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Carlsen Wins World Blitz Championship, Assaubayeva Defends Women's Title
The 2022 world blitz champions. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen Wins World Blitz Championship, Assaubayeva Defends Women's Title

JackRodgers
| 165 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen earned the 2022 FIDE World Blitz Championship title on Friday with a score of 16/21, one point ahead of silver medalist GM Hikaru Nakamura and bronze medalist on tiebreak, GM Haik Martirosyan.

Carlsen's victory, which was confirmed when he poetically defeated GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov in the final round, means that he simultaneously holds all three world chess titles for the first time since his Uzbek opponent nabbed the world rapid title from him in 2021.

IM Bibisara Assaubayeva produced a historic result in the women's championship and became the third woman in history to defend the world blitz title after scoring five straight wins against the leaders of the tournament to snatch the title on home soil. 

The Kazakh superstar looked down and out after losing to a surging IM Polina Shuvalova, but the back-end streak pushed her to a winning score of 13/17, closely followed by GM Humpy Koneru on 12.5/17 and Shuvalova on 12/17.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 FIDE World Rapid and Blitz 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. Games from the event can be viewed on our events page: World Blitz | Women's World Blitz.

The live broadcast was hosted by GM David Howell and IM Lawrence Trent.


After a dazzling start on day one Nakamura had no time to rest on his laurels with a number of the world's best players breathing down his neck. Two draws in rounds 13 and 14, both of which were "Berlin draws," allowed Carlsen to catch him. GMs Anish Giri and Daniil Dubov also closed the gap to half a point.

The famous "Berlin draw" has been played hundreds of times when a draw suits both players. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen very nearly lost his first game of the tournament against GM Richard Rapport in round 14 in one of the wildest encounters of the event. The game was full of twists and turns and the evaluation bar swung like a pendulum as the players navigated the imbalanced middlegame. Three promotions at different stages of the game meant that five queens graced the board during the 71-move duel which ultimately ended in a victory for the Norweigian.

Popular Youtuber Antonio Radic (best known as Agadmator) described the game as a "bar fight," while others described it on Twitter as the best craziest blitz game they had ever seen.

Results in round 15 went against the grain with both of the leaders losing their games against Russian opponents. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi was able to outplay the world champion on the white side of a Ruy Lopez: Berlin Defense and found himself with a sizeable edge after 40 moves. Having spent all of his time trying to defend against the world championship challenger, Carlsen surprisingly lost on time.

Meanwhile, Nakamura was conquered by GM Vladislav Artemiev with black after declining a draw, a result which allowed three players to join the favorites in the lead.

Martirosyan announced himself as a title contender in round 16 when he knocked over the dangerous GM Vladimir Fedoseev, propelling him to 13/16. Remarkably, the Armenian GM's games until this point had all been decisive, and wins over Dubov, Keymer and numerous 2600+ players had already made this a tournament to remember.

Keeping pace with the leaders proved too difficult in round 17 primarily due to the fact that the 22-year-old had to fend off none other than Nepomniachtchi with the black pieces. A typical Berlin culminated in an opposite-colored bishop ending where Martirosyan took his first draw of the tournament. Carlsen and Nakamura both won once again, this time seeing off GMs Fabiano Caruana and Dmitry Andreikin in convincing games with the black pieces.

With four rounds to go, it was expected that the leaders would continue to play against opponents ranked well inside the top 20 in the world, but as fate would have it, Carlsen ended up facing the world number 1366, 16-year-old IM Mukhiddin Madaminov. The talented Uzbek (rated 2333 in blitz) had accrued 11.5/17 and earned himself the showdown of a lifetime on board one. Although Madaminov did eventually lose to Carlsen, he put up a huge fight and had the tournament leader sweating at several moments.

Madaminov gained a whopping 177.6 rating points for his efforts in the tournament. Image: Chess-Results.com

Round 18 proved to be an important one in terms of the standings as Nakamura sensationally lost to three-time Titled Tuesday winner GM Alexey Sarana. The win barely came as a surprise to viewers who had noticed that the Russian bruiser had won 9.5 out of the last 10 points on offer after starting the tournament with an underwhelming 3/8 score.

Sarana's win over Nakamura severely dinted the American's title hopes. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Sarana was not yet finished carving up the tournament's top players and followed up with a win against Carlsen in the 19th round. Sarana clearly did his homework on how to tackle the world number-one's Queen's Gambit Declined and used his central control to exert pressure on Carlsen. A decisive blunder on move 21 ended the game quickly in favor of the underdog who became the only player to beat both the first and second seeds in the event.

The barnstorming run from Sarana finally came to an end in the penultimate round where the overachieving Martirosyan ended his chances of medal contention. The result didn't necessarily make things any easier for Carlsen who only held a one-point buffer at the end of the round due to two of his closest chasers, Nakamura and GM Jan-Krzysztof-Duda, winning their games. 

Duda, who had a modest 8/12 start, snuck up on the leaders and timed his run to perfection. A clean win over Andreikin in round 20 brought him to within a whisker of first place with one round to go.

Duda turned his tournament around on day two. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The final round pairings couldn't have been scripted any better with Carlsen playing Abdusattorov while Nakamura and Duda both received the white pieces against lower-rated opponents (GM Pentala Harikrishna and Sarana). 

Although the chasing pack was favored on paper to win their last games, commentator Trent reminded viewers that "when his destiny is in his own hands, Carlsen seems to pull through," and the final round saw Carlsen quash any chance of being caught by demolishing Abdusattorov's Ruy Lopez: Morphy Defense in just 38 moves and confirmed the championship.


GM Rafel Leitao has unpacked our game of the day which was undoubtedly one of the most important encounters of the tournament.

The pressure clearly got to the players who had a chance to usurp Carlsen before the 21st round and Duda's loss meant that he fell off the podium entirely. Nakamura was fortunate to draw his encounter with Harikrishna and was left rueing in yet another world blitz championship that he had come agonizingly close to winning. Martirosyan seemed instead to embrace the tournament situation and scored another upset win over Caruana which catapulted him into equal second.

Harikrishna very nearly prevented Nakamura from winning the silver medal. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen picked up another $60,000 for his second title of the week while Nakamura and Martirosyan bagged $45,000 each for their efforts. The remainder of the $350,000 prize fund was shared between fourth to 35th place.

2022 World Blitz Chess Championship | Final Standings (Top 20)

# Fed Title Name Rating Points
1 GM Magnus Carlsen 2830 16
2 GM Hikaru Nakamura 2909 15
3 GM Haik Martirosyan 2745 15
4 GM Anish Giri 2792 14.5
5 GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2773 14.5
6 GM Daniil Dubov 2792 14.5
7 GM Alexey Sarana 2708 14.5
8 GM Vladimir Fedoseev 2733 14
9 GM Richard Rapport 2654 14
10 GM Vladislav Artemiev 2803 13.5
11 GM Dmitry Andreikin 2735 13.5
12 GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 2782 13.5
13 GM Vincent Keymer 2600 13.5
14 GM A.R. Saleh Salem 2633 13.5
15 GM Fabiano Caruana 2847 13
16 GM Denis Lazavik 2484 13
17 GM Pentala Harikrishna 2617 13
18 GM Sarin Nihal 2702 13
19 GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov 2666 13
20 GM Daniel Dardha 2528 13

(Full standings here.)

All World Blitz Chess Championship Games