Norwegian chess champion Magnus Carlsen did it again on Friday. After winning the World Chess Championship last fall, he now holds the titles of World Rapid Chess Champion and World Blitz Chess Champion, too.
The matches played out in Dubai, right after Carlsen ended up a rare second at Norway Chess in Stavanger last week. That tournament in Stavanger was won by Sergey Karjakin, a Ukrainian-born Russian, with Alexander Grischuk of Russia third. Carlsen had aced the blitz round in Stavanger, too, but conceded that he played too “unevenly” in the rest of Norway Chess “for me to be really satisfied.”
So then it was on to Dubai where he impressed everyone, becoming the first chess player in history to become both the world champion in classic chess and then rapid chess at the same time. He went on to set yet another record Friday, becoming the first person to ever hold all three world champion titles in chess.
“He breaks new records all the time,” said Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s chess commentator Torstein Bae. “There aren’t many who doubt he’s the best chess player of all time.”
Some of the credit may go to the way Carlsen spent the month of May, “with two busy weeks” of events in Norway, the Netherlands and New York, followed by “two relatively quiet weeks at home,” Carlsen wrote on his blog. He called that “a reasonable preparation” for Norway Chess 2014, “and I did feel great both during the initial blitz tournament that I won … and in the few main rounds.”
On Friday, Carlsen called everything in Dubai “perfect” after he clinched two more world championship titles. Carlsen said at a press conference after winning the blitz championship that he’d laid a trap for his opponent, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, “that he went right into.”
Bae called Carlsen’s performance “colossally impressive,” adding that “this will go into the history books.”
After some summer holiday, Carlsen will be back in action at the Chess Olympiad on home turf in Tromsø, northern Norway, in August. Bae said Carlsen will function as a captain for the Norwegian team, with an Olympiad victory posing a new goal for Carlsen.
“It will be a new challenge to lead the national team to success,” Bae told NRK. “He sets personal records all the time, but winning a team victory will be something entirely different.”