World Rapid and Blitz 2018
Chess players all over the world are eagerly waiting for the World Rapid and Blitz 2018 Championship to start.
The event is set for the charming city of St Petersburg, Russia. It takes place from 25th December (arrival) to 31st December (departure).
Players taking part
204 players from 40 federations have registered for the Open section. The Ladies section has 123 players from 25 federations.
Magnus Carlsen the current World Champion is the top ranked player and is looking to consolidate his grip on the Rapid and Blitz World titles as well.
GM Pontus Carlsson, GM Gata Kamsky, GM Levon Aronian & GM Sergey Karjakin are some of the other interesting players taking part.
Fabiano Caruna who was the Challenger for the World Championship is not taking part.
Ukrainian Grandmasters Pavel Eljanov and Ruslam Ponomariov have confirmed that they are not playing due to the current tension between Russia and their county.
GM Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine is top ranked in the Ladies section. Ju Wenjun who is the current World Champion is also taking part and is ranked number 2.
GM Mariya Muzychuk & GM Alexendra Kosteniuk who are both former World Champions are taking part as well. GM Kateryn Lagno & IM Zhansaya Abdumalik are other key contenders taking part in this event.
Africa has 4 players taking part in the Open section.
GM Adly Ahmed (2630) & GM Bassem Amin (2630) both from Egypt.
IM Mohamed Tissir (2417) from Morocco.
Ahmed Hassan Abdillahi (1570) from Djibouti.
There are no players from Africa in the Ladies section.
Eligibility for the event
The following players were eligible to participate in event.
The players rated at least 2500 in any of the FIDE rating lists (Standard, Rapid or Blitz) from January 1st to December
The reigning National Champions representing their National Federation regardless of their title or rating.
Dr. Victor Ng’ani and Gwen Jumba who are the current Kenya National Champions were entitled to play in this event. However the time to organise tickets and visas was just not enough. The Kenya National Championship event finished on 16th December 2018.
Interesting facts about St Petersburg
It is considered to be the cultural capital of Russia and one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and name Sankt-Petersburg (St Petersburg).
The name was change to Petrograd on 1st September 1914 after the outbreak of World War 1. The Imperial government decided to expunge the German name Sankt & Burg.
On 26th January 1924 it was renamed Leningrad (Lenin’s City).
The name was changed on 6th September 1991 to Sankt-Petersburg (St Petersburg).
The city’s traditional nickname among Russians is the Window to the West.
Hermitage in the city is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. Catherine the Great laid the foundation stone.
Other important city attractions include The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood which is famous for its colorful domes and bright, sunny mosaics . It was built at the beginning of the 20th century on the site of the murder of Tsar Alexander II in 1881.
Another attraction of the city is the impressive statue of Peter the Great, known as the ‘Bronze Horseman’
The prize fund for both open tournaments is USD 350,000 with first place receiving USD 60,000. For the Ladies section, the prize fund is USD 150,000 with USD 40,000 for first place.
Official website – World Rapid & Blitz Championship.
City website – St Petersburg.