Steinitz memorial blitz: Carlsen, Lagno emerge champions

Magnus Carlsen and Kateryna Lagno reigned supreme in the Steinitz memorial online blitz chess tournament.

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen began as the odds-on favourite to win the Steinitz memorial online blitz chess tournament. Despite a hiccup or two, he won in the end with a round to spare.   -  Getty Images

Magnus Carlsen began as the odds-on favourite to win the Steinitz memorial online blitz chess tournament. Despite a hiccup or two, he won in the end with a round to spare.

It was quite fitting too, as the four-day event was organised by world chess governing body FIDE, in association with chess24.com, as a tribute to the first official World champion, Wilhelm Steinitz. The Austrian who reigned from 1886 to 1894 and whose 184th birth anniversary fell on May 17. Carlsen is the latest of the 16 undisputed World chess champions.

The Norwegian genius finished with 12 points from 18 rounds, two more than the second-placed Daniil Dubov of Russia. He wasn't overly pleased with his performance, though. “I was terrible from start to finish,” he said. 

The fact is, even a terrible Carlsen could win a tournament handsomely. He had begun well but had had to concede the lead to Dubov, who, however, lost three games in a row, making it easy for the World No. 1.

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Lagno reigns supreme

It wasn't easy for Kateryna Lagno to justify her top billing in the women's event. The Ukrainian, the reigning World Blitz champion, was forced to play an Armageddon tie-breaker against Lei Tingjie of China. The final game proved a marathon, with the top seed romping home on the 152nd move.

“Honestly, I don't enjoy playing online,” Lagno said. “But it's better than nothing. This tournament keeps me in shape. I have played 26 years in front of the opponent; so I like to see my opponent, to share ideas, to speak after the game. You know, old habits.”

The standings:

Men: 1. Magnus Carlsen (Nor) 12; 2. Daniil Dubov (Rus) 10; 3. Peter Svidler (Rus) 9.5; 4-6. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze), Jeffery Xiong (US) 9 & Quang Liem (Chn) 9; 7-8. Bu Xiangzhi (Chn) & Anton Korobov (Ukr) 8.5; 9. David Anton Guijarro (Esp) 7.5; 10. Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 7.

Women: 1. Kateryna Lagno (Ukr) & Lei Tingjie (Chn) 12; 3. Zhansaya Abdumalik (Kaz) 11.5; 4. Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus) 10.5; 5. Tan Zhongyi (Chn) 10; 6-7. Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (IRI) & Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul) 9; 8. Marie Sebag (Fra) 8.5; 9. Elizabeth Paehtz (Ger) 4.5; 10. Deysi Cori (Per) 3.

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