WRBC 2019 / News

Magnus Carlsen and Kateryna 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, the winner of the Blitz was Kateryna Lagno of Russia (the Women’s Rapid was won by Humpy Koneru of India). Both players repeated their victory in the blitz from last year in San Petersburg.

The winner of the Blitz was decided in the playoff between Magnus Carlsen and American Hikaru Nakamura, as both players had 16½ points each after the 21-round tournament. The first game in the playoff ended in a draw, but Carlsen won the second and, with it, the second crown at this event.


Third place went to former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who decided to take part in the World Blitz despite leaving active chess a year ago. After his victory in the Rapid, Magnus Carlsen said the job was only “half done” and that he also wanted to win in the Blitz.

Speaking to the media after his victory in the Blitz, Carlsen said that the tie-break 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]


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 three times defended his World Champion title in classical chess and also won three Rapid and three Blitz World Championships.

Altogether this is Carlsen’s third consecutive win in the World Blitz and a third title in the World Rapid – an unprecedented score 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).


Kateryna Lagno, the winner of the Women’s Blitz, finished the tournament on 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 finished 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 and included some of the strongest players in the world.