Next week: Satty Zhuldyz rapid and blitz event with Kramnik and Hou

by ChessBase
4/15/2023 – Organized by the Bibisara Assaubayeva Foundation and the National Lottery of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Satty Zhuldyz (“Lucky Stars”) Rapid and Blitz Chess Tournament is set to take place on April 20-25. The likes of Vladimir Kramnik, Hou Yifan and Levon Aronian will be joined by a host of rising stars, including Bibisara Assaubayeva, Vincent Keymer and Arjun Erigaisi.

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Rapid and blitz, legends and youngsters

Press release by the organizers

Lucky Stars Chess Festival 2023The Bibisara Assaubayeva Foundation in conjunction with the National Lottery of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Satty Zhuldyz (“Lucky Stars”), are proud to announce a major Rapid and Blitz chess tournament to be held alongside the Classical Chess World Championship Match, 2023.

Held in Astana’s Hilton Hotel with an exceptional $265,000 (USD) prize fund, the tournament has a stellar lineup of both titans of the sport and new upcoming stars. Vladimir Kramnik, the 14th Chess World Champion, will be competing, along with another former World Champion — Hou Yifan, the 13th Women’s Chess World Champion — who will be playing over the board outside of China for the first time for over three years.

The lineup includes Alexander Grischuk, a former multiple-time Blitz World Champion (2006, 2012, 2015). Other titans included are Levon Aronian, Rapid and Blitz World Champion (2009, 2010), and the stalwart veteran Boris Gelfand, the 2012 World Championship Challenger.

Kateryna Lagno, a multiple-time Women’s Rapid and Blitz World Champion (2014, and 2010, 2018 and 2019), will also be competing.

These titans of the game will be facing some of the most promising rising stars in the world. Bibisara Assaubayeva, the world’s top U21 woman player and most promising Kazakh player of her generation, Guinness Record holder, two-time Women’s Blitz Champion (2021, 2022) and Women’s Rapid Silver medallist (2021), will play against some of the toughest opposition she has ever faced.

The local star will be joined by top prodigies from around the world, including the German Vincent Keymer (silver medallist at the 2022 Rapid World Championship), the Indian Arjun Erigaisi (ranked 38th in the world at 19 years of age), and the Uzbek Javokhir Sindarov (ranked 85th in the world at 17 years old).

Completing the tournament are Armenia’s Haik Martirosyan (bronze medallist at the 2022 Blitz World Championship, ranked 50th in the world) and Uzbekistan’s Jakhongir Vakhidov (ranked 180th in the world).

Such a strong list of players truly qualifies the tournament as a global super-tournament, with truly exceptional games of chess on offer and significant prestige on the line for the winner.

Rapid and blitz are categories within chess where both players receive less time to make their moves than in classical games. The time control specifically used will be 25 minutes per player plus 10 seconds per move for the rapid portion, and 3 minutes per player plus 2 seconds added per move for the Blitz portion. These faster time controls, which put extra pressure on the players, create more exciting, combative and unpredictable games than in classical chess.

A top native-English language commentary team will be delivering daily commentary on-site, composed of nine-times British Women’s Chess Champion, IM Jovanka Houska, and American FM James Canty, a famous chess commentator and popular chess streamer.

Lucky Stars Chess Festival 2023

The official broadcast will be streamed via Twitch and YouTube.

Alongside this invitational super-tournament, the Bibisara Assaubayeva Foundation and Satty Zhuldyz will be hosting the Bibisara Assaubayeva Cup, a youth tournament for Kazakh chess players in the age categories of under-10 and under-20 with various category prizes. Players must have a minimum FIDE rating in either classical, rapid or blitz of at least 1400 for boys, and 1200 for girls.

In addition to specially commissioned trophies for the winners of the U10 and U20 tournaments, the prize fund totals $33,000 (USD) for the rapid portion of the tournament, and $11,000 (USD) for the blitz portion of the tournament. Such a significant prize fund for a national youth event has already secured the registration of some of Kazakhstan’s most promising future talents.

Those registered already include IM Kazybek Nogerbek — who beat several top-ranked grandmasters in the World Rapid and Blitz 2022 and finished 100 places over his starting rank — and WIM Meruert Kamalidenova, the U-14 World Youth Chess Champion among girls in 2019.

Players must be Kazakh nationals and can register here.

There will be a range of additional side events and cultural events on offer, which include: musical programmes; talks from distinguished guests; a simultaneous exhibition by the top players holding their own against the players of the youth tournament; and a showcase of the private art collection of Astana-born Women’s Blitz World Champion Bibisara Assaubayeva.

Visitors are welcome to the Astana Hilton Hotel, with games being played on April 20th - 25th. More information with a full schedule of events is available on the official website. Further enquiries from the public can be made to the organizers.

Text and images: WFM Maria Emelianova/

  • Media Enquiries: +7-926-279-5586 Maria (WhatsApp only) and
  • Bibisara Cup inquiries: +7-702-273-8104 (Alexey) and
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