Ratings, blitz, Ding and the rest

«The star of the new rating list is without doubt Sergey Karjakin, who has gained 19 Elo points by winning the Candidates' tournament by a full point from the field. Even so, one should overlook the improbable result of Ding Liren, who has gained 140 points in the blitz rating list and now occupies third spot in the world », – begins the report on ChessBase


Blitz legends Alexey Vyzhmanavin and Valentin Arbakov

A lot has been written on the classical ranking in general and the brilliant victory of Sergey Karjakin in particular. Less attention has been paid to the "stepchildren" of the main list, ie. the Rapid and Blitz lists. Well, Rapid here and there, but the majority do not take the blitz seriously. Or maybe not? The list has been around for a long time (if memory serves, since 2012), the winners in some of the largest official competition were in Rapid and Blitz. And are such names as the Najdorf, Bronstein, Tal, Arbakov, Vyzhmanavin, Cvitan  enough? They were in the past, but in the present:

During the reporting period, there were two notable events that have made significant changes in the balance of power on the blitz Olympus. The Hayane (PRC) tournament was part of the programme of the World Mind Games, 16 grand masters fought each other in two rounds. The Group "Region" Company Cup immediately after the Aeroflot Open was of a more democratic character and gathered 176 participants. If you do not take into account the results of players who were just interested in facing off with blitz aces, then there was an outstanding composition to the event.
The biggest jump was by Ding Liren - (!) 140 points - and commands respect because he did it in elite (if such a concept is applicable to blitz) tournaments, fighting against such giants as Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Dominguez, Ponomarev, Fressinet, Nepomnyashchi ... 17.5 out of 30 at home in Hayane and 15 out of 18 (without defeat!) at the regional championship. Ding has leapt to the top level, and shares third place with  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Ding Liren, who gained 140 points in two blitz events and is now 2875, and in the top four on the list.

Yan Nepomniatschi was only half a point behind Ding in Moscow and gained 32,80 points, lifting him to a highly respectable fifth place. 

The Professorial Evgeny Tomashevsky is not particularly associated with such a "non-serious" thing as blitz. However, he showed that he can play it very well, scoring 18,5/ 30 in Hayan. +60,40 Elo points. Bravo, Evgeny. 2800 is within reach.

Although blitz is considered to be a privilege of the young, it turns out that age is not always an obstacle in such play.  Boris Gelfand  in Moscow gained 24.80 points, 15th place. What can one say?  In the top 100, the best player older than Boris Arbramovich is  Granda Zuniga (81st, 2669) ...
It is difficult to earn points in the tournament with a more varied composition of participants, since one stumble against a strong chess player of the amateur level (and this is the blitz - anything is possible) and the rewards of many games are flying down the drain. But here too, some can prosper. And the example of Oleksandr Bortnik is vivid proof of that. The young Ukrainian Grandmaster laboriously earned gains in the  Vladimir Petrov Memorial (Riga), the "Bank Lviv" tournament and obtained notoriety because of some events (not blitz!) at the Shelest Memorial in Nikolaev. 46.20 points and a decent 19th place in the list of the grandees.
Not all players have gained, and there were casualties. The universally accepted best blitz player in the Caucasus, Rauf Mamedov, not so long ago confidently crossed the threshold of 2800. Unfortunately, in Moscow, he was not too successful (which once again demonstrates the strength of the tournament) and left the prestigious 2800 club. However, you can be sure, only for a short while.

The main sensation of the Moscow blitz was the world champion's failure. Alexander Grischuk was "hit" for as much as 84.80 (!) points! A disaster, especially when you consider how seriously Alexander Igorovich takes his blitz. By the way, he lost only one (!) game in the tournament but also failed to win enough games. What caused such a feeble performance? Guessing is not necessary, we must just wait for the next big event, and certainly rehabilitation will not take long. The extra class of the Muscovite is an indisputable fact, even though his huge losses this time have knocked him out of the top 20.

The club of the strongest blitz players in the world is constantly updated and modified. "I share the joy of all the fans of Kazakhstan" - Bolat Asanov solemnly announced the day after the publication of the blitz rating list. There are good reasons for this. Chess players from the Republic have rarely appeared in the top 100, but in 2700 (50th place), Rinat Zhumabaev (Kazakhstan) appeared for the first time.

Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Text: Sergey Kim