After the London Chess Classic, the next big event was played in Doha, Qatar: the Rapid and Blitz World Championships took place from 25th to 30th December…..
@olimpiuurcan: “This should be special: five days of top-level fast and furious chess from Doha, Qatar.”
@patrick_jmt: “The world chess championship was interesting, but I’d rather watch rapid / blitz with the top players any time”.
…. and it was the first event in which Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin played after their World Championship match in New York in November. Big names, but…
@TarjeiJS: “Some big players missing in #dohachess2016: Caruana, So, Ding, Kramnik, Le Quang, Andreikin”.
And Nigel Short. But he has obviously played enough blitz.
Service update from GM Peter Svidler, @polborta: “Health bulletin: was too sick to fly, will be watching #dohachess2016 from home. Feel much better now, might manage a BB later this week.”
Loads of chess players were wandering around in hotel lobbies in luxury hotels in Doha, celebrating Christmas among unsuspecting tourists: @brucel: “I’m in a hotel lobby surrounded by chess players bragging about games they’ve won. Very festive: chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
@pscooksey: “Question – what are the players doing in the evening – are there sights to see in Doha or just a million elo in a nice hotel?
Sound like a lot of fun! Perhaps the tweeter should have gone out to the playing hall to watch the games: @forwardchess: “Rapid chess is epic struggle of the titans! Thrilling to watch.”
Indeed, rapid chess is thrilling to watch. It is even more fun to watch the games in the playing hall, but the pictures from the event showed an almost empty playing hall (except for the players of course) , an empty press room and only a handful of chess journalists covering the event.
(Picture of the press room by Anna Rudolf @Anna_Chess)
@mikamesh: “Why did the organizers pick a Stadium as venue? The place seems oddly deserted”.
An event like this, organized in a place like Doha, can only work if you can present the games on the net for free, with good commentators and a flawless connection.
@telegraphchess: “Miroshnichenko/Rudolph top commentators sad to see them struggling with awful game feed and asking audience the result of games!”
In the rapid tournament, there were some complaints about the connection.
@Chess_Anyone: “Such a poor streaming #Dohachess2016 This is not how a rapid WCC should look like.”
@theallenvonix: “How hard can it be, to provide a stable livestream in 2016? Final games and you have to reload every 10 seconds.”
@pscooksey:“I’m enjoying #dohachess2016 despite livestream being less reliable than the Benoni”.
Let’s go to the games. In an event like this, it is always nice to discover some new names: @pramodnvs:“Levan Pantsulia has been a revolution here.He has beaten both Hikaru and Magnus here.What a grt feat!” @GM_Mogranzini: “The real surprise of the tournament is Levan Pantsulaia”.
After day one (five rounds), the leader was…@chess.com: “Korobov Perfect On Day 1 At World Rapid Champs,” after the second day (10 rounds) @multiscrime: “Vassily Ivanchuk finishing the 2nd day of rapid championship with 8/10 and being a sole leader with performance of 2953.” @TarjeiJS: “Vasily Ivanchuk, leading #dohachess2016 after 10 out of 15 rounds. I am almost hoping this legend will win it all.”
@Vilispawar: “When you are an Indian, an ardent Vishy fan but you want Chucky to win against him”.
Oh, and where are the other top players: @unudurti: “Titans slumming it out on the lower boards: Naka on B16, Karjakin on B23, Leko on B26, Jobava on B31”.
Winner after 15 rounds: @JakeDarmanin: “Ivanchuk has just won the World Rapid Championship!! Kudos to the veteran legend, very happy for him!”
I think everybody in the chess world is happy for Ivanchuk. An overwhelming number of (prominent) tweeters congratulated the new rapid chess world champ.
@Kasparov63: “Congrats to the Great Vassily on winning the World Rapid! He surprised me many times at the board; now he’s teaching a whole new generation”.
@nigelshortchess: “Delighted for Vassily Ivanchuk, one of the tiny handful of chess players @Kasparov63 unhesitatingly refers to as a “genius”.
@unudurti: “With Ivanchuk winning, youngsters like Anand and Kramnik need to improve their game!”
What about the women? @rohangoda: Why aren’t the commentators looking at the Women’s world championship?! There are many interesting games!
@followchessapp: “Meanwhile in the Women’s section of #dohachess2016 , Anna Muzychuk continues to dominate with only 4 more rounds to go (total 12)” .
And in the end, Muzychuk won: @MarkTWIC: “In a tweet @Eljanov celebrates the Ukrainian double victory in the men’s (Ivanchuk) and women’s (Anna Muzychuk) in spite of no state support”
Blitz world championship
Next up : 21 rounds of blitz chess! Every chess player loves blitz, Morozevich for example: @gmasterg4: “It’s the comeback of the Legends, Morozevich is back!”
But neither Moro nor defending champion Grishuk could keep the pace: @cazhansen: “Carlsen & Karjakin neck and neck after day 1 of World Blitz @#dohachess2016. Defending Champ Grischuk looks out of contention”.
You can see that the tourney is a real tough event, when you look at the oppponents of Vishy Anand @Unudurti: “Anand’s tough fight in the Russian Superfinal: win vs Matlakov & Jakovenko, lost Morozevich & Dubov, draw Karjakin, Nepo next”.
On the second day, Carlsen seemed to have some trouble: @TarjeiJS: “Jobava had a completely winning position against Carlsen: “My grandmother would have won that position”.
@polborta: “With one hand tied behind her back, no doubt – and the other somehow full of rhubarb”.
@olimpiuurcan: “In conclusion, I’ll say this: I’d rather watch Jobava lose like a man a thousand times than Leko drawing like a wimp once.”
But in blitz you win one, you lose one. Take it like a man, Magnus.
@idnhal: “Very disappointed Carlsen. Irritated that Wojtaszek wasted clear win, then draw vs Karjakin into a loss in penultimate round”. @TarjeiJS: “Carlsen on Wojtaszek-Karjakin: “One of the most stupid things I’ve seen. It’s sick. It’s completely sick!”
@GMJtis: “So Karjakin gets a world title on tiebreaks, Magnus ties for three, wins one. A dramatic chess year, could hardly have been better scripted.”
@Missceylon: “So… Carlsen is still world champ, Ivanchuk rapid champ, and Karjakin is blitz champ. Everyone happy yet?”
I think Magnus is happy: @almodiakhi: “Magnus Carlsen won 68,666$ in prize money from Rapid&Blitz by sharing first place in both championships.”
Not bad for 5 days of rapid and blitz chess.
@SergeyKarjakin: “Not this time, Mr.Carlsen!”
What happened in the women’s section? @gmasterg4: “Muzychuk Anna in the Women’s section came back with vengeance clinching both Blitz and Rapid World Titles!!”
@CazHansen: “Muzychuk completed the double in the Women’s World Rapid & World Blitz. Congratulations on the accomplishment to her. Very impressive!”
The final tweet goes out to the organizer @almodiakhi: “Thank you all for being part of this championship, players, chesscast, commentators, arbiters, media, chess fans! CU All soon! “
One final advice….
This was the last blog post of the year. Thanks for your support in 2016. Please come back in 2017 and keep on tweeting!