Monday, June 10, 2013

FIDE World Rapid and Blitz

The FIDE World Rapid Championship 2013 and FIDE World Blitz Championship 2013 are being held in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) from June 06 to 10, 2013. The prize fund is  USD400,000 split between the rapid and blitz and no doubt was the reason many famous and strong grandmasters were taking part.

The rapid event has completed and the Azerbaijani GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won the title ahead of Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi. In fact , the Russian was leading with a two points advantage after the first two days. However, on the last day he could only manage four draws and one loss. Mamedyarov won all his five games! The final top spots are Mamedyarov with 11.5, Nepomniachtchi 11 and Grischuk 10.5. Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem was fourth with 10 points. Le was satisfied with a quick draw in the last round for a nice share of the prize fund.

There is a live telecast and commentary at the official site. Another fourteen games starts around 4:00 PM local time today.


The blitz event started the day after the rapid ended. This is a 15 round double Swiss system (players play one black and one white against their opponent). The time control is three minutes plus two seconds for each move.

After the first round there are two leaders, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Le Quang Liem both with 12 points. Ukrainian grandmaster Ruslan Ponomariov is third with 11 points.

A big group of 10.5 pointers followed - Ivan Cheparinov , Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son , Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rauf Mamedov. I was impressed with Nguyen who is very strong in blitz. Very quick sight of the board and full of tactical resources. He beat Grischuk with one win and one draw. In the last round of the day, he had one rook and one pawn against  Alexander Moiseenko's bishop and knight and two pawns one of which is passed and protected. Any chess player can tell you this is dead lost but somehow the Vietnamese created enough problems for the European champion and drew!

It is a joy to follow the commentary by grandmasters Alexander Khalifman and Efstratios Grivas. The latter is a well known Greek grandmaster and I met him in Manila where he was the leader of the FIDE trainers seminar. Both showed that they are still very strong grandmasters. You will be surprised how often their move suggestions ended up on the actual board!

One thing that surprised me was several instances of claims of draw by three-fold repetition. This is not possible under normal blitz circumstances but since the games are played using digital boards and all the moves are therefore captured, it may be possible.

As this is blitz, there were blunders galore but this adds a lot to the fun of spectating. Here is a selection of interesting positions.

Blitz is difficult especially when you are playing with the two seconds increment. Even when you are material up, converting it to a win is sometimes not an easy matter

Black  is quite lost but this is blitz

White reached this position on move 150 after black blundered a piece on move 61! Ninety moves of maneuvering with black determined not to resign! Black now played 150.
... Nb8
and white moving immediately overlooked the mate in one 151. Be4 Nd7 152. a6 Nb8 153. Nc8# 1-0

Here Nepomniachtchi came up with a long combination.

22. Rxa4 Qxa4 23. Nd6 Threatening mate on f7 Ne5 24. Bd4 Ra7 25. Bxe5 Rxe7 26. Nxf7+
Rxf7 27. Bxb8 Rf8 28. Bd6 Re8 29. b3 Qd7 30. Qxb4
and white came up on top with two extra pawns which he converted.


Post a Comment