Reports | June 30, 2012 14:47

World Blitz & Rapid Ch in Kazakhstan: we'll be there!

World Blitz and Rapid Championships logo

In the coming days, the World Blitz and Rapid Championships will be played in Astana, Kazakhstan. It starts with qualifier tournaments from Monday till Wednesday, and after that the real championships take off on Friday. World number one Magnus Carlsen will be there, and so will we!

Event World Blitz and Rapid Championships
Dates July 2-10, 2012
Location Astana, Kazakhstan
System Rapid: 16-player single round robin | Blitz: 16-player double round robin
Players Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Morozevich, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Viktor Bologan, Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Anuar Ismagambetov, Pavel Kotsur and Rinat Jumabayev 
Rate of play Rapid: 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1 | Blitz: 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.
Extra The players are not allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents. Any draw claim will be permitted only through the Chief Arbiter and accepted in case of a triple-repetition of the position or the 50-move rule

The World Chess Federation is taking blitz and rapid chess more and more seriously. Already back in November, FIDE announced that they'll be publishing separate ratings lists for blitz and rapid chess tomorrow. It will be interesting to see which events between January 1st and July 1st are included.

Two events will surely be included in the next rating lists: the FIDE World Blitz and Rapid Championships. These are both held in Astana, Kazakhstan in the coming days (2-10 July). The international participants are Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Morozevich, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Viktor Bologan. Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Anuar Ismagambetov (rapid), Pavel Kotsur and Rinat Jumabayev (blitz) will uphold the honour of the host country.

As we reported earlier, the qualification process for the top players has been somewhat unclear. In February 2011, a World Blitz qualifier was held after the Aeroflot Open, which was supposed to provide six qualifiers for the next World Blitz Championship. This was to be held after the Tal Memorial in November 2011, but didn't take place. Now that another federation is organizing the tournament, FIDE used a different system: the top 9 players in the January 2012 FIDE rating list, the winner of the previous Championship or in case of his absence the next highest rated player, three winners of the semi-final tournament, two nominees by the Organizing Committee and one nominee by the FIDE President. 

Although the event starts on Monday, July 2nd the big guns won't be playing until Friday, July 6th. First,  the "Semi-finals" of the Rapid Championship will be played July 2nd-3rd, and on July 4th the "Semi-finals" of the Blitz Championships. For both these qualifiers any player rated at least 2300 could enter.

The Rapid Championship is a 16-player single round robin, with 5 rounds each day on July 6th, 7th and 8th. The time control is 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1. The Blitz Championship is a 16-player double round robin-round Swiss, with 15 rounds each day on July 9th and 10th. The time control is 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.

Interestingly, for both events the Corsica/Sofia rule is in effect: the players are not allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents. Any draw claim will be permitted only through the Chief Arbiter and accepted in case of a triple-repetition of the position or the 50-move rule.

ChessVibes will be in Astana for the finals, from July 5th-11th. No doubt the players will be providing exciting chess, and we'll do our best to capture this in exciting videos! 


Date Time Event
July 2, Monday 13:30 Opening ceremony of the World Blitz and Rapid Chess Championships semifinals
  15:00 Rapid qualifiers – 5 rounds
July 3, Tuesday 15:00 Rapid qualifiers – 5 rounds
July 4, Wednesday 15:00 Blitz qualifiers – 11*2
  20:00 Closing of Blitz semifinals
July 5, Thursday 17:00 Opening ceremony of World Blitz and Rapid Chess Championships
  19:00 Welcome reception on behalf of President of Kazakhstan Chess Federation
July 6, Friday 11:00 Technical conference of Championships participants
  15:00 Rapid Chess Championship – 1 through 5 rounds
July 7, Saturday 15:00 Rapid Chess Championship – 6 through 10 rounds
July 8, Sunday 15:00 Rapid Chess Championship 11 through 15 rounds
July 9, Monday 15:00 World Blitz Chess Championship 1 through 15 rounds
July 10, Tuesday 15:00 World Blitz Chess Championship 16 through 30 rounds
  20:00 Closing ceremony of World Blitz and Rapid Chess Championships


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.


