Reports | July 08, 2012 16:21

Karjakin wins Rapid World Championship as Carlsen stumbles on last day (VIDEO)

Sergey Karjakin wins the first official Rapid World Championship

Sergey Karjakin won the FIDE World Rapid Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan on Sunday. The Moscovite finished on 11.5/15, a point more than Magnus Carlsen, who lost to Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Grischuk on the last day. Veselin Topalov finished in third place. The Bulgarian edged out Shakhriyar Mamedyarov on tiebreak.

Sergey Karjakin wins the first official Rapid World Championship | All images © ChessVibes

Event World Blitz and Rapid Championships | PGN (rapid) via TWIC
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, Viktor Bologan, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexey Dreev, Igor Kurnosov, Vladislav Tkachiev, Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Anuar Ismagambetov, Dmitry Andreikin, Le Quang Liem, Nikolai Chadaev, 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.
Special rule 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
Prize fund US $200,000 for each tournament; first prize US $40,000

The third and final day of the Rapid World Championship in Astana was one full of drama. Vassily Ivanchuk forgot about his clock in a position he couldn't lose, against Sergey Karjakin, who went on to score 4.5/5 and finish on a superb 11.5/15. Although he had a tougher schedule, it was still surprising to see Magnus Carlsen, who had played so strongly the first two days, stumble at the end. He lost to both Ivanchuk and Alexander Grischuk, and finished second behind Karjakin, who can now call himself the Steinitz of rapid chess! (When we mentioned this nickname to him, the Russian had a good laugh, and then said: "Do mention that in your report!" You're welcome, Sergey!)

Here's our video report:

In the 11th round everything was still going according to plan for Carlsen, who won easily against tail-ender Anuar Ismagambetov.

PGN string

In the same round, Karjakin was quite lucky. He had been defending a worse position for a while already, when his opponent, the unpredictable Chuky, playing black, forgot about his clock. (Despite the 10-second increment, he was in fact not the only player to lose on time in this event.)

PGN string

In this position Ivanchuk's flag fell...

Ivanchuk can't believe that his flag has fallen; a fortunate moment for Karjakin

The Ukrainian didn't leave the playing hall but kept on walking up and down between the boards, shaking his head. Not fully calmed down yet at the start of the next round, Ivanchuk then continued to help Karjakin by inflicting the very first loss upon Carlsen!

PGN string

As Karjakin would later tell us (see the video), he thought: "OK, this is my chance". He won an excellent game against Radjabov.

PGN string

Sergey Karjakin: 4.5/5 on the last day

Meanwhile, Topalov had to give up his chances to finish first. In fact the Bulgarian, who was two pawns up in a knight ending against Tkachiev, managed to lose this game!

PGN string

Carlsen then lost again, in a Berlin Wall against Grischuk.

PGN string

Carlsen resigns his game against Grischuk

In the penultimate round Karjakin, who was now leading by half a point, won yet again. For Peter Svidler the tournament lasted a bit too long; he lost the last two rounds.

PGN string

Carlsen got a slight advantage against Radjabov, but eventually he couldn't break the Azerbaijani's defence. This meant that Karjakin only needed a draw in the last round against Igor Kurnosov to win the first official Rapid World Championship. And that's what happened.

The arbiter congratulates Karjakin with his victory

If Karjakin had lost and Carlsen won, the two would have played an Armageddon game to decide upon the tournament. However, due to Karjakin's draw the Topalov-Carlsen game was not relevant for first place anymore. Carlsen was in fact lost at some point, but drew the game and finished second, a point behind Karjakin.

PGN string

Despite missing the mate, the Bulgarian still finished third. He edged out Shakhriyar Mamedyarov on the first tiebreak rule, which was the individual result.

Karjakin won US $40,000, Carlsen US $33,000 and Topalov and Mamedyarov both got US $25,000. There were money prizes for all players; see the regulations (PDF) for more details.

On Monday the players continue with the first 15 rounds of the World Blitz Championship (games of 3 minutes plus 2 seconds increment). The last 15 rounds will be played on Tuesday. The field will almost be the same, with Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Morozevich, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Viktor Bologan and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov participating in both events. Dmitry Andreikin, Le Quang Liem, Nikolai Chadaev, Pavel Kotsur and Rinat Jumabayev will join them.


