Carlsen, Grischuk To Defend World Rapid And Blitz Championships

Carlsen, Grischuk To Defend World Rapid And Blitz Championships

| 22 | Chess Event Coverage

Tomorrow the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship takes off in Doha, Qatar. World Rapid Champion Magnus Carlsen and World Blitz Champion Alexander Grischuk will be defending their titles against speed chess experts such as Hikaru Nakamura and Ian Nepomniachtchi.

If you liked's Grandmaster Blitz Battles and were thrilled by the playoff in Carlsen vs Karjakin, here's some good news. Over the next five days you'll be treated to more rapid and blitz chess, and the world's fastest players will be there.

Besides Carlsen, Grischuk, Nakamura, and Nepomniachtchi, favorites include Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin, Vishy Anand, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov while fan favorites such as Vassily Ivanchuk, Baadur Jobava and Alexander Morozevich will be there as well. A total of 120 players will be playing.

2016 World Rapid and Blitz Participants (Top 30)

# Fed Name Title Rtg
1 Carlsen, Magnus GM 2853
2 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime GM 2811
3 Aronian, Levon GM 2795
4 Karjakin, Sergey GM 2785
5 Anand, Viswanathan GM 2779
6 Nakamura, Hikaru GM 2779
7 Nepomniachtchi, Ian GM 2767
8 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar GM 2762
9 Eljanov, Pavel GM 2757
10 Ivanchuk, Vassily GM 2747
11 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw GM 2744
12 Svidler, Peter GM 2742
13 Dominguez Perez, Leinier GM 2739
14 Grischuk, Alexander GM 2737
15 Li Chao GM 2730
16 Tomashevsky, Evgeny GM 2722
17 Yu Yangyi GM 2721
18 Vitiugov, Nikita GM 2718
19 Vallejo Pons, Francisco GM 2716
20 Inarkiev, Ernesto GM 2714
21 Jakovenko, Dmitry GM 2709
22 Wei Yi GM 2706
23 Jobava, Baadur GM 2702
24 Bu Xiangzhi GM 2698
25 Malakhov, Vladimir GM 2698
26 Radjabov, Teimour GM 2696
27 Leko, Peter GM 2693
28 Matlakov, Maxim GM 2691
29 Cheparinov, Ivan GM 2689
30 Korobov, Anton GM 2689

(Full list here.)

Most eyes will be on Carlsen, who managed to win both the rapid and blitz in 2014, relatively nearby, in Dubai. Last year in Berlin, he had to allow Grischuk to take over his blitz title, but he did win the rapid.

Like last year, when he played the Qatar Master Open (which the sponsors sadly discontinued), Carlsen came with his whole family to spend Christmas in Doha. In fact, he hasn't been back to Norway after his match in New York. He had a holiday in Australia instead. After arriving in Qatar, main organizer GM Mohamed Al-Modiahki treated him well.

The FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship will be held December 26-30 in the Al Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena. This indoor sports arena was originally built to host the 2015 World Men's Handball Championship. It will be a nice, spacious accomodation for chess in the coming days.

This year, for the first time, the tournament is combined with the World Rapid and Blitz Championship for women. With only 36 entries, the participants' list for that event is much smaller, but it is still very strong indeed.

2016 World Rapid & Blitz Participants (Top 20)

# Fed Name Title Rtg
1 Ju Wenjun GM 2580
2 Muzychuk, Anna GM 2561
3 Koneru, Humpy GM 2557
4 Kosteniuk, Alexandra GM 2555
5 Harika, Dronavalli GM 2543
6 Lagno, Kateryna GM 2530
7 Gunina, Valentina GM 2525
8 Stefanova, Antoaneta GM 2512
9 Zhao Xue GM 2508
10 Dzagnidze, Nana GM 2507
11 Tan Zhongyi WGM 2492
12 Batsiashvili, Nino WGM 2489
13 Sebag, Marie GM 2488
14 Paehtz, Elisabeth IM 2474
15 Javakhishvili, Lela IM 2461
16 Ushenina, Anna GM 2453
17 Goryachkina, Aleksandra WGM 2452
18 Kashlinskaya, Alina IM 2450
19 Zhukova, Natalia GM 2448
20 Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat IM 2435

(Full list here at the bottom.)

The open tournament will start with three days of rapid chess over 15 rounds with five rounds per day. Then the blitz championship follows, over 21 rounds with 12 games on Thursday and nine on Friday. The women will play 12 rounds of rapid and 17 rounds of blitz. 

The rate of play for the rapid is 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. The blitz will see three minutes plus two seconds per move. In all tournaments, the players will be paired according to the Swiss pairing system.

The total prize fund for the open tournament is $400,000 with $40,000 for the winner of each championship. The women get to divide $80,000, with $10,000 going to the winner of each championship.

The event is organized by FIDE, the Qatar Olympic Committee, and the Qatar Chess Association. Agon has the commercial rights but is not much involved. 

Each day the action starts at 3 p.m. local time, which is 1 p.m. in Central Europe, noon London, 7 a.m. New York, 4 a.m. Pacific and 11 p.m. Sydney. You'll be able to follow the (top) games in Live Chess and watch the live show with commentary by GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko and IM Anna Rudolf on

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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