RAPID Chess, with each player having just 25 minutes on the clock, is often regarded as the Royal Game’s answer to one-day cricket. But for the purists, the Test Match variety of classical chess, with a full five hour session, is the only game in town.
FIDE have shown little interest, though, in rapid and blitz chess over the last few years. The long-overdue introduction of a rapid and blitz rating list is a step in the right direction, but locating the World Rapid and Blitz championships last month in Khanty-Mansiysk, in remote central Russia, was hardly a way to promote this formate of the game.
A new event on the expanding rapid circuit, the Geneva Masters, in Switzerland, proved a big hit last weekend. In the premier event of the festival (that also included age-groups and an open event), eight players in two groups played rapid mini-matches with four qualifying for the KO stages. The lineup was: Vladimir Kramnik, Judit Polgar, Hikaru Nakamura, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Etienne Bacrot, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Romain Edouard and Yannik Pelletier.
The title was won by newly-crowned World Rapid champion Mamedyarov, as the young Azeri reinforced his credentials as one of the world’s top rapid players with a smooth victory over the former classical World Champion Kramnik.
S Mamedyarov - V Kramnik
Geneva Masters Final
Four Knights Game
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 g3 d5 5 exd5 Nxd5 6 Bg2 Nxc3 7 bxc3 Bc5 8 0–0 0–0 9 Re1 Bb6 10 d3 Re8 11 a4 Bg4 12 h3 Bh5 13 g4 Bg6 14 Nd2 Qh4 15 Qe2 f5 16 Nf3 Qf6 17 gxf5 Bxf5 18 Ng5 e4 19 d4 Kh8 20 Nxe4 Qg6 21 Qf3 Rf8 22 Qg3 Qxg3 23 Nxg3 Ba5 24 Bxc6! Bxc3 25 Bxb7 Rab8 26 Ba3 Rf6 27 Nxf5 Bxa1 28 Rxa1 Rxb7 29 Ne3 h6 30 d5 Rf4 31 Bc5 a6 32 Kg2 Kh7 33 Ra3 Rb1 34 d6 cxd6 35 Bxd6 Rd4 36 Bc5 Rd7 37 a5 Rb5 38 Bb6 Rg5+ 39 Kf1 Rh5 40 Rd3 Rxd3 41 cxd3 Rxh3 42 d4 Kg6 43 Nc4 Rc3 44 Nd6 h5 45 Ne4 and White won (60) 1–0