Daniil Dubov, Ju Wenjun Win World Rapid Chess Championships
Daniil Dubov and Ju Wenjun, the 2018 World Rapid winners. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Daniil Dubov, Ju Wenjun Win World Rapid Chess Championships

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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74 | Chess Event Coverage

With an undefeated score of 11/15, Daniil Dubov won the $60,000 first prize at the World Rapid Championship in St. Petersburg. With 10/12 Ju Wenjun also remained undefeated, retained her world rapid title and earned $40,000.

"Sometimes you play well and you win thanks to it, but sometimes you can just be lucky. I think the latter thing is more about me in the tournament. It was not that I was playing very well actually," said a modest Dubov after he won the biggest prize of his career.

This success came only a few days after Dubov's grandfather had passed away.

Asked about this by the Norwegian channel NRK, Dubov said: "My family obviously supported me and we had a short talk; everybody told me I have to go and play. I did it. I can't say it affected me dramatically. It wasn't like I was in my hotel room crying; not the case."

It was also revealed today that Dubov had been part of Carlsen's team for preparing for the 2018 world championship match. "I was in his team, so probably he gave me too many lessons!" Dubov said.


Dubov interviewed after his victory. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Dubov's day started with a white game against his "boss." At that point, it seemed that Carlsen needed to score 4.5/5 on the last day to win the tournament, and perhaps because of that, and the fact that his opponent knows everything about his openings, he chose the Stonewall Dutch. Dubov held a slight edge and the point was split on move 26.

Daniil Dubov World Rapid 2018Dubov was one of Carlsen's seconds this year. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

In this round Yu Yangyi defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi, and suddenly the Chinese GM was the sole leader.

Yu Yangyi World Rapid 2018Yu Yangyi did quite well, but the tournament lasted a few rounds too long for him. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

In round 11, Dubov played what he called "an important game" for the tournament. He was under slight pressure against Ukrainian GM Anton Korobov, and never was close to winning chances until his opponent suddenly blundered.

Korobov-Dubov World Rapid 2018Korobov-Dubov, an unexpected and important win. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

In the same round Carlsen was paired against Vishy Anand, who drew the game without getting into trouble. Not an ideal result for either player, although other top boards also saw many draws.

The Iranian rising star Alireza Firouzja tactically outwitted Peter Svidler:


Firouzja interviewed after the game.

Carlsen kept his slim chances alive with a crushing win with Black against Grigoriy Oparin, who efficiently ruined his position completely in just a few moves.

Oparin-Carlsen World Rapid 2018Oparin-Carlsen. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Wang Hao found a great save in his game with Firouzja that he seemed destined to lose:

A wild game in this round was Nepomniachtchi vs Salem Saleh, who walked with his king through a minefield but somehow avoided any explosions.

Salem Saleh World Rapid 2018Salem Saleh had a steel king in this game. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

In the penultimate round, Dubov scored another important win, as Black against Wang. It was unexpected how quickly the white king became a target. 

Dubov-Wang Hao World Rapid 2018Wang Hao-Dubov. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Dubov was the sole leader after this win, because co-leader Yu was beaten by Hikaru Nakamura. The second seed of the tournament had dropped some half-points here and there and seemed out of contention, but with the many draws among the top boards he suddenly had chances again.

Using the Scandinavian with 3...Qd8, Nakamura managed to slowly outplay his opponent in the endgame:

Hikaru Nakamura World Rapid 2018Hikaru Nakamura suddenly played for the medals again. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

And Carlsen? Well, he was also still there, half a point behind Dubov, after a similar endgame grind against Dmitry Andreikin.

Magnus Carlsen Isklar bottle World Rapid 2018Carlsen drinking water from his sponsor Isklar. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Those were two great efforts from Carlsen and Nakamura; games worthy of a champion. However, they were paired against each other in the final round, played a very solid game, drew and thus spoiled their chances as Dubov had drawn as well, relatively quickly against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Spectators World Rapid 2018A spectators' view of the last round. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

The last player who could still catch Dubov was Vladislav Artemiev, but he also drew his game with Sergey Karjakin in a final round that was thus somewhat anticlimactic. Dubov got the full, sole first prize of $60,000.

On tiebreak, which was performance rating, Mamedyarov took silver and Nakamura bronze. Artemiev and Carlsen just missed out on the medals. This group of four shared prizes and got $36,250 each.

