World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship: Vidit Gujarathi shines, Harika, Anand disappoint

It is said that blitz (speed chess) is a game for the young. Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin proved that notion true by running ahead of the field by quite some distance. In the end it was the World Championship challenger Karjakin who won the gold thanks to his better tie-break, and Magnus Carlsen had to settle for the silver

 

As you can see Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen both scored 16.5/21. The third placed Daniil Dubov scored 14.5/21

As you can see Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen both scored 16.5/21. The third placed Daniil Dubov scored 14.5/21

 

After losing the World Classical title to Magnus in New York, Sergey won it here in Doha. Hence, the tweet!

Viswanathan Anand finished tenth in the final ranking list. As the five-time World Champion mentioned, “The recovery time for each game is very low at the blitz event. Usually when you lose a game in classical events you have time to recover before your next. But not at the World Blitz.” After losing to Ivanchuk at the World Rapid, Anand once again lost to the Ukrainian in blitz in the 15th round. He recovered excellently scoring 3.0/4 and at 12.0/19 he definitely had a shot at top five finish. However, Magnus’ London System was too much for Anand to handle. He lost the game without a fight. He did win his final round against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, an excellent blitz player, but that was only good enough for a tenth place finish.

If Vidit was the player of the rapid event for India, Surya Shekhar Ganguly was the protagonist in the blitz. He gained a whopping 95 Elo points beating guys like Melkumyan, Matlakov, Wojtaszek, Howell, Kozul, Amin and Amonatov. When we contacted Surya and asked him about his experience of playing in Doha, he described it in just one word – “Awesome!” We pressed for more. It was good to play against so many strong players. I missed many winning positions against players like Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi, Aronian etc. But then that’s normal in blitz and rapids. It was an excellent learning experience altogether.” he said.

Vidit Gujrathi’s performance in blitz wasn’t as scintillating as in the rapid, but he still gained 46 Elo points. One player who would not be too happy with his score would be B. Adhiban. The 24-year-old from Tamil Nadu is going to rub his shoulders against the best in the business from 12th of January at the Tata Steel Wijk Aan Zee tournament in Netherlands. This could prove to be an eye opener for the Chennai grandmaster. “The whole experience was amazing, sometimes even intense training can't beat first-hand experience over the board and this was one such situation! To become stronger I need to face the best in the field and hence I am really excited for the Tata Steel Masters!” says Adhiban.

 

Harika just fell short of a medal at the World Blitz, by finishing fifth

Harika just fell short of a medal at the World Blitz, by finishing fifth

 

When Harika Dronavalli started with 6.0/6, everyone was expecting a medal from her. But this is a long event. In the remaining eleven rounds she scored just 4.5/11. In spite of gaining 33 Elo points, the girl from Hyderabad disappointed.

Humpy Koneru finished tenth scoring 9.5/17. The gold was won by Anna Muzychuk, who made it a double by winning both the rapid and blitz events. Second place went to Valentina Gunina and third to Kateryna Lagno.

 

 

Final standings in the women’s blitz event

Final standings in the women’s blitz event

 

The Indian performance at the World Blitz 2016

The Indian performance at the World Blitz 2016

At the end of an event a very logical question is – what did the Indians gain from the event? For our main guns: Anand, Harika and Humpy this event was a disappointment. None of them performed poorly, but for players of their stature, who have repeatedly performed well at the international arena, anything less than a medal is an unsuccessful campaign. The real gain was made by Vidit Gujrathi who proved that he is the next big thing from Indian chess. In the last year Vidit has worked with Anish Giri, as his second. This has surely helped the boy from Nashik, as he got exposed to some of the top level preparation techniques, which would have been extremely difficult to figure out on his own. This work with Giri is clearly showing in his play.

Surya Shekhar Ganguly has been working with India number two Harikrishna. Like the Giri-Vidit combo, this too has been a very positive work relationship. While Harikrishna has broken through to the top ten in the world, Ganguly showed some high class chess in Doha. It would be interesting to see Harikrishna in action in the next year’s World Rapid and Blitz. With his highly intuitive feel for the game he would be a force to reckon with. Young guns like current National Champion Murali Karthikeyan and Aravindh Chithambaram must also be given an opportunity to play at such events. Of course, it’s the financial limitations which stop these two 17-year-olds from playing here. But if they are exposed to the top level chess at this age, there is a high chance that by the time they enter their twenties they would be the best in the world. As Anand takes some break from top level chess, all eyes will be on B. Adhiban at the Tata Steel Chess 2017.


Updated Date: Jan 06, 2017 14:03 PM

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