David Kaufmann's picture

Have a good trip Peter! I will be looking forward to see your excellent reports!

Best regards,

David Kaufmann

redivivo's picture

So Anand, Aronian and Kramnik chickened out of TWO world championships! :-)

S3's picture

No, they decided against playing because Fide changed the rules during the cycle.

But seriously, it's a shame if Ponomariov, amongst others, isn't there.

Thomas's picture

For Anand and Kramnik it might be a matter of their schedules: Kramnik plays Dortmund which starts just three days later, and Anand was supposed to play Bazna. Which raises the question how the event would have looked like if Bazna took place as scheduled: Would Carlsen, Radjabov, Karjakin and/or Ivanchuk have travelled from Bazna (which was supposed to finish July 4th) straight to Astana (which for them starts July 6th)? BTW how did Bologan make it into the field? He was just 68th on the January 2012 rating list used to select the players, on the current list he is 28th still behind, among others, Ponomariov(!).

Another issue are anti-draw rules in blitz: apparently players have to keep pushing wood even with seconds on their clocks. And can arbiters really keep track of the 50 move rule and threefold repetitions (which could also occur on, say, moves 50, 58 and 62) - long after the live transmission may have broken down?

Columbo's picture

Lucky you ! Have a nice trip !!!

S3's picture

So Carlsen plays even though FIDE once again changed the rules during the cycle, excluding players who had already qualified !!!

Keeping in mind he also participated in Libya under Khadaffi when Israeli players couldn't fight for the title, it seems that his "ethical stand" was just an excuse to hide his fear, buy time, and/ or force FIDE in accepting his terms.

Anonymous's picture

so he is intelligent?

Columbo's picture

dont you have a life S3 ?

Niima's picture


I don't remember the details - did Carlsen refused to play in the previous Candidates due to "ethical concerns", or because he considered the system too random to promote the strongest challenger?

S3's picture

Niima, I am obviously exagerating a bit with the "ethical stand", but surely it wasn't because of randomness.

What Carlsen did was object to the changes made during the cycle and to the priveleges of certain players.
All in all he thought the cycle not "fair" enough to generate the necessary motivation, or at least that's what he said.

For some reason the letter was formulated a bit ambiguously and of course guys like Colombo eagerly interpreted it as Carlsen being "ethical" and morally superior to other players.

Here's the original letter:

Anonymous's picture


Niima's picture

That was me

redivivo's picture

"he also participated in Libya under Khadaffi"

He was 13 years old then. You don't like Carlsen much, do you?

bronkenstein's picture

´...Carlsen plays even though FIDE once again changed the rules...´ Haha, good point =)

Not that he isnt already exposed more than enough, for those able , or just willing, to see.

slonik's picture

So Carlsen should refuse to play because there was no world blitz in 2011 and the qualification for that event was meaningless? So now he is once again "exposed" for those willing to see? Wow. These events were suddenly announced and no one take them particularly seriously anyway, most top players don't even bother showing up, if Carlsen didn't play the Carlsen hating idiots would moan about that endlessly instead, I wonder what it is that makes it so hard to take that Carlsen plays chess well

MW's picture

You're criticizing Carlsen for participating in a tournament and not taking a political stance when when he was 13? You sound like one of those right wingers who thinks 7 year olds should be tried as adults otherwise officials are being soft on crime.

Columbo's picture

be carefull, S3 will explain to you how eager you are :)

gelfand's picture

When does Anand play his next tournament. i want to defeat him.

KK's picture

Good to see Topalov back in the circuit.

Septimus's picture

Sofia rule in Blitz is a bit silly. Almost always, blitz games are decisive.

Peter, why spell Kazakhstan differently? I don't think it is an error, just curious.

