Magnus Carlsen recovered from a bad start on the final day and went on to add the FIDE World Blitz Chess Championship title to his rapid crown on Saturday in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Carlsen finished on 16 points from the 21 rounds and thus kept out Russian grandmasters Daniil Dubov (15.5 points) and Vladislav Artemiev (15). The 32-year-old Norwegian has thus defended both his crowns to capture his 17th World Championships title overall and add to his dominance across formats (he has won 5 classical titles, 5 rapid and 7 blitz).

Carlsen has defended both his crowns to capture his 17th World Championships title overall and add to his dominance across formats(REUTERS)

Russian chess great Garry Kasparov reserved high praise for Carlsen after the victory. “At this point Magnus doesn’t need a coach, he needs a carpenter to build more trophy cases” said Kasparov in an X post. Among the joint leaders on Friday, Carlsen had a bad start to the final day losing to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in Round 13 for his only defeat of the event. But he bounced back with six straight wins, which proved enough despite draws in the last two rounds.

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“I felt like I was running on adrenaline the whole day. But everybody is struggling at the end, and nobody plays their best. It was about surviving one game at a time, and I am happy I made it,” Carlsen was quoted as saying by FIDE.

Meanwhile, Indians Nihal Sarin and Arjun Erigaisi were among the joint leaders after the first round but couldn’t carry the momentum into the final round. Erigaisi and Sarin, who were tied on top with 9 points after 12 rounds on Friday, finished sixth and 43, respectively. Erigaisi ended with 14 points after three wins, two defeats (including against Carlsen) and four draws. Sarin dropped dramatically after failing to notch up a single win on Saturday (six draws and three defeats).

Aravindh Chithambaram (14th, 13.5 points) was the second-best Indian followed by R Praggnanandhaa (28th, 12.5 points). D Gukesh, who secured his Candidates spot, finished 38th with 12.5 points. In the women’s blitz event won by Russia’s Valentina Gunina, rapid silver medallist Koneru Hampy signed off fifth with 10.5 points from 17 rounds.

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