Magnus Carlsen becomes triple world champion for the third time in his career
The 32-year-old Norwegian is now the holder of all three world chess championship titles – in Classical, Rapid and Blitz – for the third time in his career, while no other player has ever won both the Rapid and Blitz titles in the same year.
“Gonna need more hands soon,” Carlsen joked on Twitter, posting a video of himself counting his now 15 world titles on his fingers.
It caps a triumphant end to Carlsen’s remarkable decade-long reign as the classical world champion, as he has already announced that he will not defend his title next year.
“It feels great,” he said in a press release after winning two world championship titles in three days.
“This is a really tough event. It started great yesterday but I wasn’t feeling I had a lot of energy… Yesterday I was trying to survive until day two and see if I had some chance… Today I felt a little bit better than yesterday and I tried to win as many games as I could.”
The Rapid and Blitz championships are more time pressured than classical chess. Rapid allows each player 15 minutes + 10 seconds additional time per move, starting from move 1 while Blitz is three minutes per player per game, with two seconds additional time per move.
Carlsen secured his fourth Rapid title on Wednesday, half a point ahead of Germany’s Vincent Keymer.
He then made a dramatic entrance to Round 1 of the World Blitz Championship, running through the playing hall and arriving at his board two minutes and 30 seconds late, still dressed in a tracksuit.
He still went on to win the match, with just 30 seconds on the clock.
“To some extent, the Blitz title is very important because it’s [won in a tournament with] more rounds… As far as the classical championship [goes] I won it but it wasn’t dear enough to hold on to.”
The USA’s Hikaru Nakamura had led the tournament after Day 1 but he eventually finished second overall, under pressure from Carlsen.
“While he is used to winning tournaments he’s never won this one,” Carlsen said afterwards in a press release. “When he started a bit shakey, then I knew I had a chance.”
However, Carlsen too faced pressure as he suffered two defeats at important moments – to Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexey Sarana.
But he held on to eventually seal victory by a point ahead of Nakamura and Armenia’s Haik M. Martirosyan in third place.