Games day 3

PGN file

World Rapid Championship 2012 | Final standings



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.


bronkenstein's picture

Unbelieveable things happening, who would say that MC will waste +3 after excellent first 2 days. Anyway, Bravo Sergey ! You hold the ´˙Little Crown´ now, and deservedly so =)

PS for me, the real heroes of the event are Topa (rapid was never his Forte, and in the end he was almost 2nd! , letting Magnus off the hook - very pleasant surprise) and Gandalf - placing this high in rapid event, in his age - Korchnoi would be proud =)

Nigel P's picture

Gandalf? Is Bilbo playing too?

RealityCheck's picture

Like the way Karjakin carjacked the trophy. One and a half points ahead of......his peers. Carlsen fumbles the ball near the goal line. Ha. Ha. Ha. Gelfand keeps the ship afloat! And, Topalov is back on the charts.

Anonymous's picture

Not one and a half points. Reading a simple table seems to challenge you to the utmost. One point ahead of the by far strongest player in the world is still remarkable. Well done Sergey :-)

RealityCheck's picture

You're right. Surge won the tournanent by one full point not 1.5 points. I must have dozed off; got bored watching Topalov blow his win over Carlsen. And, mis-read the score card. Btw, I wouldn't go as far as callin Carlsen the strongest player in the world. He still has a minus (-) score against 5 time Wch Anand.

Chess Fan's picture

As someone mentioned to me, Magnus Carlsen is 1-6 with 16 draws in classical games vs World Champion Anand.
I acknowledge MC's greatness, but let us not blow his horn too hard against the World Champion. Anand is the undisputed, official, unified (whatever you want to call it) World Champion, whether Europeans want to agree or not.

slonik's picture

So how is Anand's record against Aronian and what can one conclude about that?

Anonymous's picture

What has that to do with Anand being the undisputed champion?

RG's picture

I think styles make fights and Aronian's style is hard for Anand. What one can conclude is IF Aronian manages to qualify as the official challenger he stands a very good chance of wresting the crown from Anand's hands. However IF Carlsen manages to qualify as the official challenger then Anand has a very good chance to keep his title in that matchup.

Morley's picture

Great job by Karjakin! Congrats also to Carlsen, who almost got it. Hopefully with the advent of rapid and blitz ratings we will see more top events like this. Looking forward to the blitz!

Aditya's picture

How did Topalov miss it against Carlsen after g x h5? It would have been a nice completion to the knight sac.

Columbo's picture

what do you do after g takes h5 if Rook comes to g5+ ???

Columbo's picture

by the way, Topalov didn't miss it, he just refused to win like that ... that's the discussion we had with professor sarcasm here above

df's picture

I find that very hard to believe. I was watching the live transmission which showed a few times Topalov's face after the game. And he was definitely not looking happy - he looked like somebody who just realized that he just left out a rare chance to mate the current no 1. I also have trouble to understand, why Carlsen should have any reason to lose on purpose or why Topalov should have any reason not to win on purpose.

I think this was just a very tense game in the last round of a very strong tournament, with very little time left for both players. It seems natural that also extremely strong players can blunder under these circumstances. Also the moves right before this h4 Nh5+ "incident" were not the most accurate ones - the online commentators, sitting very close to the action, interpreted this as signs for the extreme tension, and I think they are just correct with this.

slonik's picture

It was their fifth game in a row with almost no breaks in between, not strange there are some mistakes in the end

Columbo's picture

i maybe over reacted, due to the very strange coincidence between karjakin's draw and the long time then it took to Magnus to play ... this h5 thing ... then, i thought " ok topalov doesnt want to win like that " ... but it's true that the tension was great, and afterall, it was maybe only a coincidence ... anyway, Karjakin is the champ, congrats to him

PircAlert's picture

Because Danailov needed ECU support?? This is one reason we should not have tournaments at World championship competition level.

As much as I would like to support Carlsen (actively) but I could not (I mean was just neutral) as his wins would be used to dilute world championship by those aspirants (anti-FIDEists) who would want to take over FIDE.

Anonymous's picture

Will these players enter the rapid ratinglist with a number equal to their tpr?

redivivo's picture

Happiest today was probably Mamedyarov, he was shining like the sun after beating Kurnosov who he has accused of cheating several times in dimwitted press releases.

