In the 19th round of the World Chess Blitz Championship in Moscow, Russia, Magnus Carlsen faced Alireza Firouzja with black. Alireza lost on time while he was trying to restore a piece he dropped.

It's said that he made multiple appeals to the CA IA Takis Nikolopoulos. What exactly happened and what was the final outcome of the game?

  • 3
    It's all covered here: youtube.com/watch?v=YPysTEW0YZU
    – Ellie
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 16:40
  • @Phonon That recording starts after the exclamation by Carlsen that Firouzja claimed was disturbing.
    – Arthur
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 11:27
  • @Arthur The recap of that moment you're referring to is covered at 11:30 mark onward.
    – Ellie
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


As you said, Alireza Firouzja lost on time while he was trying to restore a piece he dropped. He appealed, but the appeal was denied.

It was denied for several reasons.

First, he appealed about Magnus uttering one frustrating word earlier in the game. That was denied because had he wanted to appeal that, he had to do it right then and there, but he did not.

He questioned whether the clock was in proper operating order, but that was also denied.

He was declared lost because, no matter how unlikely, there was a position that Magnus could mate him in.

Paragraph 6.9 of the FIDE Laws of Chess state:

The game is drawn, if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves.

It is my understanding that the formal appeal was on the Magnus' utterance as Alireza Firouzja had already been shown the rule in the rule book, so I do not believe that he formally appealed that part of the ruling.

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    Carlsen blundered a pawn and wasn't very happy but contained himself. Then he blundered a second pawn and couldn't stop himself saying something like "Oh, pooh!" in Norwegian. It was this that Firouzja complained disturbed him. This kind of complaint has no weight after the game has finished. If it really disturbed you at the time you have to stop the clock and call the arbiter at the time. The danger with this is that if the arbiter decides your complaint is frivolous he can award your opponent extra time. Otherwise you could do this to gain extra thinking time.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 17:14
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    But even the second time, it was still relatively contained, and a human reaction. As you said though, and the given reason for denying the appeal, he had to say something right then. Thanks for the explanations on the potential dangers. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 17:16
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    @BrianTowers It would seem that either both players must maintain absolute silence or the other one can claim a victory for being bothered/harassed or whatever. I am not at that level but I just naturally ignore anything the opponent says. I do recall in the 50s when trash talking the opponent was part of speed chess.
    – yobamamama
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:11
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    @yobamamama I'm pretty sure the standard isn't "absolute silence or you forfeit". There's middle ground; the arbiter can give a warning or time penalty, and probably wouldn't issue a forfeit unless the distraction was intentional and/or repeated.
    – D M
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 20:09
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    Possibly but that makes it very subjective depending on which arbiter and his feeling about talking.
    – yobamamama
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 20:10

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