GM Blitz Battle Historical Archive

GM Blitz Battle Historical Archive

| 6 | Fun & Trivia's GM Blitz Battle Championship began in 2016. With Death Matches as the precursor, this championship is different in several regards.

The Blitz Battles are still three hours in length, but each match does not stand alone. The bracket of eight players plays single-elimination matches until one championship is crowned.

Additionally, most of the players are the in the top 10 in the world in either classical or blitz ratings. The average classical rating of the first edition is near 2800.

Unlike Death Matches, each of the three time controls (5+2; 3+2; 1+1) begins with a single Chess960 game. For viewers' benefit, has also required players to have a camera feed on them during play.

Lastly, the prize fund is much larger. Whereas Death Matches offered a $1,000 total purse, the GM Blitz Battle Championship is offering $40,000 in total (even players losing in the opening round will earn more than $1,000). The sponsors are Peopletalk.ruIndigo Capital Partners and Buran Venture Capital.


The first edition began with seven invited players and one qualifier. The seeds were, in order, (1) Magnus Carlsen, (2) Hikaru Nakamura, (3) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, (4) Alexander Grischuk, (5) Levon Aronian, (6) Fabiano Caruana, and (7) Pentala Harikrishna.

On May 31, 2016 Tigran L. Petrosian won the qualifier to become the 8th seed. Petrosian also earned $1,500 for first place in the qualiying tournament. 

The Matches


Battle 1 - On April 6, 2016 GM Alexander Grischuk beat GM Levon Aronian 11.5-9.5. Grischuk won $1,547 and Aronian won $1,452.

The five-minute was tied 3-3. Grischuk won the three-minute 4-3. Grischuk won the one-minute 4.5-3.5.

Battle 2 - On May 4, 2016, GM Hikaru Nakamura beat GM Pentala Harikrishna 16-9. Nakamura won $1,940 and Harikrishna won $1,360.

Nakamura won the five-minute 5-3. Harikrishna won the three-minute 4-3. Nakamura won the one-minute 8-2. 

Battle 3 - On May 10, 2016, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat GM Fabiano Caruana 15.5-9.5. MVL won $1,920 and Caruana won $1,380.

Caruana won the five-minute 5-4. Vachier-Lagrave won the three-minute 4.5-2.5. Vachier-Lagrave won the one-minute 7-2. 

Battle 4 - On June 23, 2016, GM Magnus Carlsen beat GM Tigran L. Petrosian 21-4. Carlsen won the five-minute 6-2. Carlsen won the three-minute 7-1. Carlsen won the one-minute 8-1. Carlsen won $1,990 and Petrosian won $1,310.


Battle 5 - On August 23, 2016, GM Magnus Carlsen beat GM Alexander Grischuk 16-8. Carlsen won the five minute 4.5-3.5. They tied the three-minute 3.5-3.5. Carlsen won the one-minute 8-1. Carlsen won $3,333.33 and Grischuk won $1,666.67.

Battle 6 - On August 24, 2016, GM Hikaru Nakamura beat GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 21.5-10.5. Nakamura won the five-minute 5-4. Nakamura won the three-minute 8.5-1.5. Nakamura won the one-minute 8-5. Nakamura won $3,343.75 and Vachier-Lagrave won $1,656.25.


Battle 7 - On October 27, 2016, GM Magnus Carlsen beat GM Hikaru Nakamura 14.5-10.5. Carlsen won the five-minute 5.5-3.5. Carlsen won the three-minute 5-2. Nakamura won the one-minute 5-4. Carlsen won $6,320 and Nakamura won $3,680.

Total Prize Money from 2016 Championship (not counting the seven $1,000 best-game prizes):

Magnus Carlsen: $11,643.33

Hikaru Nakamura: $8,963.75

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave: $3,576.25

Alexander Grischuk: $3,213.67

Levon Aronian: $1,452.00

Fabiano Caruana: $1,380.00

Pentala Harikrishna: $1,360.00.

Tigran Petrosian: $1310.00



Largest margin of victory, overall: Carlsen, 17 games, over Petrosian in 2016.

Smallest margin of victory, overall: Grischuk, 2 games, over Aronian in 2016.

Most games, overall: 32, tie (Nakamura-Vachier-Lagrave, 2016).

Largest margin of victory, five-minute: Carlsen, 4 games, over Petrosian in 2016.

Largest margin of victory, three-minute: Nakamura, 7 games, over Vachier-Lagrave in 2016.

Largest margin of victory, one-minute: (Tie) Carlsen, 7 games, over Petrosian in 2016; Carlsen, 7 games, over Grischuk in 2016.

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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