Reports | June 15, 2012 16:38

Ponomariov and five other 'qualifiers' not invited to World Blitz Championship

Ponomariov and five other qualifiers not invited to World Blitz

Although he thought he qualified, former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov, together with five other GMs, was not invited to the FIDE World Blitz Championship, to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan from 1 to 11 July. In a blog on ChessVibes, Ponomariov writes that "already in February 2011 a selection was made where me and another five players were qualified to play in the World Blitz Championship."

At the end of May, FIDE announced on its website the next World Blitz & Rapid Championships 2012. They will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan from 1 to 11 July. The World Chess Federation used the January 2012 rating list to select the participants:

The 10 top rated players of the FIDE January 2012 rating list qualify directly to the final tournament of each event and they should send their player's contract to the FIDE Secretariat by Friday 8 June to confirm their participation.

This leads to the following list of qualifiers (the eventual participants list might look very differently):

  1. Carlsen, Magnus
  2. Aronian, Levon
  3. Kramnik, Vladimir
  4. Anand, Viswanathan
  5. Radjabov, Teimour
  6. Topalov, Veselin
  7. Karjakin, Sergey
  8. Ivanchuk, Vassily
  9. Morozevich, Alexander
  10. Gashimov, Vugar

As Ruslan Ponomariov points out at his ChessVibes blog today, with this list FIDE is not taking into account the World Blitz qualifier which was held after the Aeroflot Open, on February 17th, 2011. This tournament provided six qualifiers (Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Ruslan Ponomariov, Dmitry Andreikin, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Wesley So and Nikita Vitiugov) for the next World Blitz Championship, which was to be held after the Tal Memorial in November 2011.

Aeroflot 2011 | World Blitz Qualifier | Final Standings (top 10)

Place SNo. Title Name   Fed. FIDE Total MBch. Bch. Wins
1 3 GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE AZE 2772 14.5 74.50 95.50 7
2 4 GM Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR UKR 2744 14.0 77.00 98.50 7
3 18 GM Andreikin, Dmitry RUS RUS 2689 13.5 77.50 100.00 6
4 14 GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny RUS RUS 2695 13.5 74.50 94.50 6
5 23 GM So, Wesley PHI PHI 2673 13.0 77.50 95.50 6
6 11 GM Vitiugov, Nikita RUS RUS 2709 13.0 70.00 89.50 6
7 19 GM Motylev, Alexander RUS RUS 2687 12.5 77.50 101.00 5
8 2 GM Grischuk, Alexander RUS RUS 2773 12.5 75.50 96.50 4
9 32 GM Mamedov, Rauf AZE AZE 2660 12.5 75.00 98.00 5
10 111 GM Ismagambetov, Anuar KAZ KAZ 2499 12.5 71.50 91.50 6

As it turned out, the Russian Chess Federation decided not to organize the World Blitz and so the event didn't take place in 2011. For 2012 the Kazachstan Chess Federation has offered to organize the tournament again (in 2008 Leinier Dominguez won the tournament in Almaty). FIDE decided not to use the results of the 2011 qualifier, which apparently was only intended for a championship organized by the Russian Chess Federation in 2011.

As a result of a lack of communication between FIDE, the Russian Chess Federation and the players, at least one grandmaster is surprised about the invitation procedure. Ponomariov, who provides a number of his blitz games in his blog, writes:

There has been no explanation, no apologies, and personally I wonder whether there is any logic on the part of the organizers where the selection of finalists is concerned. Apparently, they have taken into account the January 2012 rating list, but first of all, this list represents classic chess results, and not blitz; second, this is just one list, whereas FIDE usually makes an average out of several lists. For example, for the selection of players for the Grand Prix they used the lists of January 2012 and July 2011. I think it could be a better idea to consider the results from the latest World blitz championship, European blitz championship or even the Mind Games if you still don't have ratings for blitz and rapid.

We contacted a FIDE official to react, but for logistical reasons he was not able to comment today.

