Carlsen, Grischuk To Defend World Rapid And Blitz Championships
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 Chess.com'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)
|13||Dominguez Perez, Leinier||GM||2739|
|19||Vallejo Pons, Francisco||GM||2716|
(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.
@almodiahki) December 23, 2016
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.
@LennartOotes) December 21, 2016
@almodiahki) December 22, 2016
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)
(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.
@ChessVibes) December 25, 2016
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 Chess.com/TV.