Carlsen-Grischuk Speed Chess Semifinal, By The Numbers's stats team predicts GM Magnus Carlsen vs. GM Alexander Grischuk.

Carlsen-Grischuk Speed Chess Semifinal, By The Numbers

| 45 | Fun & Trivia

GM Magnus Carlsen has been beating anything with a heartbeat in November. First he won by the largest margin in the Champions Showdown with a day to spare, then he scored the most game points ever in a Speed Chess Championship match. You can throw in a Titled Tuesday win just for good measure.

As a prelude, earlier in the month he even crushed the dreams of an aspiring player who seemed legitimately to not understand that beating the world champion with one month of training is not the same as memorizing inanimate cards.


Recently Carlsen's combed hair and glasses have him looking quite professorial, but he's not grading on a curve. | Photo: Mike Klein/

How will GM Alexander Grischuk fare against this inertia? Let's preview Tuesday's Speed Chess Championship semifinal with a look at their blitz careers, by the numbers.

Age: Carlsen, 26 (turning 27 in 10 days). Grischuk, 34.

FIDE Blitz live rating: Carlsen, 2974 (1st). Grischuk, 2723 (31st).


The four 2017 Speed Chess Championship semifinalists. blitz rating: Carlsen, 3012 (1st). Grischuk, 2868 (8th). bullet rating: Carlsen, 3119 (1st). Grischuk, 2906 (15th).

Number of World Blitz Championships: Carlsen, 2. Grischuk, 3.


While it doesn't count, Grischuk can hold his own against Carlsen in press conference wit. | Photo: Mike Klein/

Career Blitz Battle/Speed Chess Championship overall games record: Carlsen, 99.5-37.5. Grischuk, 52.5-48.

Career record in the 5-minute portion: Carlsen, 35-13. Grischuk, 18-16.5.

Career record in the 3-minute portion: Carlsen, 25-13. Grischuk, 17-15.

Career record in the 1-minute portion: Carlsen, 39.5-10.5. Grischuk, 18-18.

Match result in their 2016 semifinal match: Carlsen 16, Grischuk 8 (4.5-3.5 in the 5-minute; 3-5-3.5 in the 3-minute; 8-1 in the 1-minute).

Career blitz record in over-the-board games: Grischuk 7 wins, Carlsen 5 wins, and 5 draws.

Of course with any statistics, there's going to be back stories, mitigating factors, and further explanations. Curiously Grischuk's positive record in over-the-board blitz did not occur solely when Carlsen was a child -- Grischuk's done just fine with a positive mark in recent years.


Carlsen after losing to Grischuk in the 2015 Sinquefield Cup. How many players can say they've made Carlsen anguished like this? | Photo: Mike Klein/

But even that could be misleading, as one of his wins in this year's Grand Chess Tour blitz games came via a rare Carlsen moment of doubt:

Carlsen's big lead in his career game records from Speed Chess Championship matches could be somewhat attributed to his two first-round opponents, both qualifiers. He defeated GM Tigran Petrosian, 21-4 and GM Gadir Guseinov, 20.5-5.5. Grischuk's two first-round opponents were GM Levon Aronian (where the Russian won 11.5-9.5) and GM Richard Rapport (where he again won 17.5-9.5).

Log in tomorrow to see who will confirm or rebut the stats! And while you're at it, comment below, and vote in the homepage survey.

Finally, what do our metrics say?'s statistics team is predicting a 96.5 percent chance of victory for the world champion.


The Speed Chess Championship semifinal between Carlsen and Grischuk begins at 10 a.m. Pacific on Tuesday, November 21 and can be watched live with commentary at or

FM Mike Klein

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Mike Klein began playing chess at the age of four in Charlotte, NC. In 1986, he lost to Josh Waitzkin at the National Championship featured in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer." A year later, Mike became the youngest member of the very first All-America Chess Team, and was on the team a total of eight times. In 1988, he won the K-3 National Championship, and eventually became North Carolina's youngest-ever master. In 1996, he won clear first for under-2250 players in the top section of the World Open. Mike has taught chess full-time for a dozen years in New York City and Charlotte, with his students and teams winning many national championships. He now works at as a Senior Journalist and at as the Chief Chess Officer. In 2012, 2015, and 2018, he was awarded Chess Journalist of the Year by the Chess Journalists of America. He has also previously won other awards from the CJA such as Best Tournament Report, and also several writing awards for mainstream newspapers. His chess writing and personal travels have now brought him to more than 85 countries.

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