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Imperfect Carlsen Overpowers Gukesh

Imperfect Carlsen Overpowers Gukesh

NM_Vanessa
| 31 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen defeated GM Gukesh D in the 2022 Speed Chess Championship on Tuesday. Though Carlsen was off his usual form and overlooked a number of tactics, he defeated his prodigy opponent by such a wide margin that he had essentially won the match before the bullet segment even began.

GMs Nihal Sarin and Anish Giri face off in the next round of 16 match on December 7 at 8 a.m. PT / 17:00 CET.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 Speed Chess Championship on Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube.com/ChesscomLive. The games can also be followed from our Events Page.

Live broadcast of the match, hosted by GM Daniel Naroditsky and IM Danny Rensch.


Blitz 5|1: Carlsen-Gukesh 8-1

Carlsen kicked off the match with what looked to be a mouse slip in the opening, 5.a4 against the Nimzo-Indian Defense, which permanently weakened the b4-square.  Yet, in Carlsen-esque style, he went on to win the game anyway. 

In his post-match interview, Carlsen explained that he actually played 5.a4 intentionally as a call back to a previous SCC match: "No, it wasn't a mouse slip. The last time I played the Speed Chess Championship... the very first game I mouse slipped a4, so I thought it would be fun to 'mouse slip it' again."

Gukesh struck back the next game, showing an eagerness to capitalize on any chances the world champion gives him. 

Game three displayed Carlsen's unparalleled positional understanding as he sashayed to victory in a pawn-down king and rook ending. This is our Game of the Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao

GM Rafael Leitao GotD

This win jumpstarted seven wins in a row. What's particularly interesting about his streak is how frequently Carlsen overlooked winning combinations, yet went on to win anyway. Can you find one of the opportunities that the world champion missed?

The key to Carlsen's winning streak was a blend of exceptional positional play, leading to positions that were so dominating there were many routes to victory, and determined fighting play when he found himself in a worse position, allowing him to frequently steal winning chances from his opponent. 

Carlsen closed out the 5-1 with a vicious attacking game, taking an incredible seven-point lead over his fellow grandmaster opponent. 

Blitz 3|1: Carlsen-Gukesh 8-2

In the 3+1, Carlsen's considerable lead may have caught him off guard for a moment. In game two, Carlsen dove into a blunderfest.

Game three is a great example of Carlsen's ability to come back throughout the match, and as Naroditsky observed: "Magnus never just turns things around and draws it… he knows just when to squeeze for a win."

The penultimate of the 3-1 was an especially close battle with Gukesh pressing for the win with everything he had, yet Carlsen snuck yet another victory with a surprise checkmate. 

Gukesh closed out the 3-1 with a commanding win with the black pieces. 

Bullet 1|1: Carlsen-Gukesh 7-4

Entering the 1+1 portion down 13 points with only 30 minutes on the match clock, Gukesh must've known that it was highly unlikely he would even get enough games to stage a comeback. Unfazed, he leaped out of the gate with a tactical shot that upended Carlsen's defenses, winning a second game in a row. 

Despite the lopsided scoreboard, the players continued to produce exciting games, such as Carlsen's mating attack finish with a possible underpromotion mate looming in game four.

Even with his overwhelming match victory margin, Carlsen expressed vast disappointment in his performance in the post-match interview: “I didn’t enjoy today’s match one bit. I think I was playing horribly from the start.”

He explained winning the match anyway was due to: "a combination of experience and innate ability that's still there, even when I suck."

Carlsen won $3,533.33 while Gukesh earned $466.67 for his efforts. Carlsen will face his longtime rival and former world championship challenger, GM Fabiano Caruana, in the quarterfinals.

Final Score

Player Flag 5+1 3+1 1+1 Total
Magnus Carlsen 8 8 7 23
Gukesh D 1 2 4 7

All Games - Round of 16

Speed Chess Championship 2022 Bracket

The 2022 Speed Chess Championships Main Event started on November 23 and will conclude on December 16. Top speed-chess players are competing at three different time controls in a 16-player knockout as they vie for a share of the $100,000 prize fund along with the most prestigious title in online chess.

The likes of GMs Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, and many more will battle it out to determine the 2022 speed chess champion.


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