The opening ceremony of the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships will take place on December 25 at the Central Chess Club named after M. Botvinnik (Gogolevsky Boulevard, 14/1).
The presence at the opening ceremony is obligatory only for the invited participants (players rated at least 2750 in the open event and 2500 in the women's event in any of the FIDE rating lists from January 1st to December 1st, 2019). Guests and registered press are admitted according to the lists.
The guests’ arrival time is 8 PM. The ceremony begins at 8:30 PM (Moscow time).
The event will include a short press briefing with participants and officials. The drawing of colors will take place at the ceremony; the pairings will be published on the official website of the WRBC-2019 and in social media.
The accreditation cards will be handed out in the playing hall on December 26 from 1 PM till 2:30 PM. The technical meeting will be held on December 26 at 2:30 PM right before the first round.
The preliminary lists of participants are published on the official site of the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships. The World Champion Magnus Carlsen is coming to the Rapid Championship as the rating favorite. He is to fight not only for the titles but also for the first position in the rapid rating list – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave overtook him in the live rating after his good run at the Grand Chess Tour Finals in London. Despite the fatigue of playing non-stop, the Frenchman will also participate (he skipped the last-year championship in St-Petersburg).
Experts and fans will be closely following Anton Korobov (Ukraine), who is fourth in the rapid rating list. Back in November the Ukrainian won the rapid stage of Grand Chess Tour Bucharest and proved that this high position was no coincidence. The list of favorites also includes Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian, and Vladislav Artemiev. Only three players from the top-10, namely Ding Liren, Fabiano Caruana and Teimour Radjabov have not registered yet. The reigning Rapid World Champion Daniil Dubov is sitting on 12th position in the preliminary list of participants ranked by the rating.
Pretty much the same players are among favorites in the Blitz World Championship. The defending Champion Magnus Carlsen is not the rating favorite as the first line in the rating-list belongs to Hikaru Nakamura. There are three Russian GMs in the rating top-10: Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Peter Svidler. Incidentally, their blitz rating is much higher than rapid rating. The exact opposite is true for MVL – after several setbacks in blitz tournaments, he sank to the 12th position in the respective rating list. The only player to give Carlsen run for his money last year in St-Petersburg, Jan-Krzysztof Duda holds the seventh place in the rating list.
Many are looking forward to watching Vladimir Kramnik in action. The former World Champion who had retired from professional chess a year ago registered only in the blitz competition (16th position in the rating list).
The women’s events will bring together all the best except the World Champion Ju Wenjun and the Challenger Alexandra Goryachkina whose match for the chess crown starts on January 04. In rapid chess, Anna Musychuk, the rapid and blitz European Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, Kateryna Lagno, Mariya Muzychuk, Lei Tingjie and Tan Zhongyi top the list of rating favorites. In blitz, the defending Champion Kateryna Lagno has the highest rating, followed by Lei Tingjie, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Anna Muzychuk, and Humpy Koneru. Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, who made her mark last year in St-Petersburg, will also play in Moscow.
Since the registration for all events is open until 23:59, December 22, some new players might be added to the list of participants.
Photo: David Llada