Play The Former Highest-Rated Blitz Player In The World

Play The Former Highest-Rated Blitz Player In The World

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Fans of blitz chess know the name well. Soon, fans everywhere will too. You may even get to play him.

GM Max Dlugy, a past world junior champion and former top-ranked player of the defunct World Blitz Chess Association, will await May's qualifier for Death Match 32. If his name rings a recent bell, it's probably because Dlugy is one of our most recent video authors!

See below for details on how you can qualify to be his opponent. First, let's go over some of Dlugy's career highlights:

  • In 1985, he won the World Junior Championship in Sharjah, UAE. Other Americans to have won the title include William Lombardy (1957), Mark Diesen (1976), Yasser Seirawan (1979), Ilya Gurevich (1990) and Tal Shaked (1997).
  • One year later, Dlugy played well again in the UAE. In his only Olympiad appearance, in Dubai, he went undefeated as a reserve player to win an individual bronze and help the U.S. win a team bronze. The performance clinched his grandmaster title.
GM Max Dlugy, 49, taking on GM Sam Sevian, 14, at the closing ceremony of the 2015 U.S. Championship.
  • In 1988, he played in the strongest blitz tournament of the era in Saint John, Canada (eventually won by 52-year-old GM Mikhail Tal!). In round two, Dlugy tied the sitting world champion, GM Garry Kasparov, 2-2 before losing in extra games. You can see some glimpses of his speed versus Kasparov at the 42:00 mark in this video:

You may also wish to see a shocking time-assisted stalemate (KQB vs. K) by Kasparov here.

  • From 1988-1993, he was the top-rated blitz player in the world.
  • Dlugy then went on to serve as USCF president in the early 1990s before working on Wall Street and operating a hedge fund. In his on-again, off-again chess career, he has played in nine U.S. Championships (from 1984-2006) with an overall plus score and two third-place finishes.
Dlugy at the 1983 World Junior Championship in France (courtesy personal site:

Dlugy has maintained a love and proclivity for blitz. In 2012 he played in the Moscow Blitz Championship and late last year he won a special match against past Death Match winner IM Yaacov Norowitz

Here's the first game from that encounter, which shows that the bishop-and-knight mate is not really possible with only five seconds remaining!

So how can you play the legend?

In order to qualify to meet Dlugy for three hours of bullet and blitz, you'll need to finish the month of May atop the blitz standings.

Here's a snapshot of the top active blitz players at the time of this writing:

You must also have played 100 games in May, but prior Death Match players are eligible to compete once again. You can only qualify to compete once per year, so GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Wesley So are still eligible since they were invited players in January's Death Match.

A reminder that unlike in 2014, there is no qualification based on bullet rating. Only the blitz rating will count.

There are other changes to the 2015 Death Matches, mostly the time controls and length of time of each of the three segments. You can read about the alterations here.

Good luck qualifying, and to the titled players reading this, remember that games you play for Titled Tuesdays count toward the 100-game minimum! The next edition is Tuesday, May 5, at 11 am Pacific Time.

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