For the first time in history, FIDE have published a rating list in three categories.
By analogy with athletics, Classical chess can now be seen as the marathon, (or, if you prefer, as long distance running), rapid as middle distance and blitz as the sprint. If blitz still raises a few questions, rapid, in the opinion of most professionals, long ago gained the right to exist, and maybe it is a surprise that it has taken until now to be rated officially. But, one way or anotehr, the right thing has now bene done.
Alexey Dreev - a second wind!
So let us turn to the tyranny of the numbers. The first top-100 rapid list contains many surprises and interesting facts. If the names of the top four more or less accords with the usual hierachy, the 5th place of the European champion is without doubt an achievement by the Russian GM. In his recent statements, Dreev has formulated his credo clearly, the essence of which is that play in rapid is one of the main criteria of the level of one's chess understanding and talent. His recent appearances have shown that Alexey has found his "aurea mediocritas", allowing him to apportionhis energy rationally in prestigious events.
"Maybe I am wrong, but I definitely vote for a change in the formula for chess events. I believe that players would suffer less and spectators would get more pleasure, if instead of one long game, grandmasters played four short games in an evening, with just 15 seconds per move". (David Bronstein, in "David and Goliath")
Some top classical players have not managed tp try their hand at rapid chess lately, which explains the absence from the top list of Kramnik, Caruana, Polgar, and several others. There is no doubt that this wrong will be put right in the near future in a radical way.
The chess world impatiently awaits Vladimir Borisovich...
It is noticeable how low the rating requirement is to get in the top 100 at rapid. 2630 would not get one near the top 100 in classical chess. This paradox is explained by the small number of strong rapid events.
The appearance of new names always excites interest amongst spectators. Rapid ceryainly satisfieds the demands for such sporting intrigues. Some "unknowns" are appearing on the horizon. Grant Melkumian (Armenia, 48th place), Gregorcz Gadxhievsky (Poland, 68th place), Adam Tukhaev (Ukraine, 91st place), Amin Baseem (Egypt, 96th place), are amongs the new names. And what about IM Anton Demchenko (Russia, 83rd place)?!
As with blitz, the situation will be greatly affected by the forthcoming world championship. Admittedly, the time and place of this are still a matter of question. The criteria for qualifying for the final are also unclear, and this will be settled by potential organisers of the event. In this, the publication of the rating list is by nmo means superfluous.
What is said above about rapid applies even more to blitz, so we will not repeat ourselves, but will just try to draw attention to the most interesting points.
"And I was surprised to read in one of Karpov's interviews that 'If it comes to blitz, then Chepukaitis could become world champion'. Yes, indeed, and I don't see anything wrong with that". (David Bronstein, 'David and Goliath')
However, we still await the day when blitz, so beloved on David Ionovich, gets that kind of official recognition. Even so, the top spots are again occupied by the kings of classical chess. And maybe this is the strongest argument in favour of blitz touranaments. But here too, there are surprises. However, the presence of Dmitry Anrdeikin can only barely be regarded as a great sensation. Perhaps the "Snow King" Magnus Carlsen being only fourth is surprising. I had the impression at the last world rapid and blitz champiosnhips that magnus is not so hot at these forms of chess- but only for now!
Those who think blitz men's territory should note the position of Anna Muzychuk (86th) and the potential for strengthening the position of women's blitz has hardly been tapped yet. Polgar, Hou Yifan (on 01.01.2013 blitz - 2560), Koneru ( 2558) and who know many others can popularise our game through blitz. Organisers note!
In conclusion, we return to the athletics analogy. Nobody would ever try to compare the achievements of sprinters and marathon runners, never mind their titles and records. We need new titles, I think. ...
Text: Sergey Kim
Rating lists for rapid and blitz. Are we entering a new era?