Press release by FIDE
The FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championship is due to start on December 25th in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Eleven days before the opening ceremony, apress conference has been held in the host city.
Speakers at the press conference were FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich (via video link), Vice Minister of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan Serik Zharasbayev, Vice President of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation (KCF) Darmen Sadvakasov, KCF Executive Director Gulmira Dauletova and Yerden Khairullin, head of the Almaty Sports Department.
Arkady Dvorkovich, who joined the press conference via Zoom, thanked the city authorities and FIDE’s partners from Kazakhstan for holding the tournament: “We are glad that the competition has not disappeared from the calendar this year, and that almost 300 people, the world’s leading grandmasters – both men and women – have already registered to participate in the Championships.”
The icing on the cake
Dvorkovich described the event as the “icing on the cake in the 2022 FIDE calendar” adding that 95% of the world’s top chess players will take part in the tournament, including world champion Magnus Carlsen and almost all the players from the world’s Top 10. This applies to both men and women. “We are looking forward to the event and we hope that everyone will follow the Championships on TV, over the Internet and, of course, in the hospitable city of Almaty,” Dvorkovich said.
The President of FIDE also shared his views on the chess scene in Kazakhstan. “We believe that Kazakhstan is becoming one of the world’s leading chess centres. Success in women’s chess is higher than in men’s… We consider it important that a large number of Kazakhstan players will be able to take part in the championship as representatives of the host country. And, once again, I want to thank our partners. I am glad that organizations in Kazakhstan are striving to support chess,” Dvorkovich concluded.
A historic event for Kazakhstan
Serik Zharasbayev, Vice Minister of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan, emphasised the importance of the highest-level competition for the country and invited chess fans to follow the tournament and support the players.
“This is a huge event. For the first time in the history of independent Kazakhstan, the World Rapid and Blitz Championship is taking place here. The national women’s and men’s teams will take part in the World Championship and try their luck. I invite everyone to support our players,” said Zharasbayev.
Kazakhstan’s chess boom
Gulmira Dauletova, Executive Director of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation, noted that the host country of the World Rapid and Blitz Championship can nominate 15 men and 10 women as participants. She highlighted that the country’s national women’s team currently shows better results than the men’s.
Right now, Zhansaya Abdumalik, Bibisara Assaubayeva and Dinara Saduakasova are preparing with their coaches. In addition, there are talented young players under 14 years of age in our team, for example, world champion Meruert Kamalidenova, Amina Kairbekova, Assel Serikbay and Nazerke Nurgali, said Dauletova.
Vice President of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation, Darmen Sadvakasov stated that in the last 12 years a chess boom has continued in Kazakhstan.
“There are many good results in women’s chess and the youth category. The work is going on. Our main task now is to hold the World Rapid & Blitz Championship in Almaty. We are very grateful to FIDE and Arkady Dvorkovich personally for giving us the right to hold this prestigious tournament.”
Thousands of girls and boys across the country will closely follow the competition, Sadvakasov said.
“Some will come to see all the world’s chess stars in person. When I was a boy, it was an impossible dream for me to personally see the world’s leading chess players, and maybe even get an autograph. For our younger generation, these conditions are created, and we believe that the championship will be a great impetus for the further development of chess in our country,” added the Vice President of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation.
Almaty ready for the big event
Yerden Khairullin, head of the Almaty Sports Department, said the city is ready for the competition.
“In the city of Almaty, we are ready to host such a large-scale event. If there are 300 players from 70 countries, we will accept them all. The infrastructure is 100 percent ready,” assured Mr Khairullin. The press conference was held on December 14 at the Central Communications Service under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
About the event:
The World Championship is held by the Kazakhstan Chess Federation together with the International Chess Federation and with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, as well as the Akimat of the city of Almaty. Over 300 elite chess players from 50 countries are expected to attend the event. The FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from December 25-31 at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace.
December 25 — Opening Ceremony
December 26-28 — Rapid competitions
December 29-30 — Blitz competitions and Closing Ceremony
The total prize fund is one million USD dollars, with 700,000 USD going to the open championships and 300,000 USD to the women’s championships.
About the FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championship
The World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships and the Women’s World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships have been held annually since 2012. In rapid chess, each player begins the game with 15 minutes, and 10 seconds are added to his/her clock after each move. In blitz chess, each player begins the game with 3 minutes, and 2 seconds are added to his/her clock after each move.
The reigning world champions of the event are:
Open – Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan)
Women – Alexandra Kosteniuk (FIDE)
Open – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France)
Women – Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kazakhstan)