In 1988 both Maxim and legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov were at the pinnacle of their blitz chess powers. Kasparov was recognized as the most powerful blitz chess player in the World, but Maxim was the world’s highest ranked according to WBCA ratings, a ranking he held for four consecutive years.
The most prestigious blitz chess event ever held was the 1988 World Blitz Chess Championship. Heading into the thirty-two player knockout event, both Maxim Dlugy and Garry Kasparov had fans hoping and expecting that their favorite would win the event.
But as fate would have it, the two titans clashed in a round 2 match. Played before a huge live audience and televised around the world. With a $50,000 first prize at stake there was plenty of tension. And in spite of World Champion Kasparov’s supremacy in international chess, he was well aware of Maxim’s ability to play dazzling blitz.
Their best of four match was a see-saw affair which wound up tied 2 - 2. In the end, Kasparov eked out a narrow victory by winning the two game sudden death tie-break match, after failing to convert an advantageous endgame as White in game 5 (See games section).
The duel with Kasparov was certainly a high point for Maxim in blitz, but it was far from his highest performance rating. In the 1980s Dlugy routinely won strong blitz tournaments, often accumulating massive scores against strong Grandmaster opposition.
As a retired older player, Maxim is still a formidable opponent in blitz chess against many of the world’s elite players. According to Maxim, “I’d like to remain competitive with the World’s best until I’m sixty years old,” an ambitious goal in a young man’s game.
Max attributes his prowess at blitz to being able to have the confidence to analyze a position once without the need for double checking. “It’s like speed reading. Your brain is powerful enough to be able to perform correct calculations in one attempt, provided you train it.”