Home Chess News King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships officially opened

King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships officially opened

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King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships officially opened

The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships was officially opened on Christmas eve at the Central Chess Club in Moscow.

All top-seeded players in the Rapid and Blitz events drew white pieces in the drawing of lots. Magnus Carlsen (Rapid Open) started the trend which was followed by Anna Muzychuk (Rapid Women). Hikaru Nakamura (Open) and Kateryna Lagno (Women) completed the Blitz section.

World Champion Magnus Carlsen closes his eyes to pick up the lots. Photo credit Eteri Kublashvili and Amruta Mokal.
World Champion Magnus Carlsen closes his eyes to pick up the lots. Photo credit Eteri Kublashvili and Amruta Mokal.
Kateryna Lagno of Russia with red blouse draws the White pieces in the Ladies Blitz. Photo credit Eteri Kublashvili and Amruta Mokal.
Kateryna Lagno of Russia with red blouse draws the White pieces in the Ladies Blitz. Photo credit Eteri Kublashvili and Amruta Mokal.

Central Chess Club

The legendary Central Chess Club was a busy place with players, arbiters, celebrities of the chess world and journalists gathered for the official opening.   

Arkady Dvorkovich, the FIDE President, expressed gratitude to the continuous support by Saudi Arabia to this event as well as to global companies such as Total, Gazprom, and others.

Arkady Dvorkovich, the President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) at the opening ceremony. Photo credit Eteri Kublashvili and Amruta Mokal.
Arkady Dvorkovich, the President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) at the opening ceremony. Photo credit Eteri Kublashvili and Amruta Mokal.

“I am happy that Russia is hosting another big event, this time in Moscow (St Petersburg hosted the 2018 edition). It is wonderful that the event is at the historic Luzhniki Stadium which was home to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. “I wish everyone good luck, and I declare the World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2019 in Moscow open”.

Mark Glukhovsky, who is the tournament director and Executive Director of the Chess Federation of Russia, stressed the historical importance of Moscow and its Central Chess Club. He was optimistic that the organisation would live up to the highest standards. “I wish everyone lots of success and invite you all to come and follow the event,” Glukhovsky said.

Mark Glukhovsky, who is the tournament director and Executive Director of the Chess Federation of Russia. Photo credit Eteri Kublashvili and Amruta Mokal.
Mark Glukhovsky, who is the tournament director and Executive Director of the Chess Federation of Russia. Photo credit Eteri Kublashvili and Amruta Mokal.

The World Rapid and Blitz Championships have generated considerable coverage in Russian and other world media outlets. Russian President Vladimir Putin even sent a letter expressing delight at his country hosting a “highly prestigious international competitions, involving many of the world’s top players”.

“I am certain that many outstanding battles, and intense struggles, will take place over the next few days,” Putin said.

Players from Africa

GM Amin Bassem, GM Adly Ahmed both from Egypt and IM Tissir Mohamed of Morocco are Africa’s representatives.

GM Amin Bassem of Egypt carrying Africa's hopes. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
GM Amin Bassem of Egypt carrying Africa’s hopes. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Ugly head of world politics

The ugly head of world politics has already emerged at the event. GM Alireza Firouzja, the 16-year-old talent from Iran, has opted to play under the FIDE flag rather than the Iranian flag. He has chosen this route as it appears that Iran has barred its players from taking part in the Open section. Iran does not allow its players from playing against Israelis. The Open section has five players from Israel.

19-year-old GM Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran is missing the event due to this ugly situation. He is the 2018 World Junior Champion.

GM Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran who is one of top junior players in the world and who is missing this event due to politics. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
GM Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran who is one of top junior players in the world and who is missing this event due to politics. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat, WGM Pourkashiyan Atousa and WGM Hejazipour Mitra are representing Iran in the Ladies section. Israel has no players in the Ladies section.

WGM Mitra Hejazipour carrying Iranian hopes in the Ladies section. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
WGM Mitra Hejazipour carrying Iranian hopes in the Ladies section. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Luzhiniki Sports Arena

The Rapid and Blitz tournaments will be at the iconic Luzhniki Sports Arena. It was the famous opening venue of the 1980 Summer Olympics and the 2018 finals of the football World Cup. 

The iconic Luzhniki Sports Arena which is the venue for the 2019 King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championship. Photo credit FIDE website.
The iconic Luzhniki Sports Arena which is the venue for the 2019 King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championship. Photo credit FIDE website.

The Rapid Championship will run from 26th to 28th December 2019. The two-day Blitz tournament will commence on the 29th and end on 30th December 2019. 

Just over 330 participants from all around the world are taking part. 

The games will start on 26th December at 3 PM Moscow time (GMT +3).

Other events

Other events planned include simuls, chess solving exhibitions, blitz and rapid tournaments. The participants of the leading chess events will also have a chance to face each other in a football tournament at the Luzhniki Stadium. The date for this match is the evening of 28th December.

Article

Article adapted from Milan Dinic.

Links & other information

Offical site for the 2019 World Rapid & Blitz Championship.