Vassily Ivanchuk, at 47 years and one of the older players in the Chess field, was crowned the World Rapid Chess champion after he won the title in Doha, Qatar, dethroning 26-year-old Magnus Carlsen of Norway.
Ivanchuk, the former top 10 player from Ukraine, won the title by edging past Russia’s Alexander Grischuk and World classical chess champion Carlsen of Norway in a three-way tie for the top spot. All three Grandmasters finished with 11 points out of a possible 15 but Ivanchuk took the title thanks to a superior tiebreak score. Grischuk finished second, pushing defending champion Magnus Carlsen to bronze position.
Ivanchuk, who started playing when chess games could go into two days, showed how well he has adopted to the current shorter version of the game. With each player getting 15 minutes to complete the game, rapid chess is like a one-day cricket match while classic (seven hours) is akin to Tests.
- Vassily Ivanchuk won the World Rapid title in Doha after he was tied with Magnus Carlsen
- Magnus Carlsen drew with Surya Sekhar Ganguly
- Viswanathan Anand was in joint-third place before entering the final round
Ivanchuk came up with a brilliant performance as he recorded nine wins, four draws and suffered only two defeats in the 15 rounds competition. One of his victims was Carlsen as the evergreen Ukrainian stunned the World No 1 in the seventh round.
After a first round draw against India’s Surya Sekhar Ganguly and defeat to Ivanchuk in the seventh round, Carlsen, who was hoping to add the rapid title to his Classical World Championship crown that he won by beating Russia’s Sergey Karjakin in New York last month, recovered superbly before ending the tournament with a final round win against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.
Anand 16th, Vidit best Indian at 8th
While Ivanchuk waged the battle for the chess oldies by winning the title, fellow veteran Viswanathan Anand of India was eclipsed by a 22-year-old compatriot. Anand finished 16th in the field that included 106 players while Maharashtra’s Vidit Santosh Gujrathi ended as the best placed India, taking a highly creditable eighth position.
Anand and Vidit were placed tied third going into the last five rounds on the third and final day of the competition but defeat to eventual winner Ivanchuk in the 14th round put paid to his hopes as he slipped down the order.
This was Vidit’s best performance in a FIDE event. The GM from Nashik started the event with three wins and after losing to Ivanchuk in the fourth recovered well to spring back into contention, eventually finishing with eight wins, four losses and three draws to share the eighth position with five players at 9.5 points each. As he had the best tiebreak score of the lot, Vidit ended eighth overall.
Ganguly was the third best Indian in the table at 21 after finishing in a pileup of eight players including Anand at 9.0 points while B Adhiban was 34th with 8.5 points, MR Lalith Babu (7.5 pts) was 60th, Debashis Das (7.0) was 70th and Neelotpal Das (6.0) ended 90th overall.
Double delight for Ukraine
It was double delight for Ukraine as Anna Muzychuk won the women’s title finishing a full point ahead of the second placed Alexandra Kosterniuk of Russia, who finished with 8.5 points from 12 rounds. Starting as the top seed, Muzychuk remained unbeaten throughout, winning seven games and drawing five. Kosterniuk also had a good tournament but the fourth round defeat to eventual champion Muzychuk the only blip for her.
Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia bagged the bronze medal with eight points from a possible 12.
For India. Koneru Humpy ended 10th, fighting back in the second half of the tournament to finish with seven points while Dronavalli Harika was placed 16th with 6.5 points.