Artemiev Wins Star-Studded $10,000 Abu Dhabi Super Blitz Challenge

Artemiev Wins Star-Studded $10,000 Abu Dhabi Super Blitz Challenge

| 14 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Vladislav Artemiev of Russia won the $5,000 first prize in the Abu Dhabi Super Blitz Challenge on Wednesday. The Russian grandmaster defeated GM Oleksandr Bortnyk of Ukraine in the knockout final; GM Daniil Dubov came third.

Organized by the Abu Dhabi Chess & Culture Club, the Abu Dhabi Super Blitz Challenge had a star-studded field, with five players from the world's top 10: GMs Fabiano Caruana, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Alexander Grischuk, and Anish Giri.

Other big names included GMs Leinier Dominguez, Sergey Karjakin, Hikaru Nakamura, Dmitry Andreikin, and even Peter Svidler. The eight-time Russian champion doesn't make an appearance on our site too often, and he definitely showed his skills in online chess.

A total of 1,215 players from 107 federations played: 300 GMs, 276 IMs, 32 WGMs, 329 FMs, 39 WIMs, 88 CMs, 106 NMs, 29 WFMs, and 16 WCMs. 

The tournament started as an 11-round Swiss, from which the top-eight players based on Sonneborn-Berger would qualify for a knockout phase. All games were played at's Titled Tuesday time control: three minutes plus a one-second increment.

Live commentary was provided by GM Aryan Tari and IM Danny Rensch.

After six rounds, Russian GMs Andreikin and Artemiev were still on perfect scores together with GMs Klementy Sychev (also Russia) and GM Zaven Andriasian (Armenia). One top player was already out of contention by then; MVL had a terrible day at the office and scored just 2/6, after which he left the tournament.

Nonetheless, a win against MVL was a great achievement for India's IM Rakesh Kulkarni (@Rakesh). He beat the current leader of the Candidates Tournament! Vachier-Lagrave's 1...a6 didn't provide the same success that GM Tony Miles once had with this move against GM Anatoly Karpov.

Speaking of staff members, our Spanish translater FM Mario Gavilan Diaz (@AquivaRubinstein) also played, but he made it to this report with a sad loss. He fell into a theoretical trap played by another good friend of, Chessbrah GM Aman Hambleton (@KNVB), who had just published a video on this very topic earlier in the day!

Tips And Tricks Of The London System: Bxh7

Watch Aman Hambleton's brand new video on the London System!


After seven rounds it was Andreikin (@2Vladimirovich90) who was the only player left on a perfect score, and two rounds later he was again the sole leader with 8.5/9. Around that time, the tournament saw some elite clashes. For instance, here's Svidler facing Caruana.

The Russian GM failed to win a won endgame, but he would still qualify for the knockout while Caruana missed it by 5.25 SB points.

Svidler was the oldest of the eight players who made it to the knockout, and he got there with impressive wins against both Grischuk and Nakamura in the final two rounds. The American player needed to win this game,  and he played a somewhat risky line of the French which Svidler dealt with strongly:

Peter Svidler 2020
Peter Svidler. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Despite his excellent start of 8.5/9, poor Andreikin (@2Vladimirovich90) failed to qualify as he finished with two losses against his compatriots Nepomniachtchi and Dubov.

The biggest surprise among the qualifiers was 16-year-old FM Artur Avalyan from Yaroslavl, Russia. In round 11, he outplayed the seasoned GM Georg Meier. Avalyan knew his theory in the Owen's Defense, incidentally another Tony Miles specialty.

The special $500 prize for the best female player went to Polish WIM Anna Kubicka (@Savagelittlemole), who scored 7.5/11. Her biggest scalp was GM Ilia Smirin (@Tapuah) in round seven.

Final Standings Swiss | Players With 9 Points Or More

# Fed Title Name Handle Rtg Pts SB
1 GM Nihal Sarin @nihalsarin 3047 9.5 69.75
2 GM Ian Nepomniachtchi @lachesisQ 3108 9.5 67.5
3 GM Peter Svidler @PSvidler 3046 9.5 65.75
4 FM Artur Avalyan @Hubbery 2733 9.5 63.5
5 GM Oleksandr Bornyk @Oleksandr_Bortnyk 3051 9.5 63.25
6 GM Daniil Dubov @Duhless 3085 9.5 63
7 GM Vladislav Artemiev @Sibelephant 3223 9.5 54
8 GM Parham Maghsoodloo @Parhamov 3051 9 64.5
9 GM Vladimir Baklan @bakki78 2794 9 64
10 IM Sean Winshand Cuhendi @SeanWinshand 2862 9 61.5
10 GM David Paravyan @David_Paravyan 2986 9 61.5
12 GM Zaven Andriasian @Zaven_ChessMood 2967 9 59.75
13 GM Fabiano Caruana @FabianoCaruana 3066 9 59.25
14 IM Gabor Nagy @Gabix_94 2922 9 59
14 GM Sam Sevian @Konavets 3038 9 59
16 IM Tomas Laurusas @IMTominho 2830 9 58.5
17 GM Michael Roiz @MichaelRoiz 3077 9 55.75
18 IM Alisher Suleymenov @alishersuleymenov 2829 9 55
19 IM Tuan Minh Le @wonderfultime 2952 9 54.75
20 GM Krishnan Sasikiran @g3god 2938 9 54.5
21 GM Ognjen Cvitan @TerorPtica 2951 9 53

Below you can find all the games of the exciting knockout phase, which consisted of two-game matches (also 3+1 games) and, if needed, an armageddon to follow. Among the (dramatic) highlights was Nepomniachtchi's loss to Artemiev in their first game, after he had built up a winning position:

Here's the only armageddon game that was played. As he finished in a higher position in the Swiss, Svidler could choose the color. He went for Black and got four minutes and draw odds against Dubov's five minutes. The game was decided early due to a blunder:

Artemiev won the final convincingly against Bortnyk, a true blitz specialist. With a combination of solid chess and tactical wit, the 23-year-old Ukrainian GM had knocked out both Avalyan and Sarin, but the reigning European Champion was a bridge too far. Don't miss Artemiev's beautiful, final move, worthy of $5,000.

All knockout games

Abu Dhabi Super Blitz Challenge Bracket


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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