May 22, 2014 10:52

Rapid & Blitz: World Ch, 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 3, Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia), and ex-World Champion Vishy Anand. Hikaru 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, in Astana (Kazakhstan) it was pretty strong as well, but last year, in Khanty-Manskiysk, not many top players played. But this year it's gonna 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 playing. 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

Ratings

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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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers
Chess.com

Comments

chess dude's picture

Awesome quotes from Naka, humble in truth but I am sure his detractors will find a way to view them in a negative light...

Ppl shouldn't forget that he won the London Rapid event as well.

Chess Fan's picture

Ranked world number one in both rapid chess and blitz chess; I guess team America has something to look forward to. Has anyone (other than MC) been this dominant in anything recently?
I am especially looking at NK playing the World Champion. Hope he is able to challenge him well at least this time.
I am surprised that Vishy is playing any chess before the World Championship, though he is world class (top three or five) in blitz still.
PS: Love the quotes from Naka, especially when he is frank and himself, and not humble.

Anonymous's picture

What's next? Bughouse ratings?

Tyke's picture

Ripples have started with Anand's win in Fide Candidates. We will see a wave developing in the next few months and by November it will be a Tsunami which will blow away Magnus. Go smash them Vishy !!!!

Septimus's picture

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? What does this tournament have anything to do with Anand-Carlsen?

Tyke's picture

This tournament Anand will eviscerate all the top players and continue with his resurgance.

Tyke's picture

*resurgence

AAR's picture

Knowing Anand, I can say he is participating not for winning but for:
1. continue to have tournament touch before November
2. Dubai is just 4 hrs from his base city, Chennai
3. of course, money

The new Anand has his focus fully on November event. I would be surprised if he even finishes in top 3 in either event.

Chess Fan's picture

OK, you answered my question on why Vishy is participating in anything before November.
I think Vishy is so good that he would finish definitely in the top ten at least. Let us see.

Roberto's picture

Will Nakamura finally beat Magnus, at least in blitz / rapid?

jsy's picture

Nakamura has a good record (in official tournaments) against Carlsen at fast time controls.

RG13's picture

At 3 + 2 I would bet on Nakamura. At 15 + 10 it's a toss-up. However I think that 'serious' rapid chess should be no quicker than 25 + 10 and at THAT time control AND given enough games (at least 12) I would lay serious money on Carlsen in a matchup against Nakamura.

Anonymous's picture

I would tend to agree but I am someone who believes that blitz rapid variants all deserve equal footing with classical because if not then why have clocks at all? Most people don't agree. Oh well..

RG13's picture

I think Kasparov wants to combine the rating lists. Classical is a different skill than blitz. It is not just about time management but a player needs a different approach. If someone could become the world # 1 just by playing blitz then that could discourage classical chess. Why have clocks at all? Study chess history and realize how painful it was for Morphy to wait for Paulson to move.

Thomas Richter's picture

I (also!?) don't like Kasparov's plans to change the rating system, hence I asked him when I got the chance at his press conference in Wijk aan Zee. In fairness to him, he apparently ("this still has to be decided" or something like that) wants to use weighing factors, something like 100% for classical time controls, 30% for rapid and 10% for blitz. I don't remember the numbers and don't have time to check - if anyone else wants to do so: it was the first question right after Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam's introduction, and the numbers are somewhere during GK's five minute monologue answer.

With such weighing factors, it's hard to impossible to "become the world # 1 just by playing blitz" - also given the relative scarcity of rated blitz events: for example, Nakamura has just three such events since August 2012 (which might also to some extent question the reliability of blitz ratings).

RG13's picture

@Thomas
Thanks for that info. However if blitz will be rated at 10% then someone like Nakamura can just play 10 times as much blitz as standard. Where will the necessary events come from? Already FIDE says that the current online blitz and rapid ratings earned on their online arena will be merged into the OTB blitz and rapid rating lists. Since Nakamura thinks nothing of playing online all night then he could easily play 10 times as many blitz games as any other top GM has the opportunity to play standard.

RG13's picture

Besides why add to the confusion with an arbitrary weighting system? I think it is a sly way for Kasparov to recapture the # 1 rating spot in his spare time. Karpov already proved in a short rapid match with both Kasparov and Ivanchuk that an aged GM can still be extremely dangerous at rapid time controls.

Anonymous's picture

"I think it is a sly way for Kasparov to recapture the # 1 rating spot in his spare time"

No, Kasparov can't increase his rating with 70 points almost ten years after retiring, especially considering that he dropped 40 points the last five years he played.

RG13's picture

You may have a point; I am not sure what Kasparov could accomplish with Nakamura-style all-night online blitz sessions.

Thomas Richter's picture

To again defend Kasparov (sort of): The weighing system makes sense to me - it roughly corresponds to the time each game takes: a 'typical' classical game takes three times longer than a typical rapid game!? Then blitz might still be over-emphasized. Kasparov also said that online blitz would be the last thing to be added "with lots of restrictions".

However, the longer his reply became, the more vague it became. He started with "the plan will require lot of preparation", then "priority to professional games, e.g. WCh tiebreakers", then "include all games to make chess one big family" (blablabla ...). Then I stopped taking notes, as I realized that I couldn't summarize his answer for my report in two or three sentences. It's a prominent part of his election program, but no-one (not even Kasparov himself) knows what _exactly_ he has in mind!?

RG13's picture

Yes the weighing system makes sense IF all the three lists are to be merged. However at a glance would everyone know how much of that merged rating is composed of classical, rapid and blitz over a players chess career? If so then we just have the same information presented differently. If this different way of presenting the information isn't more useful in some way then it is just change for the sake of change; a nice way to distingush his platform from the other guy's - maybe not so nice for chess.

Thomas Richter's picture

"at a glance would everyone know how much of that merged rating is composed of classical, rapid and blitz over a players chess career?"

No, unless this information is made readily available - statistics on number of rated games per time control (lifetime, per year, per rating period) being shown, and/or, even better, separate rating lists still being kept. It could be argued that a lot of other relevant information also isn't readily available from rating lists: type of opposition, type of events (Swiss opens, team events, round robins and individual matches all require somewhat different approaches), how close any given rating is to a meaningful long-term average (several players, e.g. Nakamura, Ivanchuk, Morozevich, ... have intermittent highs and lows). In general, I think ratings are somewhat overrated: organizers aiming for the strongest possible field, Elo being the primary criterion to select/invite players for round robins but also Swiss and team events. It's the best available indication for a player's strength, but far from perfectly precise.

Kasparov sort of claimed that important 'professional' rapid and blitz games aren't rated at all - it was the case for the Anand-Gelfand WCh tiebreak, it's no longer the case. Kasparov should know better, chess journalists at the press conference should know better, mainstream journalists didn't care anyway (but only about his opinions on Carlsen, the situation in Ukraine, the Soji Olympic Games, ...).

RG13's picture

@Thomas
Good and interesting points, thanks.

Casey Abell's picture

Chessgames.com gives a 6-5 for Carlsen against Nakamura in blitz and rapid, with six draws. Pretty even. Of course, there was that private 40-game blitz match in Moscow that Carlsen reportedly won by a comfortable margin.

RG13's picture

Shhh, Nakamura asked for that news to be squelched!

Thomas Richter's picture

Statistics for Nakamura's blitz score against Carlsen seem a bit misleading: three wins came from a single event in 2009 which had its own dynamics. Nakamura won one game convincingly, one from a dead-lost position because Carlsen miscalculated a pawn ending, and one because Carlsen had to avoid a draw at any prize. All three (and another Naka win) are about five years ago, the fifth one is from 2010.

On the other hand, I also wouldn't conclude much from a private allnight match right after a tiring blitz event. It was just for fun, even if the players took it seriously - video coverage showed that, after a game, they put the pieces back up and started the next game straight away. No words exchanged, let alone jokes or trash talk.

One can conclude that Nakamura's rapid/blitz score against Carlsen is way better than his classical score, but not necessarily that near-even reflects their relative strengths - Carlsen won the last three decisive games in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Greco's picture

Lol give Naka a break he must be first at something and since he wont be getting that 2800 soon he might as well go over 3000 in bullet or wherever..as for the Anand comments above...LOL

Anonymous's picture

Is there an open to get into the finals like in earlier editions?
And why is Andreikin not on the list of participants?

Casey Abell's picture

The official site says anybody with a 2500+ rating in any of the three time controls is eligible for the tournament. So I guess Andreikin just didn't want to play. He certainly qualifies.

The structure is a 15-round Swiss over three days for rapid and a 21-round Swiss over two days for blitz.

Anonymous's picture

Since FIDE has announced that it plans to combine the otb rapid rating list with the online rapid rating list and the same with the blitz lists it will be easy for Nakamura to stay on top of both lists. What other top grandmaster thinks it is a productive use of their time to stay up all night playing amateurs?

Anonymous's picture

Well the worlds best are reluctant to mix it up with him. I see him utterly destroy MVL and other on a regular basis online. Caruana as good as he is doesn't compare at those time controls. It's just plain fun to watch Nakamura with no increment rip people to shreds at those time controls.

Anonymous's picture

One who understand the importance of the show, the fans and that chess is more than G120+40 classical time controls.

RG13's picture

Nakamura has devoted a lot of time to bullet and so he deserves the title of bullet king. However I would bet that the
top engines could still beat him if they have at least a one second increment.

weak grandmaster's picture

Of course he'd lose to an engine. Top computers are unbeatable now.

My name?'s picture

Why do chess players agree to play tournaments in countries they know suppress women, gays, christians and other different thinking people? These countries should be boycotted.

RG13's picture

So you want to punish countries that are full of people that think differently than you? Activities such as chess help people to think more rationally and so it should always be encouraged.

Chess Fan's picture

It would be interesting to see whether anyone, including WC MC can top NK in fast time controls.
Currently, I think both of them are probably better than anyone else, but that would be interesting to see and confirm in an official World Blitz Championship. We also have dark horses like Grischuk and of course Vlady, Fabio, Karjakin, etc.

Anonymous's picture

The rating list don't lie. Naka is best, but Magnus is middle top 10.

RG13's picture

I don't think it's that clear-cut. Maybe Carlsen hasn't made it a priority to compete in many fast events in order to collect lots of rating points.

Anonymous's picture

You are right. Neither of them are above the rest. Naka never won a world title with fast controls and Carlsen failed the last time he tried. There are a bunch of guys who can win this.

Chess Fan's picture

How did Grischuk climb up to No:3 above everyone else without winning major tournaments and beating top GMs like Fabio, Naka, and Sergey K did?
I have serious respect for his ability, but how did he outperform such players to reach No: 3 rating in the world?

Anonymous's picture

Where was he supposed to meet them? Extra credits for Grischuk for reaching no 3 without major invitations. And by the way, he didn't lose against those top GMs either. Also quite curious to which top tourneys Naka is supposed to have won recently.

Chess Fan's picture

I would have imagined Fabio, Karjakin, and Naka between the top two and the two active ex-world champions and no one else.
How did Grischuk reach the third spot without beating these top players was what I was wondering. Not questioning his ability. Yasser placed Grischuk as one of the two most gifted chess players he had seen, and I thought so too seeing 17-year old Grischuk's games reaching the semi-finals in FIDE WCh 2000.
My question is: How did he leap-frog over the bove mentioned super-GMs without playing them much or beating them?

observer's picture

Team events like Russian Team Championship.

Personally, I think that significant changes in the rating list are caused too easily by these, and for players over 2700, they should only be given a 50% weighting as compared with normal tournaments and matches.

Casey Abell's picture

Grischuk gained fifteen rating points from the Russian Team Championship. That's how he jumped to #3 on the May list. He was #6 on the April list.

Anonymous's picture

Of course, when results don't suit observers personal agenda we should just discard the rating system.
Never mind Grischuk winning of solid 2700 players like Tomashevsky and Morozevich, just count 'm half their worth. In reality team competitions are often avoided by top players who fear rating losses to lower or underrated players.
For that reason Kramnik, Carlsen e.g. rarely play in such events. They had some nasty experiences in the past. Grischuks 3rd place is well deserved.

observer's picture

And exactly what "personal agenda" is that, s3? Come on, spell it out, you've made the accusation.

In fact it's only common sense.
There's all sorts of factors in operation that have nothing to do with rating performance; you have to play for the team, not yourself.
A player might be given a lot of whites because he is good with that colour. This means you could take the hit of having many blacks, you have to accept making a sacrifice of personal points for the team.
A player in favour with the management might be favoured by being given selected opponents. Or avoiding difficult ones - eg in the 1966 Havana Olympiad, World Champion Petrosian was allowed to avoid, with black, a rampant Fischer on Board 1; Spassky had to face him instead.
A 'package deal' might be arranged that favours some and disadvantages others, eg At the 1970 Siegen Olympiad, the USSR were playing Tunisia. Spassky was playing Bouaziz on Board 1 and Petrosian was playing Belkadi on Board 2. Petrosian got into desperate trouble and the USSR team management were anxious to avoid the embarrassment of Petrosian losing to a Tunisian. So they made a package deal with the Tunisians - draws on Boards 1 and 2. Spassky who had a considerable advantage in his game and probably would have converted was made to agree a draw. One can imagine the effect on ratings for Spassky vis-a-vis Petrosian...
An out of form player is saved from a big disaster by being dropped from games. In a normal tournament, he would have to keep playing and lose his rating points.
And so on.
Larsen, recognising these issues, refused to play in the 1972 and 1974 Olympiads.

Rating points from team events are not as reliable as those from proper tournaments and matches.

observer's picture

P.s. blablabla

observer's picture

It would seem s3 is unable to say what the "personal agenda" is.
Oh well, nothing new to report.

Anonymous's picture

Delusional. Obsessive.

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