D.he Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is the new world champion in blitz chess. The 31-year-old prevailed on Thursday in Warsaw in the tournament overshadowed by Covid cases in a third playoff against Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Duda had won the World Cup in the summer and was the first Pole to qualify for the Candidates Tournament.
With the 18-year-old Alireza Firouzja, who also competes for France, a third player was tied with points. But the regulations limit the jump-off to the two leaders after the second ranking in order to save time. However, all three chess players received the same $ 50,000 prize pool. The women’s competition was won by 17-year-old Kazakh Bibisara Assaubajewa.
In blitz chess, each player gets three minutes of basic thinking time plus two seconds per move. For all four competitions combined – rapid and blitz women / men – the prize money was one million US dollars.
Levon Aronjan, who recently moved from Armenia to the US Chess Federation, had led the competition for a long time, but lost four of the last five rounds and finished fifth. Magnus Carlsen, the five-time world champion in classic chess and five-time blitz chess world champion from Norway, failed to find his form and finished twelfth. The Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattorow, who became world rapid chess champion on Tuesday, finished the tournament in 46th place.
After three days of rapid chess and the first day of blitz chess without wearing a mask on the board, several participants had tested positive for Covid-19, including the promising American Hikaru Nakamura. They had to cancel the tournament and put them in quarantine.
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