Preview: Rapid and Blitz European Championships

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Warm up for the World Rapid and Blitz

Magnus Carlsen recently announced that he may not play another World Championship match in classical chess. We can’t be sure if this “threat” will become a reality in the future, but we know the Norwegian is keen to play in the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Warsaw from December 26th.

A little more than a week before the start of the exciting tournament, the players from the countries of the European Chess Union can warm up and fight for a total of 41,000 euros in prize money.

  • First up is the blitz tournament, which will be held on December 7th. The event consists of 11 double rounds according to the Swiss system with a time control of 3 minutes plus 2-second steps per move.
  • Then, on 18.-19. December, the quick tournament will be an 11-round open with a time control of 15 minutes plus 10-second increments per move.

The first round of the Blitz event begins at 10:00 a.m. local time (Central European Time), while the Rapid Event begins on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

Both events will be held at the Spodek Sports and Entertainment Center in Katowice, Poland. Katowice is the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship in southwest Poland and the central city of the Upper Silesia Metropolitan Region. It is the 11th most populous city in Poland while its urban area is the most populous in the country and one of the most populous in the EU.

The following hygiene protocol applies during the tournaments:

  • All persons who enter the Spodek sports hall (venue) should have a valid UE COVID certificate (printed out or as a digital file).
  • Unvaccinated individuals should be prepared to submit a negative COVID-PCR test no earlier than 72 hours before entering the building or an antigen test no earlier than 24 hours before entering the building.
  • Anyone present in the Spodek sports hall should be ready to present a certificate or a negative COVID test.
  • All players should use hand sanitizer when entering the building. The organizers provide hand disinfectants for all participants.
  • By entering the building, each person agrees that their temperature will be measured.
  • Entering Spodek is prohibited for people who are in quarantine or who have symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Everyone has to wear masks. Masks should cover the nose and mouth. Players and referees are not allowed to wear a mask during the rounds. After completing the game, each player should wear a mask.

The players

Local hero Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who qualified for the next edition of the Candidates Tournament by winning this year’s World Cup, will be the top-rated player in Katowice, although he will only take part in the Blitz tournament.

The top seed in the Rapid event will be Russian veteran Alexander Motylev. The reigning European champions Anton Demchenko (Russia) and Igor Kovalenko (Latvia) are second and third seeded.

Rapid tournament

Surname country Elo B.
1. GM Motylev, Alexander Russia 2703 1979
2. GM Demchenko, Anton Novorossiysk 2666 1987
3. GM Kovalenko, Igor Latvia 2649 1988
4th GM Balog, Imre Hungary 2629 1991
5. GM Bernadskiy, Vitaliy Ukraine 2616 1994
6th GM Andersen, Mads Skanderborg Skakklub 2574 1995
7th I AM Laurusas, Tomas Kaunas GAJA 2557 1996
8th. GM Pultinevicius, Paulius Marijampole 2536 2001
9. GM Donchenko, Alexander Germany 2535 1998
10. GM Durarbayli, Vasif Azerbaijan 2532 1992

… 602 players

Blitz tournament

Surname country Elo B.
1. GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof MKS MOS Wieliczka 2792 1998
2. GM Balog, Imre Hungary 2678 1991
3. GM Kovalenko, Igor Latvia 2638 1988
4th GM Sumets, Andrey SF Wirtzfeld 2619 1980
5. GM Durarbayli, Vasif Azerbaijan 2599 1992
6th GM Czarnota, Paweł UKS Czarny Koń Olkusz 2540 1988
7th GM Motylev, Alexander Russia 2540 1979
8th. GM Stefansson, Hannes Gardabaer chess club 2532 1972
9. GM Demchenko, Anton Novorossiysk 2531 1987
10. I AM Laurusas, Tomas Kaunas GAJA 2528 1996

… 549 players


Masterclass Vol.2: Mihail Tal

On this DVD, Dorian Rogozenco, Mihail Marin, Oliver Reeh and Karsten Müller introduce the 8th world chess champion in video lessons: his openings, his understanding of chess strategy, his artistic endgame and finally his immortal combinations.


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