Magnus Carlsen enjoyed an undefeated victory over reigning US blitz champion Fabiano Caruana, winning by an 18-point margin.
The two were squaring off at the 2022 Speed Chess Championship – described as Chess.com’s “major speed chess event.”
Each match at the tournament consists of three segments; 90 minutes of 5+1 blitz games – in which, players get five minutes per game with one second per move increases – 60 minutes of 3+1 blitz games, and 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet games – the fastest form of chess, with one minute per player with one second increments. Players get one point for winning a game, and the player with the most points wins.
And Carlsen, in four hours against Caruana, didn’t lose a single game on Tuesday as he beat the American 22-4.
Carlsen won 18 games and had eight draws, including a stretch in which the five-time world champion won 11 games in a row.
While large winning margins have been achieved before in speed chess, going undefeated against such a strong opponent “definitely became a goal,” according to Carlsen.
“I didn’t know that it hadn’t been done before, but it certainly hadn’t been done against somebody as strong as Fabi,” Carlsen said on the official broadcast. “At some point, it basically became all that I was playing for.”
In speed chess, 10 wins in a row is called “adopting” your opponent.
“Towards the end of the blitz, I thought it would be really cool not to lose any games, and then when the bullet started, I felt I’m probably going to get a random loss here and there, but towards the end I was checking the clock, seeing how many games were left, and seeing if I could wrap it up.
“I think when you have these long matches, especially when they’re decided pretty early, you’ve got to set yourself goals to make them more interesting, and I understand that for Fabi this was agony, but for me this was motivation to try and keep my level up.
“It’s easy for both to let go of the rope, that you have seen in a lot of matches, that the level drops drastically, and the level did drop a little bit, but I still felt that I kept it up better than I usually do.”
The final of the tournament is to be played on December 20.