Daniil Dubov interviewed World Rapid 2018Daniil Dubov interviewed as the new world rapid champion. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Before finishing the world rapid coverage, one game needs to be shown, which somehow escaped our attention yesterday. The flamboyant grandmaster Timur Gareyev played the Grob against Jan-Krzysztof Duda and got a winning position with it, but at some point the tables turned in a truly wild affair:

2018 World Rapid | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name RtgI Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 rtg+/-
1 25 GM Dubov Daniil 2723 11,0 2860 132,5 140,5 55,8
2 6 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2786 10,5 2846 131,5 138,5 24,0
3 2 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2844 10,5 2833 125,5 131,0 -1,4
4 3 GM Artemiev Vladislav 2812 10,5 2828 131,5 139,0 9,0
5 1 GM Carlsen Magnus 2903 10,5 2779 121,5 127,0 -34,4
6 169 GM Firouzja Alireza 2412 10,0 2848 130,0 136,0 157,4
7 11 GM Yu Yangyi 2758 10,0 2820 132,0 138,5 26,4
8 16 GM Giri Anish 2739 10,0 2815 129,5 135,5 30,2
9 8 GM Karjakin Sergey 2774 10,0 2794 126,5 133,5 6,8
10 43 GM Petrosian Tigran L. 2676 10,0 2791 125,0 132,0 44,8
11 15 GM Korobov Anton 2740 10,0 2780 132,0 139,0 19,0
12 35 GM Matlakov Maxim 2690 10,0 2765 124,5 132,0 31,6
13 38 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2683 10,0 2759 117,5 124,0 32,6
14 29 GM Anton Guijarro David 2708 10,0 2750 124,0 130,0 17,6
15 19 GM Grischuk Alexander 2732 10,0 2746 122,0 129,5 5,6
16 21 GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2731 10,0 2731 114,0 119,0 -0,4
17 59 GM Ponkratov Pavel 2650 10,0 2679 112,5 118,0 14,4
18 22 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2725 9,5 2801 134,0 139,5 33,6
19 7 GM Wang Hao 2782 9,5 2772 130,0 136,0 -0,6
20 40 GM Zubov Alexander 2681 9,5 2770 124,0 129,5 39,0

(Full final standings here.)

Ju Wenjun convincingly won the women's tournament, albeit with maybe some scary moments in the very last round. She finished a full point ahead of IM Sarasadat Khademalsharieh and GM Aleksandra Goryachkina.

"I played very good on the first and the second day. That made me more confident," said Ju. "I also want to thank Ni Hua coming her and helping me."


Ju Wenjun interviewed after her victory.

In today's first round, round nine of the tournament, Ju faced Kateryna Lagno in what was a repeat of the final of the knockout world championship in November. In a Pirc (by transposition) Lagno fell for a known trick and was already lost before the game had really started.

Ju vs Lagno World Rapid 2018Ju vs Lagno, a repeat of Khanty-Mansiysk. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE. 

After a good win vs Goryachkina in round 10, Ju was a point ahead of Khademalsharieh and offered a draw on move seven in their mutual game. It was accepted, and so Ju only needed a draw in the last game.

Considering the strong chess she had shown, nobody expected this to be a problem for the Chinese grandmaster, but in fact for the first time in the tournament she got in a lot of trouble. Luckily for her, Zhansaya Abdumalik let her advantage slip away and then immediately offered a draw.

Ju Wenjun World Rapid 2018Ju Wenjun retained her classical world title, and now also her world rapid title. | Photos: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

2018 Women World Rapid | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name RtgI Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 rtg+/-
1 2 GM Ju Wenjun 2584 10,0 2708 88,0 92,5 34,4
2 25 IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2402 9,0 2585 83,0 87,0 58,4
3 11 GM Goryachkina Aleksandra 2477 9,0 2563 84,0 89,0 27,2
4 1 GM Muzychuk Anna 2595 8,5 2577 83,5 89,5 -3,0
5 16 GM Tan Zhongyi 2442 8,5 2565 85,0 89,0 39,8
6 15 IM Abdumalik Zhansaya 2444 8,5 2533 86,0 90,5 28,8
7 5 GM Lagno Kateryna 2539 8,5 2488 79,0 83,0 -10,6
8 3 GM Lei Tingjie 2545 8,5 2472 77,0 82,0 -16,8
9 17 IM Bodnaruk Anastasia 2442 8,5 2459 67,5 72,5 6,4
10 30 IM Saduakassova Dinara 2381 8,0 2555 86,5 92,5 56,2
11 8 GM Muzychuk Mariya 2493 8,0 2547 90,5 97,0 17,8
12 26 GM Gunina Valentina 2396 8,0 2505 82,0 86,5 37,8
13 18 IM Arabidze Meri 2431 8,0 2440 75,5 80,5 3,4
14 9 GM Harika Dronavalli 2484 8,0 2398 70,5 75,5 -23,0
15 24 WIM Shuvalova Polina 2411 8,0 2334 69,5 74,5 -21,8
16 40 IM Gaponenko Inna 2320 8,0 2297 72,5 76,0 -1,4
17 95 FM Assaubayeva Bibisara 2153 7,5 2524 90,5 97,5 108,2
18 29 IM Mammadova Gulnar 2382 7,5 2492 83,0 89,0 35,6
19 10 GM Koneru Humpy 2479 7,5 2455 80,0 85,0 -7,2
20 4 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2540 7,5 2442 80,0 85,5 -28,4

(Full final standings here.)

Replay the broadcast of the third day.

Yury Solomatin contributed to this report.


Earlier reports:

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