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Kazakhstan To Host FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships Dec. 26-30
Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura last year at the World Rapid in Warsaw. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Kazakhstan To Host FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships Dec. 26-30

PeterDoggers
| 46 | Chess Event Coverage

The FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships will be held December 26-30, 2022 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The International Chess Federation confirmed the dates and the host city on Monday in a press release.

Traditionally, two of the most exciting events on the chess calendar are held in the last week of the year, and this year will be no different. Between Christmas and New Year's Day, once again the world rapid and blitz championships will be held. This time, the host city is Kazakhstan's largest metropolis, Almaty—10 years after the event was held in the capital, Astana.

The main sponsor of the event is Freedom Finance, an investment company that is a part of Freedom Holdings (Nevada, U.S.) which is engaged in investment banking, asset management, and capital markets services. The company owns the Kazakh bank Freedom Finance, the online store Freedom24, and the Kazakhstani broker Freedom Finance JSC among other assets.

FIDE's Director General Emil Sutovsky confirmed to Chess.com that the format of the two tournaments will remain unchanged. This means that the world rapid championship will be a Swiss system with 13 rounds for the open tournament and 11 rounds for the women's tournament, played over three days. The world blitz will be a Swiss system as well with 21 rounds for the open tournament and 17 rounds for the women's tournament on the last two days. 

Last year, the events were held in Warsaw, Poland, where GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov won the rapid tournament and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the world blitz. In the women's sections, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk won the world rapid and IM Bibisara Assaubayeva the world blitz.

The world rapid and blitz championships have used this format since 2012. In the open sections, the rapid was won three times by Carlsen, in 2014, 2015, and 2019. The Norwegian GM won the world blitz four times, in 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019. GM Hikaru Nakamura, who recently won his first world title at the Fischer Random championship, hasn't won gold yet in either the rapid or blitz but is always among the top favorites. So far, names of participants haven't been announced yet.

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