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Monday, 30 Dec 2019 17:12
Carlsen and Lagno win the World Blitz Chess Championship

Magnus Carlsen has won the Open section of the King Salman World Blitz Chess Championship, which finished in Moscow on Monday evening. The Norwegian Grandmaster previously won the World Rapid Championship, which was played just before the Blitz. In the women’s section, Kateryna Lagno of Russia took the Blitz title (the Women’s Rapid was won by Humpy Koneru of India). Both players repeated their victories in the blitz from last year in St- Petersburg.

The winner of the Blitz was decided on tiebreak between Magnus Carlsen and American Hikaru Nakamura, as both players scored 16½ points each in the 21 rounds. The first game in the playoff ended in a draw, but Carlsen won the second one and, with it, his second crown at this event.

Third place went to former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who took the plunge into the World Blitz Championship despite leaving competitive chess a year ago. After his victory in the Rapid, Magnus Carlsen said the job was only “half done” and that he wanted to win the title in blitz.

Speaking to the media after his victory in the Blitz Championship, Carlsen said that the tiebreak was tough. “I’m very pleased with my performance. A lot of the games were rough, but it’s the result that counts. Also, the conditions for playing were very good so I have no complaints about the organization.” [See the full interview with Carlsen on FIDE's Youtube channel]

When asked whether he keeps track of all the big events he won, Carlsen replied – “only the world titles”. So far, in his career, Carlsen has defended the World Champion title in classical chess three times and he also has three World Rapid and World Blitz Championship titles under his belt.

This is Carlsen’s third consecutive win in the World Blitz and third title in the World Rapid – an unprecedented achievement in chess history. The Norwegian is also the world champion in classical chess (since 2013). By winning both events, Carlsen pocketed $120,000 dollars ($60,000 for each event). 

1. Magnus Carlsen (NOR) 2865 – 16½ 
2. Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2885 – 16½
3. Vladimir Kramnik (RUS) 2748 – 15
4. Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 2741 – 14
5. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) 2768 – 14
6. Alireza Firouzja (FID) 2649 – 13½
7. Vladislav Artemiev (RUS) 2793 – 13½
8. Yu Yangyi (CHN) 2807 – 13½
9. Maxim Matlakov (RUS) 2720 – 13½
10. Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL) 2796 – 13½
11. Dmitry Andreikin (RUS) 2780 – 13½
12. Vladimir Fedoseev (RUS) 2714 – 13½
13. Anish Giri (NED) 2769 – 13½
14. Alexander Zubov (UKR) 2754 – 13½
15. Levon Aronian (ARM) 2698 – 13½
16. Wang Hao (CHN) 2714 – 13½
17. Ernesto Inarkiev (RUS) 2556 – 13½
18. Peter Svidler (RUS) 2805 – 13½
19. Boris Gelfand (ISR) 2700 – 13½
20. Ivan Cheparinov (GEO) 2647 – 13½         

… 206 players                                                                                                                     

Kateryna Lagno, the winner of the Women’s Blitz, scored 13 points out of 17 games. Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine finished second (with 12½/17) and the 3rd and 4th places went to Tan Zhongyi of China and Valentina Gunina of Russia, who both crossed the finishing line with 12 points.



“This was a tough day but – because of a bit of luck – I am very happy. I was White in the final round and I had to play for a win. When I overlooked a pawn, I had to play for a draw, but it worked”, Lagno said. [See the full interview with Lagno on FIDE's Youtube channel]

Comparing this victory to that of last year in the Blitz in St Petersburg, Lagno said that “this year’s tournament was tougher” because several players had chances to be first.
A special prize for the best-combined performance in the Rapid and the Blitz in the Women’s category, awarded by TOTAL (the French energy major), went to Anna Muzychuk.

In the Blitz games, each player had 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1. Altogether 330 players from 44 countries took part in both the Open and the Women’s events. The line-up in both sections included some of the strongest players in the world.

1. Kateryna Lagno (RUS) 2606 – 13
2. Anna Muzychuk (UKR) 2504 – 12½
3. Tan Zhongyi (CHN) 2480 – 12
4. Valentina Gunina (RUS) 2366 – 12
5. Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) 2521 – 11½
6. Lei Tingjie (CHN) 2543 – 11½
7. Meri Arabidze (GEO) 2412 – 11½
8. Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL) 2452 – 11½
9. Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (IRI) 2463 – 11½
10. Anastasia Bodnaruk (RUS) 2375 – 11
11. Gulnar Mammadova (AZE) 2293 – 11
12. Humpy Koneru (IND) 2489 – 10½
13. Batkhuyag Munguntuul (MGL) 2282 – 10½
14. Elisabeth Paehtz (GER) 2380 – 10½
15. Zhansaya Abdumalik (KAZ) 2415 – 10½
16. Alisa Galliamova (RUS) 2415 – 10½
17. Dinara Saduakassova (KAZ) 2390 – 10½
18. Natalia Zhukova (UKR) 2239 – 10½
19. Irina Krush (USA) 2371 – 10½
20. Lilit Mkrtchian (ARM) 2268 – 10½

 … 122 players       

                                                                                                     

Official website: https://wrbc2019.com

Special thanks to Milan Dinic (Press officer), Lennart Ootes and Maria Emelianova (official photographers), and Etery Kublashvili (Chess Federation of Russia).

Photos are available for the press at our official Flickr account.