The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Richard Rapport

Richard Rapport
Full name
Richard Rapport
Born
Mar 25, 1996 (age 26)‎
Place of birth
Szombathely, Hungary
Federation
Hungary
Profiles

Rating

Bio

Richard Rapport is a Hungarian grandmaster, a top-10 player in the world (as of May 2022), and a runner-up in the FIDE Grand Prix 2022, which secured him a place at the FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2022

This former chess prodigy also possesses a uniquely creative opening approach combined with an exquisite positional style.

Style

GM Daniil Dubov, Rapport's friend who challenged him often in junior championships, recalled that in his early years: "Rapport was a rock-and-roll player. He chose opening moves seemingly at random and could start his game with any pawn. It was a crazy but very talented play." 

After 2017, Rapport's style became more solid. "He transformed from a swashbuckling tactician into a subtle positional player," said Dubov. Even now, Rapport's creative opening ideas can catch even the best players in the world off guard, as it happened to GM Fabiano Caruana

Do you want to see more manifestations of Rapport's genius? Watch this video about his "Top Five Unbelievable Moves."

Early Chess Career

Rapport learned how to play chess when he was four years old. His first success came at the age of nine when he won the European championship in the under-10 section. Rapport quickly progressed under the coaching of GM Robert Ruck and became an FM in 2008, an IM in 2009, and a GM in February 2010 at 13 years and 11 months, faster than his compatriot chess prodigies, GM Judit Polgar and GM Peter Leko

In 2012 Rapport shared first with GM Alexander Ipatov at the World Junior Championship but ended as a runner-up on tiebreak. 

Richard Rapport in 2016. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

In early 2013, Rapport tied for first with GM Arkadij Naiditsch at Tata Steel Group B and earned an invitation to the main event the next year, but his first participation at an elite event was hardy successful. Rapport scored only 3.5/11, even though he defeated GMs Boris Gelfand and Pentala Harikrishna.

In May 2014, when Rapport's rating crossed the 2700 benchmark, he entered the elite club of players, although he did not receive many invitations to the strongest tournaments. His aggressive style allowed him to decimate lower-rated players in open tournaments. When Rapport challenged top players, his audacity rarely ended well, but he could land a well-chosen blow, as in this game vs. GM Levon Aronian. We'll see the outstanding move Rh1!! again in a later game.

Young Grandmaster

At the end of 2016, Rapport defeated GM Wei Yi in the match between the two strongest junior players in the world. Rapport's original opening choices and outstanding endgame prowess caught the attention of none other than IM Daniel Rensch, Chess.com's Chief Chess Officer.  

Rapport's performance at Tata Steel Masters 2017 was unsuccessful again (4.5/13), but the cloud had a silver lining: he defeated World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

In 2017, Rapport participated for the first time in a Speed Chess Championship match, losing to GM Alexander Grischuk 9.5-17.5. Rapport had a very successful run at the FIDE World Cup 2017 in Batumi, where he defeated GMs Wei, Li Chao, and Evgeny Najer and lost to only GM Ding Liren in the quarterfinals.   

However, the most important and formative event that year happened in Rapport's personal life: he married fellow chess player WGM Jovana Vojinovic.  

Richard Rapport in 2018. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Rapport scored 7.5/10 at Gibraltar Masters Tournament 2018, sharing first with GMs Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Hikaru Nakamura, Nikita Vitiugov, Michael Adams, and Le Quang Liem and losing to Aronian in the playoff semifinal. 

Rapport finished one point behind the leaders, GMs Dubov, Anton Korobov, and Saleh Salem, at the Abu Dhabi Masters 2018.  His game vs. GM Amin Tabatabaei at this tournament shows a golden standard of White's strategy in the Italian Game. Do not miss the opportunity to learn this evergreen opening from Rapport.

In 2019, Rapport defeated GM Sam Shankland 31.5-16.5 in a Champions Showdown rapid and blitz match. In the same year, he took first at the Danzhou Super Grandmaster Tournament, scoring 4.5/7, half a point ahead of GM Yu Yangyi and Wei, and shared second with GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, and Teimour Radjabov at the Dortmund Sparkassen Tournament.

After this success, Rapport entered 2020 ranked 14th in the world, but the outbreak of COVID-19 interrupted his career for more than a year. Retrospectively, the pause can be considered beneficial because before Rapport had played restlessly in more than 100 classic games each year, and his rating curve went up and down. However, since 2021, when the over-the-board tournaments resumed, his rating has gone in one direction only: upwards. 

Candidates Tournament      

Rapport was invited to the Grand Chess Tour 2021 as a full participant. He shared fourth with Aronian in the Paris Rapid & Blitz, took third in the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, and finished in the middle at the eighth Sinquefield Cup

Richard Rapport at the Gashimov Memorial in 2021. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Rapport was the sole leader halfway through the Norway Chess 2021 tournament but finished in third place after losing to Carlsen and GM Alireza Firouzja

In 2021, Rapport won his first Speed Chess Championship match against GM Alexey Sarana with a score of 16.5-14.5 but lost to GM Nihal Sarin 9-18 in the quarterfinals.    


At the end of 2021, Rapport tied with Caruana (24/36) for first at Gashimov Memorial in Baku and finished as runner-up after he lost the armageddon playoff game.

In January 2022, Rapport broke his "Tata spell" by scoring 8/13 and sharing second with GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov at the 84th Tata Steel Masters, where he again shocked the chess world with the move ...Rh1!!.

Rapport qualified for the FIDE Grand Prix 2022 series with his rating. He lost to Nakamura in the semifinal of the first leg in Berlin but took first place in the Belgrade tournament. Rapport gambled with very little time left on the clock in the last game of his final match vs. GM Dmitry Andreikin and was rewarded with a couple of sub-par moves by his opponent. Watch for yourselves in the video:

This success secured Rapport a place at the FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2022. He currently has a career-high 2776 Elo rating and occupies the fifth place on the FIDE rating list (as of May 2022), but statistical predictions give Rapport just five-percent odds to win with a projected 6.5/14 result. Let's see if he can surprise the cold-hearted statistical models.

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