Carlsen-Grischuk Speed Chess Semifinal, By The Numbers
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/Chess.com.
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.
Chess.com blitz rating: Carlsen, 3012 (1st). Grischuk, 2868 (8th).
Chess.com 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/Chess.com.
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/Chess.com.
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:
@OlimpiuUrcan) June 24, 2017
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).
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Finally, what do our metrics say? Chess.com's statistics team is predicting a 96.5 percent chance of victory for the world champion.