov´s somewhat ironical ½½00½½0½½½½0½10 =)

bhabatosh's picture

Topa can not play Blitz :-)

Chess Fan's picture

Or civility or fairness for that matter.
But away from Dalinov, he probably now has a better chance to be truly himself, whatever that is.

euripedes's picture

His presence at an event leaves a foul aftertaste.

The chess world is still waiting for a public apology as is his soul.

Afterwards, I firmly believe his zeal for the game will improve. (If one must be selfish within their apology, the reason happens to be present.)

Bias buster's picture

Topa has already surprised a lot o people and probably himself at rapids. He could very easily have been second. Hmmm.... I wonder if he regrets not taking a draw in round 12 in the 2010 WChC with Anand?

Anonymous's picture

Rapid time controls give the players time to reflect on the position....According to Carlsen, he sees the move he's plans to make very quickly, then uses the longer time controls to check it.

redivivo's picture

Good point, if Anand had played rapid as against Gelfand and Topalov had played as in the rapid world championship the title would have been Topalov's.


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