Septimus's picture


RG's picture

Top seed Mamedyarov withdraws from Aeroflot Open

Aeroflot scandal – the accused responds

Aeroflot-gate: Mamedyarov sticks to his guns

Aeroflot-gate: reactions from our readers

boardgame's picture

Magnus fell apart. It seems his biggest weakness is that he is getting too comfortable too quickly. Appears that he is struggeling to keep the tension and with it his motivation/concentration when he has a "commanding lead".

Anonymous's picture

If you take the time to look you will see that it's common for players to lose 2 in a row in these events. Some kind of flow in the game, especially when you play multiple games a day.

Anonymous's picture

I agree...I hope this loss will motivate MC.

Anonymous's picture

Good for Karjakin!
I'd like to see him play against his higher rated peers in classical as well. He and many others don't get that chance very often.
As it is he is forced to play in team events and knock outs that only hurt his progress and rating.
Now he is a world champion and maybe he will get a few more invites and attention.

Just to compare some classical pairings since 2010:
Karjakin Anand 2 games
Anand-Kramnik 7
Anand-Carlsen 11
Anand-Aronian 5

Carlsen-Aronian 7
Kramnik-Aronian 8 (rated)
Karjakin-Aronian 4

Manu's picture

off topic>
all of those who believe that chess is a sport should write a letter to the olympiad organizers asking why there is not a single shot of chess in their "survival" video clip ...
why would that be>

Matt's picture

According to the tournament rules, players must talk to the arbiter in order to request a draw, can't talk to the opponent

Excalibur's picture

People seem to forget the fact that Carlsen was facing Ivanchuk,Grischuk,Topalov and Radjabov all on the same day. Anyone who thought it would be a cake-walk despite his 1.5 lead is delusional.

Anonymous's picture

Congrats Karjakin.
Finally starting to fulfill your potential, it appears. I was worried that you were going to be another brilliant, "was promising" prodigy. The greatest prodigy perhaps, becoming a grandmaster at 12?!

MH's picture

Carlsen scored about 2855 elo, not bad I think. Karjakin did great.

Anonymous's picture

A prize fund of 200,000 dollars!
1st Place 40,000
2nd Place 33,000
3rd Place 27,500
4th Place 22,500
5th Place 18,000
6th Place 14,000
7th Place 12,000
8th Place 10,000
9th Place 7,000
10th Place 4,000
11th-16th place (2,000
$ each) 12,000

I can see why original qualifiers Ponomariov and So might be pissed off. Those guys could use the money.

AljechinsCat's picture

Overall most people seem never to play tournament chess, judging by the tone of comments. Carlsen to lose on purpose-- my god. Great tournament! By the way, I recommend to watch how Grischuk broke down Carlsens Berlin.

Bert de Bruut's picture

... and Topalov "not winning" on purpose?? Yeah sure, sounds like the stuff that former world champions are made of... Your reasoning is utter crap Columbo (unlike that of the late TV-detective).

Lee's picture

Congratulations to Karjakin.

Interesting to see Topalov do so well. In the clip he's seen with a smile on his face after a couple of games, including the loss against Tkachiev. Perhaps his fine result is due to him enjoying himself.

Anonymous's picture

Excellent video and games given to us. Thanks.

Septimus's picture

Grischuk Topalov was quite the miniature. Qd2 seemed a bit odd given that the King is so exposed.

Aditya's picture

I do not understand why many players don't look at their opponents while conceding defeat and resigning. They look elsewhere and extend a half hearted handshake. It seems so unsporting and sometimes rude. Tomorrow will be another battle and the opponents are not patzers to discredit the loss. From the videos, very few players seem to be as dignified in defeat as they are in victory.

Anonymous's picture

+1. Huray for Topalov, Murtas and Karjakin amongst others.

Harry_Flashman's picture

Sauron missed the event ...

Septimus's picture

Anybody disrespecting their opponent should be disqualified immediately. Churlishness has no place in chess.

BobbyFischer's picture

I get by with a little help from my friends. Mm, I get
high with a little help from my friends. Mm, I'm gonna
try with a little help from my friends.


Latest articles