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World Rapid: Caruana, Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi Shared First After Five Rounds | UPDATE: Video

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 6/17/14, 12:44 AM.

Fabiano Caruana, Sergey Karjakin and Ian Nepomniachtchi are tied for first place after the first day of the FIDE World Rapid Championship in Dubai. The three GMs scored 4.5/5 and are followed by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Magnus Carsen, Laurent Fressinet, Le Quang Liem and Sergei Movsesian who have 4 points. Rounds 6-10 will be played on Tuesday, and the final rounds 11-15 on Wednesday.

Update: here's a video with impressions from Dubai and interviews with Fabiano Caruana, Peter Svidler, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Loek van Wely, and Alexander Morozevich:

Some players, such as Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk and Ernesto Inarkiev (and the author of these lines), have decided to stay at the hotel closest to the Dubai Chess Club. However, arriving in the playing hall without sweaty armpits after this 9-minute walk (according to Google Maps) is a challenge with a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius! Consequently, the air-conditioned playing hall feels a tiny bit chilly for some of the players who are wearing very thin shirts.

These are the conditions of the 2014 World Rapid & Blitz Championships which took off on Monday in Dubai. The city, an emirate at the same time, is larger than UAE's capital Abu Dhabi in terms of population (over 2 million) but smaller by territorial size. It hosted the 1986 Olympiad, and these days a strong open tournament is held annually.

Unfortunately the first day of the World Rapid Championship wasn't a showcase of decades of experience in organizing chess events. During the first few hours the wireless internet in the tiny press room was too slow to check its speed (on a site like speedtest.net), the official website was blocked, the transmission of the games on the official site broke down several times, the live commentator was often unintentionally funny and media were sent out of the playing hall after the first three minutes of each round - luckily this rule was dropped after two rounds.

And still, it cannot be denied that we're dealing with a splendid tournament, with a huge and terribly strong field of players (including the world's top 7!), held in a beautiful building - the Dubai Chess Club.

The Dubai Chess & Culture Club

The playing hall is on the ground floor, where a spacious cafetaria is an excellent location for the players to spend their breaks. The top games are shown on TV screens, and even the World Cup football matches can be watched. Usually Magnus Carlsen and his friend & coach Peter Heine Nielsen can be found all the way at the back behind a laptop. On the first day they were both wearing football shirts.

On the first three days there's the World Rapid Championship, which is a 15-round Swiss. This means that the top GMs are facing relatively weak opponents in the first few rounds. Relatively, because they play the top players from the second half of the starting rank, and so we're talking 2600 players. (By the way, there are no less than 23 participants below 2500 Elo even though according to the regulations players must have 2500 or more.)

And some of these 2600 took down a 2700 opponent in the very first round. For example, Hikaru Nakamura, who is top seed in both the rapid and the blitz tournament based on the rapid and blitz ratings, lost to Venezuela's Eduardo Iturrizaga:

On board three Alexander Grischuk was held to a draw by Maxim Matlakov but another Norway Chess participant, Levon Aronian, also lost his first, to one of Vishy Anand's seconds (and a strong GM himself):

Levon Aronian, one of several top GMs to start with a loss

Anand himself was held to a draw by Ivan Salgado Lopez, who has recent practice with rapid chess thanks to his participation in the León tournament. Another Spaniard, the rising star David Anton Guijarro, did even better:

Bassem Amin, Egypt's number one player, beat Teimour Radjabov, who won a pawn but blundered:

After his early loss, Nakamura recovered well with wins against Lu Shanglei of China and Andrei Volokitin of Ukraine but that was followed by draws against Laurent Fressinet of France and Vladimir Potkin of Russia.

Magnus Carlsen beat Kiril Georgiev but already dropped half a point in round two against Gadir Guseinov, who had proved himself to be a tough opponent for anyone in quickplay during the long night in the hotel lobby in Shamkir after the closing ceremony of the Gashimov Memorial! 

Round 1, Carlsen vs Georgiev

Carlsen left the playing hall with a smile after he defeated Potkin in a nice attacking game:

In rounds 4 and 5 the Norwegian drew a worse ending against Evgeny Tomashevsky of Russia, and then beat Ernesto Inarkiev (also Russia).

Carlsen, on 4.0/5 after day 1

Don't miss the following game, another absolute gem by Baadur Jobava in the “New Veresov”:

After five rounds, three players scored 4.5 points - two of them despite just having played a tough event in Norway: Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia. Caruana played both Dutch participants, beat Ivan Sokolov and drew with Loek van Wely. He also defeated Viktor Bologan of Moldavia, Alexander Moiseenko of Ukraine and Baadur Jobava of Georgia.

