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Rapid & Blitz: World Ch in Dubai, Rating Lists, Nakamura Preparing Online?

Rapid & Blitz: World Ch in Dubai, Rating Lists, Nakamura Preparing Online?

In the third week of June the strongest FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship in history will be held in Dubai, UAE. Eight players from the current live ratings top 10 will participate, including the world's top three - Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia), and ex-World Champion Vishy AnandHikaru Nakamura will enter both competitions as the favorite on paper: the American number one tops both the official rapid and blitz rating lists as published last week by FIDE.

Suddenly it's there again, and amazingly strong: the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship. It will be held 15-21 June at the Dubai Culture & Chess Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with three days of rapid chess on 16-18 June and then three days of blitz on 19-21 June. And, yes, Chess.com will be present to provide on-the-spot coverage!

Two years ago, a fairly strong field competed in Astana (Kazakhstan), but last year, in Khanty-Manskiysk, not many top players participated. But this year it's going to be a real treat! Check out the top 30 of the participants list (and don't miss the full list here). Only Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov are missing from the (classical) top 10:

World Rapid & Blitz 2014 | Participants (Top 30)

# Full Name Country Rating RRating BRating
1 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2882 2827 2837
2 Levon, Aronian ARM 2815 2785 2863
3 Grischuk, Alexander RUS 2792 2828 2801
4 Anand, Viswanathan IND 2785 2770 2827
5 Caruana, Fabiano ITA 2783 2840 2697
6 Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2772 2841 2879
7 Karjakin, Sergey RUS 2770 2781 2866
8 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2760 2799 2822
9 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA 2758 2749 2835
10 Svidler, Peter RUS 2753 2787 2757
11 Boris, Gelfand ISR 2753 2725 2719
12 Vitiugov, Nikita RUS 2747 2703 2674
13 Giri, Anish NED 2746 2674 2755
14 Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS 2735 2768 2816
15 Wang Hao CHN 2734 2716 2668
16 Eljanov, Pavel UKR 2732 2716 2674
17 Harikrishna Pentala IND 2726 2726 2669
18 Bacrot, Etienne FRA 2721 2692 2744
19 Morozevich, Alexander RUS 2719 2732 2741
20 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw POL 2716 2710 2726
21 Radjabov, Teimour AZE 2713 2750 2706
22 Fressinet, Laurent FRA 2711 2681 2705
23 Le Quang Liem VIE 2710 2724 2817
24 Moiseenko, Alexander UKR 2707 2699 2614
25 Naiditsch, Arkadij GER 2706 2687 2643
26 Jobava, Baadur GEO 2706 2688 2628
27 Kryvoruchko, Yuriy UKR 2704 2694 2628
28 Malakhov, Vladimir RUS 2701 2776 2700
29 Vallejo Pons, Francisco ESP 2700 2709 2628
30 Korobov, Anton UKR 2698 2770 2758

(Full list here)

The total prize fund of U.S. $400,000 is no doubt an important reason that almost all top players are going to Dubai. A clear first place in both events comes down to earning $80,000 in one week:

Prize fund for each event

# Prize (U.S. $)
1st Place 40,000
2nd Place 32,000
3rd Place 26,000
4th Place 21,000
5th Place 17,000
6th Place 13,000
7th Place 11,000
8th Place 9,000
9th Place 7,000
10th Place 4,000
11th-16th place 2,000 each
17th-24th place 1,000 each


The first chart above (taken from the official site) still uses the classical ratings to sort the players. It makes sense, because both rapid and blitz will be played so there isn't one clear rating for quick chess to sort the players. It also makes sense because rapid and blitz ratings have only been tracked for two and a half years now (since January 2012, with the first lists published July 2012) and not all (top) events are being tracked.

Nonetheless, it's interesting to have a look at those rapid and blitz ratings, especially since FIDE has made them more easily available since last week. On both lists Hikaru Nakamura is #1 and Magnus Carlsen #4:

FIDE May 1 Rapid Ratings | Top 10

Rank Name Title Country Rating Games B-Year
1 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2841 0 1987
2 Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2840 0 1992
3 Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2828 0 1983
4 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2827 0 1990
5 Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2811 14 1969
6 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2799 0 1985
7 Svidler, Peter g RUS 2787 0 1976
8 Aronian, Levon g ARM 2785 0 1982
9 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2781 0 1990
10 Malakhov, Vladimir g RUS 2776 23 1980

(Full list here)

FIDE May 1 Blitz Ratings | Top 10

Rank Name Title Country Rating Games B-Year
1 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2879 0 1987
2 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2866 0 1990
3 Aronian, Levon g ARM 2863 0 1982
4 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2837 0 1990
5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2835 0 1990
6 Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2827 0 1969
7 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2822 0 1985
8 Le, Quang Liem g VIE 2817 0 1991
9 Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2816 0 1990
10 Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2801 0 1983

(Full list here)

Nakamura says he has chances, but he doesn't see himself as a clear favorite in Dubai. He told Chess.com:

Being ranked #1 on both the rapid and blitz lists is very nice. However, it's a bit ironic on one hand since I have spent much of the last five years focusing only on classical chess. Prior to these past few years, I felt like I was a much stronger blitz player in particular. Nevertheless, I am proud of the achievement.

In general, I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a favorite in either event. However, after my performance in China two years ago, (second in rapid and blitz) I do think I am one of the main contenders along with the other top five players.

Nakamura at the recent Shamkir Chess tournament

Nakamura has been an online blitz (or should we say, bullet?) legend for ages. But although he took a more serious path and focused on classical chess in recent years, in the past few weeks he has been quite active online again - something he pointed out himself during the U.S. Championship. When Jennifer Shahade spoke about him, Nakamura tweeted:

Nakamura is back with a vengeance, one could say. For example, last Saturday he was in a fighting mood and played TONS of bullet chess here on Chess.com. FM Ingvar Johannesson blogged about it (including videos!) and wrote:

“First he became to my knowledge the first person to break 3000 with the new rating system and quickly reached a site record breaking 3005 bullet rating. (...) I went to sleep... I then had to wake up early for work and saw that Nakamura was STILL playing!! When I woke up his score vs Eilyisum was about 123-8.... They kept going till Nakamura reached his current record rating of 3080 which is just amazing! With the way he dispatches guys with 2400-2600 bullet rating I guess next stop is 3100!”

And guess what. Nakamura's current bullet rating is... 3100. On one of the last days of the U.S. Championship, he said in the chat of Chess.com/TV:

The time controls in Dubai are quite different indeed. In the Rapid Championship, each player will have 15 minutes plus 10 seconds additional time per move, starting from move 1. In the Blitz Championship, each player will have 3 minutes plus 2 seconds additional time per move, starting from move 1.

But whoever is favorite at these clock settings, it's surely going to be a great event. Here's a ChessVibes video from two years ago; the writer of this report plans to produce similar videos from Dubai:

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