Carlsen wins world blitz title
Carlsen wins world blitz title

Newly-crowned World Rapid champion Koneru Humpy lost steam in the final rounds as she missed a chance of completing a grand double in the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Moscow on Monday. Kateryna Lagno of Russia won with 13 points, defending the title she won last year in St Petersburg, Russia.

In the Open section, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who too won the World Rapid Championship on Saturday, defeated close rival Hikaru Nakamura in a two-game playoff to complete a hat-trick of titles in the annual World Blitz Championship.

Nakamura had tied for the top spot after winning his last round game to join Carlsen at the top with 16.5 points after 21 rounds. The first game of the two-game playoff ended in a draw but the Norwegian won the second to clinch the issue.

However, things did not end on a positive note for Humpy. Defeats in the last three rounds dashed her hopes as she finished 12th overall with 10.5 points. But it was still a memorable trip to Russia for the Indian Grandmaster as she claimed her first World Championship on Saturday, breaking the jinx of missing out on the title in Classical chess on many occasions.

At one point on Monday, Humpy, who was placed joint second after nine rounds, was sharing the lead with top seed Kateryna Lagno of Russia after Round 13 in the 17-round tournament. Both had 10 points with each suffering only one defeat and the fifth-seed Indian was in a perfect position to go for the kill in the next four rounds as Lagno, who had taken over the lead from Humpy after the seventh round, lost to Alisa Galliamova of Russia in the 13th round.

However, Humpy could not capitalise on the position and was held to a draw by Galliamova in the 14th round, which pushed her to second spot, half-a-point behind Lagno, who had registered another crucial win.

Things went awry for the Indian, who had returned to competitive chess last year after a two-year hiatus for the birth of her daughter. Humpy lost the last three rounds. Harika Dronavalli, the other Indian in women’s blitz competition, finished 25th.