Rapid & Blitz: World Ch in Dubai, Rating Lists, Nakamura Preparing Online?

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 5/23/14, 8:14 AM.

In the third week of June the strongest FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship in history will be held in Dubai, UAE. Eight players from the current live ratings top 10 will participate, including the world's top three - Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia), and ex-World Champion Vishy AnandHikaru Nakamura will enter both competitions as the favorite on paper: the American number one tops both the official rapid and blitz rating lists as published last week by FIDE.

Suddenly it's there again, and amazingly strong: the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship. It will be held 15-21 June at the Dubai Culture & Chess Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with three days of rapid chess on 16-18 June and then three days of blitz on 19-21 June. And, yes, Chess.com will be present to provide on-the-spot coverage!

Two years ago, a fairly strong field competed in Astana (Kazakhstan), but last year, in Khanty-Manskiysk, not many top players participated. But this year it's going to be a real treat! Check out the top 30 of the participants list (and don't miss the full list here). Only Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov are missing from the (classical) top 10:

World Rapid & Blitz 2014 | Participants (Top 30)

# Full Name Country Rating RRating BRating
1 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2882 2827 2837
2 Levon, Aronian ARM 2815 2785 2863
3 Grischuk, Alexander RUS 2792 2828 2801
4 Anand, Viswanathan IND 2785 2770 2827
5 Caruana, Fabiano ITA 2783 2840 2697
6 Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2772 2841 2879
7 Karjakin, Sergey RUS 2770 2781 2866
8 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2760 2799 2822
9 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA 2758 2749 2835
10 Svidler, Peter RUS 2753 2787 2757
11 Boris, Gelfand ISR 2753 2725 2719
12 Vitiugov, Nikita RUS 2747 2703 2674
13 Giri, Anish NED 2746 2674 2755
14 Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS 2735 2768 2816
15 Wang Hao CHN 2734 2716 2668
16 Eljanov, Pavel UKR 2732 2716 2674
17 Harikrishna Pentala IND 2726 2726 2669
18 Bacrot, Etienne FRA 2721 2692 2744
19 Morozevich, Alexander RUS 2719 2732 2741
20 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw POL 2716 2710 2726
21 Radjabov, Teimour AZE 2713 2750 2706
22 Fressinet, Laurent FRA 2711 2681 2705
23 Le Quang Liem VIE 2710 2724 2817
24 Moiseenko, Alexander UKR 2707 2699 2614
25 Naiditsch, Arkadij GER 2706 2687 2643
26 Jobava, Baadur GEO 2706 2688 2628
27 Kryvoruchko, Yuriy UKR 2704 2694 2628
28 Malakhov, Vladimir RUS 2701 2776 2700
29 Vallejo Pons, Francisco ESP 2700 2709 2628
30 Korobov, Anton UKR 2698 2770 2758

(Full list here)

The total prize fund of U.S. $400,000 is no doubt an important reason that almost all top players are going to Dubai. A clear first place in both events comes down to earning $80,000 in one week:

Prize fund for each event

# Prize (U.S. $)
1st Place 40,000
2nd Place 32,000
3rd Place 26,000
4th Place 21,000
5th Place 17,000
6th Place 13,000
7th Place 11,000
8th Place 9,000
9th Place 7,000
10th Place 4,000
11th-16th place 2,000 each
17th-24th place 1,000 each


The first chart above (taken from the official site) still uses the classical ratings to sort the players. It makes sense, because both rapid and blitz will be played so there isn't one clear rating for quick chess to sort the players. It also makes sense because rapid and blitz ratings have only been tracked for two and a half years now (since January 2012, with the first lists published July 2012) and not all (top) events are being tracked.

Nonetheless, it's interesting to have a look at those rapid and blitz ratings, especially since FIDE has made them more easily available since last week. On both lists Hikaru Nakamura is #1 and Magnus Carlsen #4:

FIDE May 1 Rapid Ratings | Top 10

Rank Name Title Country Rating Games B-Year
1 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2841 0 1987
2 Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2840 0 1992
3 Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2828 0 1983
4 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2827 0 1990
5 Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2811 14 1969
6 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2799 0 1985
7 Svidler, Peter g RUS 2787 0 1976
8 Aronian, Levon g ARM 2785 0 1982
9 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2781 0 1990
10 Malakhov, Vladimir g RUS 2776 23 1980

(Full list here)

FIDE May 1 Blitz Ratings | Top 10

Rank Name Title Country Rating Games B-Year
1 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2879 0 1987
2 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2866 0 1990
3 Aronian, Levon g ARM 2863 0 1982
4 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2837 0 1990
5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2835 0 1990
6 Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2827 0 1969
7 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2822 0 1985
8 Le, Quang Liem g VIE 2817 0 1991
9 Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2816 0 1990
10 Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2801 0 1983

(Full list here)

Nakamura says he has chances, but he doesn't see himself as a clear favorite in Dubai. He told Chess.com:

Being ranked #1 on both the rapid and blitz lists is very nice. However, it's a bit ironic on one hand since I have spent much of the last five years focusing only on classical chess. Prior to these past few years, I felt like I was a much stronger blitz player in particular. Nevertheless, I am proud of the achievement.

In general, I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a favorite in either event. However, after my performance in China two years ago, (second in rapid and blitz) I do think I am one of the main contenders along with the other top five players.

