Preview: European Rapid and Blitz Championships

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/16/2021 – The European Rapid and Blitz Championships will take place on December 17-19 at the Spodek Sport and Entertainment Centre in Katowice, Poland. Local hero Jan-Krzysztof Duda heads the list of participants in the blitz section. The tournament serves as a warm-up for the World Rapid and Blitz Championships which will kick off a week later in Warsaw.

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Warming up for the World Rapid and Blitz

Magnus Carlsen recently announced that he might not play another World Championship match of classical chess. We cannot know for sure if this ‘threat’ will become a reality in the future, but what we do know is that the Norwegian is eager to play at the World Rapid and Blitz Championship starting a day after Christmas in Warsaw.

A bit over a week prior to the start of the exhilarating tournament, the players who represent countries belonging to the European Chess Union will get a chance to warm up and fight for a combined prize fund of 41,000 Euros.

  • First on the schedule will be the blitz tournament, which will be held on December 17. The event will consist of 11 double rounds using the Swiss system, with a time control of 3 minutes plus 2-second increments per move.
  • Then, on December 18-19, the rapid tournament will be an 11-round open, with a time control of 15 minutes plus 10-second increments per move.

The first round of the blitz event will kick off at 10.00 local time (Central European Time) while the rapid evet will start at 9.30 on Saturday and at 10.00 on Sunday.

Both events will be played at the Spodek Sport and Entertainment Centre in Katowice, Poland. Katowice is the capital city of the Silesian Voivodeship in south-west Poland, and the central city of the Upper Silesian metropolitan area. It is the 11th-most populous city in Poland, while its urban area is the most populous in the country and one of the most populous in the EU.

The following sanitary protocol will be in place during the tournaments:

  • All people entering the Spodek Sports Hall (playing venue) should have a valid UE COVID certificate (printed or as a digital file).
  • Unvaccinated people should be ready to present a negative COVID PCR test made not earlier than 72 hours before entering the building or an antigen test made not earlier than 24 hours before entering the building.
  • Every person present inside Spodek Sports Hall should be ready to present a certificate or a negative COVID test.
  • All players should use hand sanitizer when entering the building. The organizers will provide hand sanitizers to all participants.
  • By entering the building, every person agrees to have his/her temperature measured.
  • It is forbidden to enter Spodek for anyone who is quarantined or who presents symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Everyone has to wear masks. Masks should cover nose and mouth. Players and arbiters are allowed not to wear a mask during the rounds. After finishing the game, every player should wear a mask.

The players

Local hero Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who qualified to the next edition of the Candidates Tournament by winning this year’s World Cup, will be the highest-rated player in Katowice, although he will only participate in the blitz tournament.

The top seed in the rapid event will be Russian veteran Alexander Motylev. Current European champion Anton Demchenko (Russia) and Igor Kovalenko (Latvia) are the second and third seeds respectively.

Rapid tournament

    Name Country Elo B.
1. GM Motylev, Alexander Russia 2703 1979
2. GM Demchenko, Anton Novorossiysk 2666 1987
3. GM Kovalenko, Igor Latvia 2649 1988
4. GM Balog, Imre Hungary 2629 1991
5. GM Bernadskiy, Vitaliy Ukraine 2616 1994
6. GM Andersen, Mads Skanderborg Skakklub 2574 1995
7. IM Laurusas, Tomas Kaunas GAJA 2557 1996
8. GM Pultinevicius, Paulius Marijampole 2536 2001
9. GM Donchenko, Alexander Germany 2535 1998
10. GM Durarbayli, Vasif Azerbaijan 2532 1992

...602 players

Blitz tournament

    Name Country Elo B.
1. GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof MKS MOS Wieliczka 2792 1998
2. GM Balog, Imre Hungary 2678 1991
3. GM Kovalenko, Igor Latvia 2638 1988
4. GM Sumets, Andrey SF Wirtzfeld 2619 1980
5. GM Durarbayli, Vasif Azerbaijan 2599 1992
6. GM Czarnota, Paweł UKS Czarny Koń Olkusz 2540 1988
7. GM Motylev, Alexander Russia 2540 1979
8. GM Stefansson, Hannes Chess Club of Gardabaer 2532 1972
9. GM Demchenko, Anton Novorossiysk 2531 1987
10. IM Laurusas, Tomas Kaunas GAJA 2528 1996

...549 players


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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.

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