More at Ruslan Ponomariov's blog, where the Ukrainian top GM also gives his opinion about the Anand-Gelfand match.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Mike Hunt's picture

No wonder every country chess organization is a complete farce and ran appallingly, they get their lead from FIDE. Feel sorry for Pono, he's right to be totally peed off, he is also one of the best fighters among the top players on the board and very entertaining of it too.

noyb's picture

Any list for a World Blitz Championship without Nakamura on it is invalid and a joke.

foo's picture

oh pleaze. Naka aint that good

Anonymous's picture

He's good enough in blitz to have beaten Carlsen in a blitz match.

WC Fields's picture

Nakamura placed 4-5 with Gelfand in the last World Blitz Championship, under Aronian, Radjabov and Carlsen.

I don't think Topalov belongs. FIDE tries to be scientific in its approach and loses common sense.

Stephen's picture

what's the point of a qualifier if the qualifiers don't qualify for anything ? ridicul-arse.

LuxAeterna's picture

Please do not feed the trolls.
Talk about the games, the system of the match, the knowledge, the nerves...

LuxAeterna's picture

oops! this comment was intended for the Karpov-Seirawan entry... sorry

Anonymous's picture

If given a choice, why would anyone consider becoming a chess professional?

Anonymous's picture

Some people consider it a dream to get paid for doing what they love. Besides these guys can always make money in coaching and exhibitions.

Chess Fan's picture

Sheer love of the game against all odds perhaps?

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture

I agree, this is unbelievable. If proper and satisfying communication for all parties involved really challenges FIDE (as it did repeatedly recently), this is s clear sign of failure since communication is the first task when it comes to organizing qualification cycles for tournaments, especially when qualifying criteria are changed during the cycle. At least 90% of local organizers do a better job period.

Pulern's picture

The solution to this FIDE farse, is to get the presidency and key positions out of the x-soviet union, Turkey and Greece.

There is something about the political culture in these countries that significantly decreases the chance for a long term symbiosis with other cultures/states.

(this is not intended as some general racist troll post, just aimed at these countries leaders; just look at recent events in europe and in chess)

Chess Fan's picture

And get people like Dalinov, Kasparov, and their cronies in? I am glad that your power is restricted to this comments section.
For all the complaints against FIDE and the related people, think objectively about what they have achieved in this chess world, what Kasparov did and NOT accomplish with the breaking away with Nigel Short and everything, and how Dalinov conducted the "win at all costs" campaign Wch against World Champion Vishy Anand in 2010. Here in N.America, we do not like such losers after being such bragging big talkers.

Chess Fan's picture

Ruslan Ponomariov got a chance to play Garry Kasparov for the World Title in 2002/2003 and in those negotiations, he played hard ball like "if Anand got this, I deserve to get this" and lost his only chance in life at the highest level. I think Dalinov was involved in his negotiations as his manager at that time and sunk him!
In any case, I do not appreciate his negative comments about the WCh and the World Champion. Ruslan Ponomariov should just play, win come in the top 10 list, win the challengers stop and show his mettle again if he has the goods.(I respect his chess greatly for winning the 2001 FIDE World Championship the way he did, that too against incomparable Chucky).

Anonymous's picture

Well "Chess Fan", rest assured your personal sentiments are the least interesting here for a long time. Your likes and dislikes do in no way represent north american chess players' assessments.

For what matters in this thread: Once again, now for the world blitz championships, FIDE apparently failed to communicate a change of qualifaction criteria in an ongoing cycle and Ruslan Ponomariov rightfully pointed at this incredible failure.

Ronaldo Banaag's picture

This is not fair! I hate this! The fair decision should be is to take just the top 5 of the classic rating list and give the rest of the top 5 who made it to the 2011 Aeroflot Qualifiers. Wesley So not in the world blitz chess final considering his the Asian champion and Aeroflot qualifier is a complete joke and discouraging....Wesley So can bet this top 10 guys without hurts..really to be a fan.

PrinceHope's picture

I agree with you Wesley has the chance for this is the reason why Kasparov split on fide

PrinceHope's picture

Wake up Fide ....This is one of the Reason Why kasparov broke up with fide..... Why fide doing like this they have to be fair...........

PrinceHope's picture

this is unfair Wesley so chance of the Philippines te be the world speed chess champion

Latest articles