Peter Doggers's picture

That was just an error. :-)

RuralRob's picture

Surprised that Nakamura isn't taking part. Fast play is supposed to be his strength.

hansie's picture

@Thomas: Carlsen, Radjabov, Karjakin, Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov, Svidler, Gelfand, Mamedyarov – these TEN players are the top 9 players in the January 2012 FIDE rating list PLUS the next highest rated player (in the absence of the winner of the previous Championship). Viktor Bologan appears to be the FIDE President’s nominee.
I’m surprised that Gashimov, who was ranked above Grischuk, Svidler, Gelfand and Mamedyarov in the January List is not playing the Rapid C’ship. After all, he was the Silver medallist in Men’s Rapid Event in the FIDE blessed SportAccord World Mind Games. What is not surprising is that FIDE did not arrange for a direct seeding in this C’ship for at least the Gold medallists at SportAccord World Mind Games, Hao in the Rapid and Vachier-Lagrave in the Blitz.

hansie's picture

After all, SportAccord World Mind Games were held in mid-December 2011, immediately before the publication of January List.

So much so for FIDE taking blitz and rapid chess more and more seriously and publishing separate ratings lists.

S3's picture

Hansie, rapid and blitz lists will be based only on games of 1/1/2012 and later.
The july list will be the first ever, there is still hope!

Thomas's picture

Gashimov (world #10 on the January 2012 list) was on the initial list of participants - see link "As we reported earlier" in the Chessvibes article. Apparently he chose not to participate, just like Anand, Aronian, Kramnik and two of the replacements (Nakamura and Tomashevsky).

I guess players had their own reasons for accepting or declining invitations, some simply may not want to travel to Astana (not exactly around the corner) for just three days. The event might have been (even) stronger if it took place in Moscow, particularly if it was held right after Tal Memorial when many are already in town. I don't think - or at least there's no evidence - that players are afraid of damaging their reputation if they don't play well, it's just rapid and blitz ... . That could be the case for Nakamura, but on the other hand he would have the longest trip of all potential participants.

S3's picture

Here is the list of players that qualified but have been f*****d by Fide.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Ruslan Ponomariov (2nd time Fide denies him a title match)
Dmitry Andreikin
Evgeny Tomashevsky
Wesley So
Nikita Vitiugov

B L's picture

Too much venom in your posts.

Take Xanax.

On another note - Dimi does seem to miss out on alot and he is an extremely talented blitz player.

noyb's picture

Without Nakamura's participation, this doesn't mean much.

Bigglesworth's picture

Despite what many of his fans think, Nakamura is not any stronger a rapid/blitz player than we would expect a player of his rating to be. He did participate in the last Blitz World Championship, Moscow 2010, and finished tied with Gelfand for 4th-5th, three points behind Aronian. Then he lost a 40 game blitz match against Carlsen by the rather depressing score of 24.5-15.5. He also competed in Amber 2011, where he finished with an even score in the rapid section, 2 points shy of even taking second place in rapid, much less rivaling Carlsen's +8 rapid score. The real shame is that Aronian isn't participating, as he is the defending Blitz champion and took second in the last Amber rapid.

John's picture

hey what is wrong??? live games anywhere on internet and official website blocks it as well
no news and no games, no results known {??}

Anonymous's picture

The real tournament with prequalified players (top 10) starts on Friday. So qualification games only going on at the moment. Peter mentioned the fact in his article.

Thomas's picture

Whychess has the results of the "unreal" rapid qualifying event: . Kurnosov, Dreev and Tkachiev qualified for the final, followed by the top seeds Andreikin, Moiseenko and Le Quang Liem who are out.
The tournament webpage is indeed not that useful for the time being - even if it now has game scores of three rapid games.

Thomas's picture

And while I posted, the same info appeared on Chessvibes ...

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for kindly reporting these results Thomas, you're "unreal" ;-)

In the post above, "real" should read "main". My bad...

Anonymous's picture

Lets hope the combined administrative power of the 24 officials (FIDE and locals) and arbiters will make this tournament worthwile for the remaining 16 players :-)

Anonymous's picture

okay, so let's hope the combined administrative force of no less than 24 officials (FIDE and locals) and arbiters will make the remaining 16 players' stay worthwile :-)

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