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Artemiev Scores At Mind Games, 2nd Behind Carlsen In Blitz
Vladislav Artemiev won the blitz at the Mind Games. | Photo: Gu Xiaobing/IMSA Elite Mind Games.

Artemiev Scores At Mind Games, 2nd Behind Carlsen In Blitz

GM Vladislav Artemiev jumped to second place in the blitz world rankings after winning 79.2 Elo points at the IMSA Elite Mind Games in China. Alexander Grischuk won no less than 127.2 points.

The second IMSA Elite Mind Games championship took place 8-16 December in Huai'an, Jiangsu Province, China. It was organized by the Board and Card Games Administrative Center of the General Administration of Sport, together with the Municipality of Huai’an.

The competition included games such as draughts, go and bridge, but this report obviously focusses on the game played on 64 squares with 32 pieces!

12 male and 12 female players participated in three different tournaments: rapid (two days, 20 minutes plus 10 seconds), blitz (two days, 22 rounds, 3 minutes plus 2 seconds) and basque (two days, five-round Swisses, 20 minutes plus 10 seconds, two games simultaneously against the same player). Each event had a prize fund of €50,000/$58,780 (men) and €33,000/$38,795 (women).

IMSA Elite World Mind Games Opening Ceremony

An opening ceremony in China is spectacularly beautiful, guaranteed. | Photo: Gu Xiaobing/IMSA Elite Mind Games.

The male participants were Vladislav Artemiev (Russia), Le Quang Liem (Vietnam), Yu Yangyi (China), Ding Liren (China), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Wang Hao (China), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Dmitry Andreikin (Russia), Rauf Mamedov (Azerbaijan), Anton Korobov (Ukraine), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) and Pentala Harikrishna (India).

The female players were Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia), Harika Dronavalli (India), Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine), Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine), Ju Wenjun (China), Zhao Xue (China), Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Elisabeth Paehtz (Germany, Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), Tan Zhongyi (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia).

Basque, Elite Mind Games

Mamedyarov vs Ding in the basque, always an interesting variant. | Photo: Gu Xiaobing/IMSA Elite Mind Games.

The winners were Andreikin and Stefanova for the rapid, Artemiev and again Stefanova for the blitz and Grischuk and Zhao Xue for the basque.

An interesting side story were the rating developments for especially the blitz. Both Artemiev and Grischuk finished on 16 points out of 22 games, and gained a bucket load of rating points.

2017 IMSA Elite Mind Games | Blitz Final Standings

Rk SNo Fed Name Rtg Pts TB1 TB2 TB3
1 10 Artemiev, Vladislav 2798 16 2 167 13
2 6 Grischuk, Alexander 2725 16 0 157.5 14
3 3 Andreikin, Dmitry 2771 14 0 150 10
4 2 Yu Yangyi 2701 12 0 119.5 9
5 7 Ivanchuk, Vassily 2815 11 1 112 9
6 4 Ding Liren 2837 11 1 106 7
7 12 Le, Quang Liem 2771 10 3 95.5 7
8 5 Wang Hao 2737 10 2 102.5 6
9 11 Harikrishna, Pentala 2759 10 1 107 6
10 1 Mamedov, Rauf 2755 8 0 77 5
11 8 Korobov, Anton 2760 7 2 79.5 5
12 9 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2770 7 0 74.5 3

Vladislav Artemiev at the Mind Games in China

Vladislav Artemiev showed himself to be a blitz monster in China. | Photo: Gu Xiaobing/IMSA Elite Mind Games.

Artemiev gained 79.2 Elo points and with that, the 19-year-old Russian GM moved up from #13 to #2 in the world blitz rankings. Grischuk, who had lost 76 points in his match with Fabiano Caruana at the Champions Showdown in St. Louis, won them all back and more. His +127.2 points got him back into the world's top 10. Andreikin is there too, winning 56.8 points.

Live chess ratings, 16 December 2017

Live ratings per 16 December. | Image courtesy 2700chess.com.

With such huge swings, not everyone will take the blitz ratings very serious just yet. It doesn't help either that we can still see the name of Iuri Shkuro in the world's top 10, about whom we wrote for the first time in the summer of 2016:

As it turns out, the events where Mr. Shkuro won his points have a lot of similarities. They were all held in Ukraine, and each time he played against (much) lower rated opponents. He gained points by getting a huge score, while possessing a K factor of 20.

Top grandmasters are making jokes about him (what else can they do?). For instance, during the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz one super GM, known for his trash talk skills, said he had "reached his life goal" by getting ahead of Shkuro in the list.

Here's a game by Artemiev where he beats Grischuk in just 26 moves:

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