Is Hikaru the best blitz player?

27 November 2021

If Hikaru is the best blitz player is always a question that comes up in chess forums.

The simple answer to this reoccurring question is that Hikaru is not the best blitz player if we look at statistics. Taking all of the world blitz championships between 2006 and 2019, it is clear that Magnus Carlsen is way ahead, winning 5 times while Hikaru did not manage to win during the same period.

If we take the blitz games they played against each other, Magnus is again in the lead with 5 defeats against Hikaru, 16 draws, and 0 losses.

Lastly, their ratings also suggest Magnus is better when it comes to blitz games.

World Blitz Championships

Blitz World ChampionshipGames against each otherBest blitz Ratings as of June 2021
Carlsen5 wins
2 runner ups
1 third place
5 wins2892
Hikaru1 runner up
2 third place
0 wins2884
All data gathered in October 2021

Between 2006 and 2010, while the main blitz competition in the world was called FIDE World Blitz Championship, Hikaru did not even manage to get into the first three.

The 2011 event was canceled after a 9-round qualifying tournament to participate in the main event did not get enough bids.

Between 2012 and 2019, he achieved third place twice, once in 2014 and a second time in 2018. His best achievement was in 2019 when he managed to finish second after Magnus Carlsen.

During these 12 years, Magnus managed to win an amazing 5 times (2009, 20014, 2017, 2018, and 2019), while he finished second twice, and third place once.

What is a blitz game in chess?

A blitz game in chess is a quick, timed game. The time limits for these games are usually between three and ten minutes for each player per game.

This type of chess is often seen as the purest form of the sport because it’s not burdened by complicated opening moves or long, drawn-out endgames; instead, players focus on tactics during the middle stages of the game.

In a speed chess match, each participant has a very limited time to make all of their moves. The objective for each player is to make moves as fast as possible and checkmate their opponent’s king before they run out of time.

While many different types of time controls exist (for example, Fischer Random Chess has a base time control of 60 minutes plus 15 seconds per move), the most common type of speed chess today uses a “blitz” time control where each player has ten minutes or less for the entire game.

Why do people say Hikaru Nakamura is the best blitz player?

There could be many reasons people think he is the best. Here are just two of them:

  1. At the beginning of 2020, he was the highest-rated blitz player in the world.
  2. . He was the first to achieve a FIDE Blitz rating of 2879 in 2013.

People love him playing blitz and he has a huge following. Together with the above-mentioned achievements, it is easy to see why some people think he is the best when it comes to blitz but his overall results do not support that.

What makes someone a good blitz player? – has Hikaru got them all?

Being a good blitz player means having strong memorization skills, lightning-fast speed, and tactical vision.

Hikaru has all three of these traits, making him an ideal chess player for blitzing.

He can recall every game he played without looking back at old copies of chess magazines or records. Hikaru’s speed makes him a huge advantage in blitzing.


Hikaru Nakamura has been one of the greatest chess players for the past 20 years and is known to be one of the best players in the world, still, we came to the conclusion that we can not call him the ultimate best blitz player.