Nakamura at the recent Shamkir Chess tournament

Nakamura has been an online blitz (or should we say, bullet?) legend for ages. But although he took a more serious path and focused on classical chess in recent years, in the past few weeks he has been quite active online again - something he pointed out himself during the U.S. Championship. When Jennifer Shahade spoke about him, Nakamura tweeted:

Nakamura is back with a vengeance, one could say. For example, last Saturday he was in a fighting mood and played TONS of bullet chess here on Chess.com. FM Ingvar Johannesson blogged about it (including videos!) and wrote:

“First he became to my knowledge the first person to break 3000 with the new rating system and quickly reached a site record breaking 3005 bullet rating. (...) I went to sleep... I then had to wake up early for work and saw that Nakamura was STILL playing!! When I woke up his score vs Eilyisum was about 123-8.... They kept going till Nakamura reached his current record rating of 3080 which is just amazing! With the way he dispatches guys with 2400-2600 bullet rating I guess next stop is 3100!”

And guess what. Nakamura's current bullet rating is... 3100. On one of the last days of the U.S. Championship, he said in the chat of Chess.com/TV:

The time controls in Dubai are quite different indeed. In the Rapid Championship, each player will have 15 minutes plus 10 seconds additional time per move, starting from move 1. In the Blitz Championship, each player will have 3 minutes plus 2 seconds additional time per move, starting from move 1.

But whoever is favorite at these clock settings, it's surely going to be a great event. Here's a ChessVibes video from two years ago; the writer of this report plans to produce similar videos from Dubai:

12684 reads 34 comments
9 votes


  • 2 years ago


    Once again , I'll bet for magnus

    Nakamura just blabbering that he could win in bullet..

    There is always probably better than you..:-)

  • 2 years ago


    Why isn't Kramnik attending this tournament

  • 2 years ago


    Looking forward to your coverage, Peter!

  • 2 years ago


    DJOKER27 just because I don't like Nakamura that much doesn't mean that he isn't a good chess player or that my comments about Naka are irelavent. Also if Nakamura MVL and Caruana want to go online to play blitz and bullet that is their affair, i would hardly say that say Magnus Carlsen doesn't spend time with his fans!!!  gauranga  LOL good one!

  • 2 years ago


    bullet not chess?

  • 2 years ago


    Bullet is not chess.

  • 2 years ago


    Here are some of the bullet games Naka played during the USChessChamps:


  • 2 years ago


    Bruce Harper and Hikaru Nakamura are down as the authors .In a co authored book it is hard to work out who wrote what.The introduction does tell you that "Former Canadian Junior Champion Tyler Johnson contributed many of the games" 

  • 2 years ago


    @Djoker - He wrote a book on bullet. There's a difference :)

  • 2 years ago


    djoker, thanks for the link to Nakamura's book. I can't help but like the guy as a person since he contributes so nicely on the site, interacting with members on chess.com/tv and such. That's cool. 

    Product Details

    • Paperback: 224 pages
    • Publisher: Russell Enterprises, Inc (September 3, 2009)
    • Language: English

    About the Author

    American Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura is considered by many to be one of the best speed chessplayers in the world. Noted for his fighting spirit and unusual opening novelties, his laurels include winning the 2005 U.S. Championship, when he became the youngest champion since Bobby Fischer.
  • 2 years ago


    I was happy to see that Israeli GM Gelfand participates in this championship held in Dubai. Great news really. 

  • 2 years ago


    That is the game Kacparov. Knowing when to go into evasive manuevers and how to do it. His record on ICC and this site and Playchess speak for themselves. Untouchable. As an IM you should be able to recognize and admit that. The guy WRONTE THE BOOK ON BULLET. And as for C3p0, you never give nakamura any credit or compliment so how are your words even relevant at all here. You clearly dont like him although he is one of the few elites along with MVL and Caruana who actually spends time with fans on and offline. Grow up.

  • 2 years ago


    Is there a women's competition, too? 

    Will this event be shown on chess.com/tv?

  • 2 years ago


    Hmm, i would actually say the favourite for the blitz is Levon Aronian.....yes Naka, you are the best probably at bullet, but how does that help you? (also players like Carlsen and Aronian i don't think have played bullet much). Still even for Carlsen it would take a lot of practice clicking fast!

  • 2 years ago

    IM Kacparov

    I wouldn't say that Naka is the strongest bullet player - he's just a bit quicker than any other human, and even if you have a good position, you end up losing on time..

  • 2 years ago


    Naka wrote the book on bullet literally. Here is the link The shorter the time the stronger he gets relitive to the other elites. I don't think Magnus can touch him in 1 0. Ever. I also think Magnus will always be better in classical and possibly rapid and blitz. Bullet though Nakamura is something else.



  • 2 years ago

    NM DoctorMove

    I don't see Dimitry Andreikin on the list of participants as yet. I believe he would obtain a high place and not just because he defeated the 2013 world blitz champion, Le Quang Liem, in the death match here. About two years ago, I watched Andreikin decisively win an impromptu match of five games or so against Hikaru in blitz one night on ICC.  Sorry that I don't recall the exact score and the number of games they played. I remember Hikaru texting something to the effect that Andreikin was using his best openings. Of course, making a judgement on just these two experiences is not reliable.


    The above link is to the list of highest ICC Ratings where Andreikin is 2nd in the current blitz list and 3rd on the all-time best blitz ratings there. Hikaru is first and Grischuk is 2nd on the all-time list.

    Carlsen, Hikaru, Grischuk and Karjakin I guess will be the top favorites among the "blitz handicappers". Andreikin is the "dark horse" IMHO.

  • 2 years ago


    I think Naka and Karjakin have a good chance here.

    Though, it would be interesting if Magnus Carlsen won both the blitz and rapid championship. That would make him World Champion in three different ways.

  • 2 years ago


    If Naka is humble, then the world is flat.

  • 2 years ago


    Oh, I forgot the last comment, "I don't see how anyone could ever be better than me at bullet", so doctors no problem, he must be ok, maybe got dizzy under the sun or something, but he is back!.

Back to Top

Post your reply: