June 16, 2014 11:45

FIDE World Rapid Championship Takes Off Today

Today the FIDE World Rapid Championship starts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Right after the World Blitz will be held, and together they're clearly the strongest quickplay chess event ever. 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 tops both the official rapid and blitz rating lists.

Carlsen, Nakamura and Anand at the opening ceremony | Photo Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE

The FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship 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! This article is written from a hotel room right across the street of the Dubai Chess Club.

The opening ceremony was held on Sunday, where main organizer Khaled Zayed expressed his sincere appreciation to Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and sponsor of the event. He also expressed his gratitude to Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Municipality for playing a vital role in organizing these tournaments, and welcomed all players.

Top seed Hikaru Nakamura was invited on stage to perform the drawing of lots. From the first box he picked a black king, and so he will start the first round of the World Rapid Championship on Monday with the black pieces and it means that all participants with odd numbers will have Black for the first round as well.

In his second attempt, Mr Nakamura selected a white king and it means he will play with the white pieces in the first game of the World Blitz Championship. Read here how the American GM sees his chances.

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


Time controls
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.

The World Rapid starts today at 3pm local time which is 1pm CET, 7am New York and 4am Los Angeles. The championship will be broadcast live on the tournament’s official website with online games and commentary.

Share |
Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous's picture

Where is Kramnik?

Anonymous's picture

Kramnik is finished!

Blitz Fan's picture

This is going to be really interesting. The average chess player probably plays much more blitz than classical so this relates much more to the games we play.
It will be a big test for Nakamura's rapid reputation and an opportunity for Carlsen to move his classical dominance to rapid. Or maybe Karjakin or Grischuk can take it.

RS's picture

Why no seasoned veterans here except Anand? No TrainWrecknik, no Topalov and Ivanchuk? BTW what is Ivanchuk doing these days? Helping resolve the Ukraine crisis I guess.

Also some other notable absentees are Dominguez, Jakovanko who had a great time in French league.

As far as I recall TrainWrecknick is almost never a good blitzer so its better he keeps his bitter self away from the sporty chess masters here.

Anonymous's picture

BigVlad took a beating in Norway so he needs some time to recover, IF he recovers at all.

matu's picture

no live streaming. none Mr. Doggers?

Grandaunt's picture

Go to the official FIDE site, plenty of streaming there. Great coverage!

Anonymous's picture

Vlady would win this if he participated.

Real Anonymus's picture

Yes, Kramnik is accustomed to win every tournaments he doesn't participate! It's only the tournaments he participates that he fails to win. :-P

Thomas Richter's picture

Ah, Kramnik-bashing again. He obviously decided to skip the World Rapid/Blitz championship before Norway Chess - maybe because he doesn't want to play two events right after each other and rather spends time with his family. Topalov, who recently became father, also skips Dubai, while Anand declined the Norway Chess invitation. On the other hand, family men Svidler and rapid/blitz aficionado Grischuk play both events.

Anonymous's picture

Ah, now it's "spending time with family" excuse. As if an extra 2 or 3 days makes much difference.

Topalov does not play because he knows he is no good at this form of chess, while Anand prefers not to confront Carlsen in classical before the World Championship.
But Kramnik - well he chickens out, like with the press conferences. Kramnik is in meltdown and is finished.

JRC's picture

@ Analnymous

And you know all about chickening out, don't you my man? The short list of your life's accomplishments are a testament to it.

Anonymous's picture

Some people are delusional and some are obsessive, but it is rare to find someone who is obsessive about his delusions.

Chris's picture

He decided to skip because he is done after NC and TC.

Anonymous's picture

TO if bashing then yours.

Roberto's picture

Hoping for Anand!!! May he have a good performance!

Anonymous's picture

Another failure coming up for Carlsen?

Leo's picture

Second place is only a failure if you are the best.

RG13's picture

+1 Great comment!

Unanimous's picture

I don't think $80,000 means much to any of these guys.

eltollo's picture

I think it does, apart maybe from the top 5 or so.

Grandaunt's picture

A nice vacation though

s3's picture

Check out Jobava-Mamedyarov it's brilliant!!

Joe Fiasco's picture

Something weird is going on concerning Boris Gelfand. I was looking forward to seeing him in action again after a longer break. First of all, next to his name on their site, their is - conspicuously - the flag of FIDE. Moreover, I can't see him anywhere in the live games.
Can anyone elaborate on what's the matter?

RG13's picture

When Israelis play in Muslim countries they often ask the organizer not to mention their nationality. They did this for the Israelis at the world juniors also. This is better for the safety of all the players.

Joe Fiasco's picture

It was usually the other way round. The World juniors was the first time it was that way. It may be better for the safety, it's still scandalous.

Anyway, where are his games?

RG13's picture

Well I thought I read that it was either a request of the Israelis or their happy agreement at the world juniors. If so then that wouldn't be "scandalous". Also, unless Gelfand's people or his federation are raising a protest then I think it is safer not to discuss it.

Joe Fiasco's picture

Be it so, but where are his games, or are they shunned because of the safety of the players as well?

Anon's picture

I think they mentioned in the commentary that Gelfand and another player from Israel dropped out of the tournament on short notice.

RG13's picture

Grandmaster Gelfand is a very dangerous player, he almost wrested the world title from Anand! ;-)

RG13's picture

FIDE regulations say a player must be at least 2500 on one of their rating lists but a peak at the full list of participants reveal that the bottom 20 or so don't meet that criteria. I understand that the organizer should get some wild-card entries from their federation but those underrated players are from several different countries. Can anyone explain this?

Anon's picture

Maybe regulation 3.2 sheds some light on that:

3.2 The FIDE World Blitz & Rapid Championships are open to all the National Champions representing their National Chess Federation regardless of their title or rating.

RG13's picture

I don't think that STEVEN JAMES BRECKENRIDGE is the U.S. National Champion!

RG13's picture

India has three players that are rated below the cut-off. Are they all Indian National Champions?

Anon's picture

Honestly, I don't know. And I couldn't care less. I am more interested in the players on the top which have already produced truly fine games today. For some strange reasons these weak guys are allowed to play but what does it matter anyway?

RG13's picture

1. Other 'weak' players might want to know how they can get to play in next years edition.

2. If FIDE doesn't follow their own regulations then I think it should be mentioned.

AAR's picture

In Tennis, for ATP tournaments, World Top 32 players are invited by default. If they decline the invitation, lower ranked players are given that opportunity.

Other criteria, local players or regional players are given invitation as wild card entry.

Not every top players would prefer to attend all tournaments. They pick and choose the events.

Anonymous's picture

Why don't we all talk about chess more often here in the comments? I don't mean to be rude. I've been coming here for years, and I like the website. However, the discussions taking place in the comment section here - and perhaps this is merely the norm on the internet - are a complete mystery to me.

Very often comments posted here are clearly bait to incite arguments about one player or another. Is this just more entertaining than talking about the games? Perhaps it is so, and that's OK.

However, I would assume that we're coming here because we love playing chess ourselves, no? We're only around for so long, after all - and of course able to learn about and play this mysterious game for even less time - so why spend it responding to all of the hyperbole? Perhaps it is just the nature of the chess player to be so compelled by quiet, trivial animosity.

My name?'s picture

Why do chess players agree to play in a muslim country known for suppressing women, gays and other minorities?

Their participation is a disgrace. It's time to take a stand.,

RG13's picture

Did you disagree with the U.S. competing in the 1936 olympics in Nazi Germany? There was a debate about it but they decided to compete. Guess what one of their Black runners did to the Nazi's Aryan Superiority theory? Hitler was quite embarassed by having to award a gold medal to Jesse Owens. If the U.S. would have boycotted then that never could have happened. So there is more than one way to 'take a stand'.

Leo's picture

Indeed, we should root for Judit in this competition!

Klapaucius's picture

Actually, Hitler wasn`t present at the stadium at all when Jesse Owens won his gold medals, so he did not award him any gold as you claim, hence no embarrassment either. He was present at the athletics stadium only the first day of the games, and Owens started winning on the second day. Hitler and the German officials were very happy that Germany won more medals than any other nation, and probably wasn`t too bothered by any single athlete.
On the other hand, he was present when the German football team lost to Norway in the quarter final and was reportedly furious about that. Hitler left the only football match he ever saw in his life, well before the end.
Jesse Owens was actually quite popular in Germany during the games, he said himself that his reception in Berlin was greater than anywhere else he had been and only complained that there were too many autograph seekers.
The Dassler brothers (Adolf and Rudolf, who after WWII split up and founded Adidas and Puma) made special running shoes for him.
Yes, he was shunned, but not by Hitler or the Germans. When the athletes came home to the US, unlike the white olympic champions, Owens was not invited to visit president Roosevelt in the White House. He never even received a congratulatory letter from the president, and for him there were no special offers from Hollywood etc.
So yes, he was discriminated against, but not by Hitler or the Germans, but in his home country.
That Hitler thing you mention is just a myth.

RG13's picture

Klapaucius, thank you for setting the record straight!

pioneer's picture


Thank you.

AAR's picture

Next time when you visit a gas station for fueling your vehicle, please ensure the gas was not sourced from middle east.

Latest articles