News
News
Carlsen Hits Highest Blitz Rating Ever On Chess.com

Carlsen Hits Highest Blitz Rating Ever On Chess.com

AnthonyLevin
| 51 | Chess Event Coverage

Less than a month after GM Hikaru Nakamura set a new record for Chess.com's highest blitz rating, GM Magnus Carlsen has gone one step further. On Wednesday, Carlsen achieved the all-time-high blitz rating of 3340, four points higher than Nakamura's record.

Carlsen Back On Top

It took nearly three years for Nakamura to break his own record for the highest rating on the website, which had been 3332 in March 2020. Now that Carlsen is participating more regularly on Chess.com, often playing in Titled Tuesdays, we can expect more records to be shattered—and re-shattered.

The possibility for Carlsen began to crystalize into reality in the late Titled Tuesday, which the former world champion won with a near-perfect 10.5/11. The Norwegian grandmaster pocketed $1,000 from the comfort of an armchair and while accompanied by man's best friend.

But he only reached the rating of 3326 after defeating GM Levon Aronian in the final round. The next day, on December 6, he crossed the finish line after playing 23 games against GM Tuan Minh Le, which left him at 3331, and six games against GM Daniel Naroditsky, which left him at 3340. 

After a long period of dormancy, Carlsen plays regularly on Chess.com.

Interestingly, as soon as Carlsen surpassed the previous record, he called it a day and stopped playing. Here is that final game, where Carlsen exploited a weak b-pawn coupled with uncoordinated white pieces to win material.

Today's Great Rivalry Of Online Chess: Carlsen vs. Nakamura

This episode is the latest in what might be the rivalry of our post-pandemic era, that between the two giants of online chess, Carlsen and Nakamura. 

The contest wasn't always close, as Nakamura himself has admitted on multiple occasions. Before the pandemic, Carlsen was the massive favorite in their classical chess encounters; currently, he's won 14 games, lost just one, and drawn 26.

Nakamura observes Carlsen's game at the 2023 FIDE World Cup. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

But, online, things are different.

Nakamura won a mesmerizing match by just one point against Carlsen in the 2022 Speed Chess Championship Final, after which the Norwegian GM reflected: "He's certainly as close as anyone's ever been. It's a great challenge."

He's certainly as close as anyone's ever been. It's a great challenge.

—Magnus Carlsen

Nakamura then also won the 2023 Bullet Chess Championship after defeating Carlsen in the Grand Final.

But Carlsen struck back in the 2023 SCC and ended Hikaru's five-year winning streak. Nakamura said after that match: "Frankly, it was not a rivalry until the pandemic. Magnus won pretty much every match that we played."

After winning the 2023 Chessable Masters, where Nakamura eliminated Carlsen in the Losers Final and then beat GM Fabiano Caruana in two matches to steal the Grand Final, Nakamura said: "You know, the last couple years, I found a way to play well.... I think the main thing is I don't fall apart against Magnus. In the past, I would've fallen apart very quickly."

He also wore a shirt that said, "I LITERALLY DON'T CARE" in capital letters, a phrase Nakamura has repeated while enjoying massive success in both over-the-board tournaments and online.

Still, Carlsen's won three events in the Champions Chess Tour while Nakamura's won one—the Airthings Masters, the Aimchess Rapid, and the Julius Baer Generation Cup. After winning their match in the last CCT event before the Finals, the AI Cup (though he would later lose twice to GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave), Carlsen said the following about "rivals": 

At the moment, Carlsen is the highest-rated player on Chess.com in blitz. The next battleground for their rivalry will be the Champions Chess Tour Finals, which will be live in Toronto starting this Saturday. Eight players will vie for their share of the $500,000 prize fund and the 2023 tour title.

Vachier-Lagrave, who is also in the mix on the leaderboard, will play in Toronto as well.

Besides weekly Titled Tuesday events, the CCT Finals are going to be the last significant online clash of Carlsen and Nakamura this year. 

More from NM AnthonyLevin
Team C-Squared Defends Impossible Endgame, Reaches Final

Team C-Squared Defends Impossible Endgame, Reaches Final

Nakamura, GothamChess Dream Team Wins In Armageddon

Nakamura, GothamChess Dream Team Wins In Armageddon