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 Anand. Hikaru Nakamura tops both the official rapid and blitz rating lists.
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)
||Le Quang Liem
||Vallejo Pons, Francisco
(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. $)
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.