Magnus CarlsenThe King Salman World Blitz Chess Championship concluded today in Riyadh with Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia) emerging convincing champions of their respective section.

After the first day of the championship Magnus Carlsen trailed full two points behind the leader and 2016 champion Sergey Karjakin. However, the impressive winning streak on the second day, where he conceded only two draws in ten games, put Carlsen ahead of the field and he secured the title with a round to spare. His total score in the end is 16/21 points.

Point and a half behind the champion are Sergey Karjakin and World Rapid Champion Viswanathan Anand. Karjakin took the silver medal on better tie-break, but the prize money will be shared.

This is Carlsen’s third world blitz title, having previously won in Moscow 2009 and Dubai 2014.

Carlsen stated in an interview with FIDE press officer: “Obviously, I am extremely happy. Yesterday was a difficult day for me, but today everything went beyond expectations. This title means a lot to me, especially after losing that last game from the leading position in the Rapid Championship. So it’s a massive win.”

Nana Dzagnidze repeated the strong performance from the first day of the Women’s Championship, and with Pia Cramling’s misfortune, this was sufficient for the clear first place with 16,5/21 points.

The powerful finish of five straight victories lifted Valentina Gunina to the second place half a point behind the winner.

The rest of the field remained far behind. Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno shared the third place with 14 points each, but the Rapid Champion Ju claimed the bronze in blitz thanks to the superior tie-break.

Dzagnidze said: “It was a very difficult event and this title is very important to me. I am still not aware that I became champion. This was my dream.”

Dzagnidze is reigning European champion in classical chess.

All videos and interviews are available here.

The 2017 King Salman World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships were held from 26-30th December in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 238 world’s top players competing for the prestigious titles and 2,000,000 USD prize fund.

Official website / Photo gallery / Results, Standings, Pairings

Day 1

Karjakin idThe King Salman World Blitz Chess Championship started today at the beautiful Apex Convention Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A total of 138 players in the Open section and 100 players in the Women’s section are competing in this prestigious event. 11 rounds have been played today.

The defending World Blitz Champion GM Sergey Karjakin (Russia) is on the roll, winning seven games and drawing four, to conclude the day as clear leader on 9/11 points.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), who is also blitz specialist, is close behind on 8,5 points. Six players, including three Chinese, are on 8 points each: Peter Svidler, Wang Hao, Ding Liren, Yu Yangyi, Le Quang Liem, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

After the first round GM Ernesto Inarkiev submitted a complaint regarding the result in his game against Magnus Carlsen. The tournament’s Appeals Committee rejected the claim (ruling attached).

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The claim of an “illegal move”

Having a very low blitz rating, as she herself admitted in an interview, Pia Cramling (Sweden) started the race from the lower bracket of the Women’s competition. This brought her a round 1 loss against the 3rd-seed Valentina Gunina. But from then on, Cramling had a magnificent score of nine wins and only one draw to conclude the first leg with 9,5/11 points.

The nearest followers Nana Dzagnidze and Valentina Gunina are a full point behind.

The remaining 10 rounds will be played on Saturday 30th December.

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Pia Cramling

Yesterday Viswanathan Anand and Ju Wenjun won gold medals in King Salman World Rapid Championship.

Official website / Photo gallery / Results, Standings, Pairings

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Anna Zatonskih, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant and Martha Fierro resting between the rounds

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GM Salem A.R. Saleh

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Chief arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos announcing the start of the round

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Alexandra Goryachkina, Natalia Zhukova and Nana Dzagnidze

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GM Laurent Fressinet

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Women’s section

Restaurant 2

Restaurant 1
Hotel restaurant photos by Maria Emelianova

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Kind staff of the General Sports Authority

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Arbiters from Estonia and Greece

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Pia Cramling and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant taking a walk between two rounds

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Chinese players taking a break

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Former world women’s classical champion Zhu Chen

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Natalia Zhukova

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Vassily Ivanchuk checking the screens

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Sanan Sjugirov defeated Magnus Carlsen in round 2

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Valentina Gunina and Monika Socko

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Big screen in the lobby area

Source: World Chess Federation – FIDE