Karjakin beat Ahmed Adly of Egypt, Vadim Milov of Switzerland, Yu Yangyi of China and Judit Polgar of Hungary, and drew with Jobava. Nepomniachtchi beat Boris Savchenko of Russia, Luka Lenic of Slovenia, Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany and Viktor Laznicka of Czech Republic (after which he was the only player on 4.0/4) and drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Ian Nepomniachtchi, the only player who won his first four
Sergey Karjakin, co-leader after five rounds

Vishy Anand, on 3.5 points

Judit Polgar started with 3.5/4 but then lost to Karjakin
Loek van Wely, undefeated, 3.5/5 - last week KingLoek won a blitz tournament in Morocco!

The World Rapid starts today at 3pm local time which is 1pm CET, 7am New York and 4am Los Angeles. The championship will be broadcast live on the tournament’s official website with online games and commentary.

7307 reads 32 comments
6 votes


  • 6 months ago


    Vishy draws the first blood against Carlsen in Round 12.

  • 6 months ago


    Nemo96 it depends. Aronian VS Carlsen tommorow will be a huge game. Aronian with white has a chance to take sole lead, and Carlsen has a chance to take a 1 point lead....most likely they will draw though.

  • 6 months ago


    Indian Standard Time is +5.30 GMT and the games started at 4:30pm here which means games started at 11 pm GMT. The article says the game were to start at 1 pm CET. This means CET is +2 GMT. 
    I don't understand why people are still saying it is +1 GMT and why can't chess.com authors mention the times in GMT too.

  • 6 months ago


    Sad about vishy, he could have won against Karjakin in round 10 but I think he still has a chance tommorow

  • 6 months ago


    Standings and results after todays rounds 5-10: http://chess-results.com/tnr137973.aspx?lan=1&art=2&rd=11&flag=30&wi=821

    Carlsen is in sole lead after beating Caruana in Round 10, Karjakin didn't have his best of days, Aronian and Grischuk are back in the tournament and Nakamura wore a chess.com T-shirt.Last 5 rounds of the Rapid are tomorrow.

  • 6 months ago


    Carlsen in sole lead after R10, plays Aronian in the next round.

  • 6 months ago

    IM DanielRensch

    Love Svidler's comment "I lost to the young Chinese Dude..."

    LOL! Tongue Out

  • 6 months ago


    Holy shit. Carlsen just beat Caruana in round 10 and now Carlsen is the sole leader at 8/10. They were tied for first in round 9 at 7/10 but now Carlsen is most likely going to win the rapid title.

  • 6 months ago


    Absolutely stunning.

    Caruana is a really, really strong player not only in the standard time controls, but also in the rapid. Does anyone remember his crazy rapid performance at Zurich?

  • 6 months ago


    Is Nakamura now sponsored by Chess.com?

  • 6 months ago


    All the top guys there or thereabouts in the standings.....tomorrow is going to be a very exciting day.

    Some excellent rook+pawn endgames.....think if I was watching a comp like this each month I may actually improve somewhat.


  • 6 months ago


  • 6 months ago


    I am so excited to have a Candian to cheer for. After 4 rounds Eric Hansen was on 3/4!!! However he lost to Grischuck (not much you can do against that guy) But still +1 in such a strong tournament is an excellent start.

  • 6 months ago


    @ildolphino: I missed 24.Qh5+ leading to 24...Kg8 and 25.Qh7#. I rejected 24.Qh6+, 24.Qg7+ and 24.Rg7, but failed to see 24.Qh5+. 22...Kxg7 would be a blunder. Thanks.

  • 6 months ago


    Thanks Peter, great report! Enjoy your stay and the walks Cool

  • 6 months ago


    More great games today....where is Boris Gelfand??


    CET is GMT+1...

  • 6 months ago


    Dekker I think CET is  "GMT +2". See, that is the problem I was talking about. GMT must always be there in an article which is read by people of so many different countries.

  • 6 months ago


    What happen to Nakamura

  • 6 months ago


    Love the GM Commentator!!...

    He gives us nice info about Dubai during the games & after each move he says '' Yes '' in a way I keep thinking action is on the way.....


    Carlsen Karjakin game is exciting!!

  • 6 months ago


    @goodSirN: what do you think of the following line 22. ... Kxh7 23. Rxd7+ Kh8 24. Qh5+

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