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Sergei Karjakin Wins World Rapid Chess Championship

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Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 July 2012

For the first time in the history of chess the crown of the World Rapid Chess Champion was at stake. Previously there have been unofficial championships held in Mainz, but the event in Astana, Kazakhstan became the first official one. The prize fund of the tournament was $200,000 with $40,000 going to the winner. Much less than what is being distributed in classical chess, but still generally considered to be nice for three days of work.

The field was supposed to be composed of the world's 10 highest-rated chess players, two local players and three winners of the semi-finals. Unfortunately, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand,  Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana didn't show up. We don't know the reasons for sure, but...

The viewers had a chance to watch the live video from the championship, as well as enjoy GM Robert Fontaine's commentary in English and/or GM Sergei Shipov's musings in Russian. Moreover, Houdini analysis of all the games was available, so one could root for his favorite players without even having to evaluate everything himself.

The time control was 15m/game+10s/move. Depending on what you are looking for, you can find both brilliant strategic and tactical masterpieces. Or, if you need a confidence boost, there were many situations when the world's best chess players overlooked elementary 1 or 2-move winning variations; lost totally drawn endings and so on. Check out the games at the official website.

After day one Magnus Carlsen and Sergei Karjakin were tied for first with 4.5/5.

On day two Magnus dispatched his main competitor with White in a very instructive way and obtained a "commanding lead" - 1.5 points ahead of the field. Who would have thought that the world's highest-rated chess player would squander it in just 5 remaining games?

Before round 11 GM Sergei Shipov expressed an opinion that Magnus Carlsen is by far the strongest chess player in the world nowadays. However, he hastily added that the winner of the event will be one of the three leaders: Carlsen had 8.5, Karjakin and Topalov - 7.

In round 11 Magnus Carlsen predictably defeated the lowest-rated player in the tournament with Black, but then things started going downhill for him. The Norwegian chess genius lost to Ivanchuk and Grischuk and drew against Radjabov and Topalov. Meanwhile, Karjakin won against Ivanchuk, Radjabov, Kazhgaleev and Svidler. A last round draw against Kurnosov made him the World Rapid Chess Champion! Congratulations, Sergei!
The praise of a World Chess Champion
Carlsen is usually looking relaxed and bored, but at some point he scores!
Oh my God!
Ti kto takoi? Davai, do svidania!
I'll get bronze, and you will settle for #4. Ok, Shakh?
The stare of the first World Rapid Chess Champion

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 July 2012 )
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