Mamedyarov wins FIDE World Rapid Championship
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Ian Nepomniachtchi went into the final day as the big favourite, but in the end it was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan who emerged as the winner of the FIDE World Rapid Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. That final day was marked by Mamedyarov's amazing winning streak of five consecutive games, while Nepomniachtchi, who scored 4.5/5 on both Thursday and Friday, didn't win a single game.
The FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship took place June 6-8 in the Ugra Chess Academy of Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. The city has hosted many chess events over the years, including four World Cups and a Chess Olympiad.
The strongest players who travelled to Siberia were Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Gata Kamsky (USA), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia), Dmitry Andreikin (Russia), Nikita Vitiugov (Russia), Le Quang Liem (Vietnam) Vladimir Akopian (Armenia) and Ivan Cheparinov (Bulgaria). Sergey Karjakin (Russia) decided not to defend his title (which he won last year in Astana, Kazakhstan) but win the Sberbank rapid instead!
This meant that only one player of the current top 10 participated (Grischuk), which was quite unfortunate for an official World Championship. On Twitter this led to a debate between Azerbaijan's top GM Teimour Radjabov and Berik Balgabaev, the assistant of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov:
With all due respect to my colleagues,the tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk is no way a World Championship and should not have this status.— Teymur Rajabov ( @rajachess) June 7, 2013
@rajachess at the same time theses guys aren't guilty that you and some others of your colleagues didn't show up here— Berik Balgabaev ( @bbalgabaev) June 7, 2013
@bbalgabaev More than that, if not the circumstances, I would take part in it my-self. But still, Carlsen, Aronian,Anand,Kramnik wouldn't.— Teymur Rajabov ( @rajachess) June 7, 2013
@rajachess free airtickets & accommodation in suites. Beautiful city& playing hall. What do you expect more? Can you advise pls?— Berik Balgabaev ( @bbalgabaev) June 7, 2013
@bbalgabaev Yes I can. First of all the swiss system is not the best for these kind of events, also top players should have guaranteed prize— Teymur Rajabov ( @rajachess) June 7, 2013
This went on a bit further; you can read the full thread here.
It's not easy to explain who so many top players decided to skip the event this year. It probably wasn't the prize fund: US $200,000 for the Rapid Championship and the same for the Blitz Championship that follows right after. Was it FIDE's decision to make it a Swiss event, where any player rated 2500 or higher could participate?
In any case, the tournament was very interesting all the same! The fifteen rounds were spread out over three days, and there was one player who dominated the field both on Thursday and Friday: Ian Nepomniachtchi. The 22-year-old Russian grandmaster was in great shape, and scored 4.5/5 on both days.
By then he had created a gap of two points in the leader board, where Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria and Ildar Khairullin of Russia were tied for second place with 7/10. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Aleksey Dreev (Russia), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Vladimir Potkin (Russia) and Vladimir Akopian (Armenia) were all on 6.5 points.
The famous Russian commentator GM Sergey Shipov gave the following comment about Nepomniachtchi on the tournament website:
Ian is lucky at the tournament to have three positive factors combined luckily for him, – Shipov thinks. He is in a great shape himself. And plus, his main competitors don’t show their best performance, due to different reasons. Grischuk is keeping secrets in his openings. Ponomariov is not in the best health shape. Dreev is not so young anymore to cope with tough tournament. I was expecting more from Andreikin, but maybe he doesn’t force the preparations, for he has more important tournament ahead – Tal Memorial.
Ian found the right balance between light and deep game. This is very important in rapid chess, where you don’t have a possibility to sink into the depth of the game. He plays very quickly and thinks deeply only in critical moments.
In recent years Nepomniachtchi was not so successful, but he worked hard and sooner or later the result has to come. In my opinion, he has a great chance to win two golden medals but let`s see what will happen.
However, to everyone's surprise, on the final day Nepomniachtchi didn't manage to win a single game! He drew with Vladimir Akopian and Sergey Movsesian (both Armenia), then lost to Alexander Grischuk (Russia) and then drew two more games, with his compatriots Ernesto Inarkiev and Alexander Riazantsev.
There was one player who made the most of the situation: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who is back to being Azerbaijan's highest rated player since Teimour Radjabov's disastrous recent results. On Saturday "Shakh" was in a class of his own, beating all five opponents: Vladimir Potkin, Nikita Vitiugov, Sergey Movsesian, Gadir Guseinov and Ernesto Inarkiev.
Here are a few interesting games
World Rapid Championship 2013 | Final standings
|4||GM||Le, Quang Liem||VIE||2681||10.0|
|16||GM||Nguyen, Ngoc Truong Son||VIE||2625||8.5|
|19||GM||Vallejo Pons, Francisco||ESP||2706||8.5|
|28||GM||Salem, A.R. Saleh||UAE||2531||7.5|
|34||GM||Vasquez Schroeder, Rodrigo||CHI||2563||7.5|
|50||GM||Ghaem Maghami, Ehsan||IRI||2588||6.5|
|55||Ram, S. Krishnan||IND||2313||4.5|
It's not over for the players in Khanty-Mansiysk; on Sunday they will continue with the World Blitz Championship (9-10 June). The time control is 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move. Like the Rapid tournament, the Blitz is a Swiss event, but this time with 15 double rounds: one game with white and one with black against the same opponent.