December 19, 2011 11:46

World Mind Games: blitz and blindfold

World Mind Games: blitz and blindfold

At the World Mind Games in Beijing, China Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France won the blitz event while Zoltan Almasi of Hungary finished first in the blindfold tournament. World Champion Hou Yifan of China won both the blitz and the blindfold women's tournaments.

A group photo with all the winners in Beijing | All photos © FIDE for the official website

Event World Mind Games chess website by FIDE, official website | Rapid Men PGN Women PGN Blindfold Men PGN Women PGN via TWIC
Dates December 8th-17th, 2011
Location Beijing, China
System 16-player, 7-round Swiss
Players Top players in the men's section are Sergey Karjakin, Vassily Ivanchuk, Ruslan Ponomariov, Vugar Gashimov, Shakhryar Mamedyarov and Gata Kamsky. The women's section has Hou Yifan, Anna Muzychuk, Nana Dzagnidze, Katerina Lahno, Viktorija Cmilyte, Antoanetta Stefanova, and Alexandra Kosteniuk.
Rate of play

Rapid: 20 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. Blitz: 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move. Blindfold: 20 minutes plus 20 seconds per move.

Prize fund Undisclosed, but first prizes were. Men US $11,000 | women: US $8,000
Videos Sports Hub YouTube channel
Notes Find our first report here

We already reported about the rapid tournaments for men and women in Beijing, which were won by Wang Hao and Alexandra Kosteniuk. The World Mind Games included two more chess events: a blitz tournament and a blindfold tournament.

The blitz part took place on Monday, December 12th and Tuesday, December 13th. Unfortunately no games seem to have been saved - at least they're not available on the tournament website a few days after the event. We do know that Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the gold medal with a score of 12 points out of 16 games. The French grandmaster finished 1.5 points clear of former World Blitz Champion Alexander Grischuk. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov came third - you can find the full final standings here.

The winner said about his success:

You have no idea how tired I am right now! The fact is that, I usually play blitz events on a good level. For example, I won the European Blitz Championship. But blitz events always demand a lot of energy.  You need to have maximum concentration and every time its a new situation. So now I feel just that I want to go to sleep - as soon as possible. (Maxim smiled) Of course, later I will feel happy.

In the women's tournament Hou Yifan of China won gold with 11.5 points out of 15. Former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria, who scored 4.5 points in the last 5 rounds, reached second place and third came Anna Muzychuk, who plays for Slovenia.

The blindfold tournaments were held December 14th-16th. Again, Vachier-Lagrave was in good shape and finished on 5/7. However, Zoltan Almasi of Hungary also reached 5/7 (thanks to a typical blindfold blunder by Gata Kamsky in the final round) and in fact clinched the gold medal on tiebreak. Unfortunately FIDE didn't post the tiebreak rules, so we only know that SB was not the first criterium!

PGN file

World Mind Games 2011 | Blindfold, men | Final standings


Hou Yifan grabbed her second gold medal scoring 5.5/7. She finished a full point ahead of Viktorija Cmilyte (silver) and Alexandra Kosteniuk (bronze). They edged out Yelena Dembo and Elisabeth Pähtz on tiebreak, who also finished on 4.5/7.

We'll finish with a video from the SportsHub channel which gives a nice overview of all the types of games played at the Mind Sports Games. In this summary of the final day, the chess part starts at 10:14. Unfortunately the commentator doesn't seem to know much about chess, and calls Gashimov 'Vunar'. Besides, he first mentions that Vachier-Lagrave wins the gold medal, and then doesn't provide much of an explanation about why Mr Almasi gets it! Perhaps more evidence that the tiebreak systems in chess are way too difficult?

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


blackhorse's picture

"The blindfold part took place on Monday, December 12th.." You mean the blitz part?

Peter Doggers's picture

Indeed, thx, corrected.

adam's picture

wow, strong and interesting event! i wonder what more almasi has to show in order to get some top tournament invitation...

k.j.h.'s picture

Big congrats to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave for an especially fine showing in this event. Among some tough customers, Max's class shines.
It has looked to me for more than a year now that Max and Luke McShane (see London Classic) are the scary dark horses who can play the game as well as anyone when they choose to - and that includes the elite of the elite. They've given proof of that more than once.

Geoffrey Borg's picture

Rules were posted some time back and can be found here :

The event was a big success and SportAccord have announced that they are in the stages of finalizing an agreement for next year.

Vasili's picture

amazing video coverage.
enjoyed very much the analysis of the comentator

Hanseman's picture

Did Vachier-Lagrave not lose a blitz minimatch against Garry just some months ago?

Parkov's picture

Yes, but Garry only won that because of his opening preparation

Janis Nisii's picture


Parkov's picture

I'm glad you found it funny Janis

Parkov's picture

I don't understand, why is there an Irish flag (or is it Italian?) instead of Hungarian at 14:27 ?

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