Abdusattorov wins World Rapid Championship at 17!

by André Schulz
12/29/2021 – After a thrilling final day, Nodirbek Abdusattorov won the World Rapid Chess title in a photo finish. At the start of the day, the young Uzbek defeated Magnus Carlsen. After 13 rounds, four players were tied on points. Abdusattorov won the playoff against Ian Nepomniachzchi. | Photos: Rafał Oleksiewicz, Michał Walusza, Anna Shtourman (FIDE)

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A young champ

Magnus Carlsen went into the final day of play in the World Rapid Chess Championship with a half-point lead, with four more rounds to play.

In the tenth round, the defending champion faced Nodirbek Abdusattorv, also a player of the younger generation, a year younger but not yet quite as successful as Alireza Firouzja.


Abdusattorov and Carlsen had been fighting for a long time in an endgame with queens and minor pieces. Finally only the queens remained. The chances are equal (engine), but the situation is very complicated and requires a lot of calculation. Both sides were probably playing for a win.

57.Qc6+ Kxa3 58.Qc3+ Ka4 59.Qc4+ Ka5 60.Qc3+ Ka4 [60...Ka6 61.Qa1+ Kb5 62.Qb2+ Kc5 (62...Kc6? 63.Qg2+ Qxg2+ 64.Kxg2+– The h-pawn decides.) 63.Qg7 Qh5+ 64.Kg3 f4+ 65.Kxf4 Qh4+ with perpetual check.]

61.Qg7 [61.Qc4+=]

61...Qe3+ [61...Qxg7?? 62.hxg7+–]



62... f4 [Simpler was 62...b5 63.h7 Qe4+ 64.Kg5 Qg2+ 65.Kf6 Qc6+ with perpetual check.]

63.Qd7+ [63.h7 Qf2+ 64.Kh5 Qh2+ 65.Kg5 Qg3+ 66.Kf6 Qc3+=]

63...b5 [63...Ka3? 64.h7 Qg3+ 65.Kh5 Qh2+ 66.Kg6 Qc2+ 67.Qf5 Qc6+ 68.Kf7 Qc7+ 69.Kg8 Qc4+ 70.Qf7 Qc8+ 71.Qf8+ and White wins.]



64... Qe5? [64...Qe1+ draws 65.Kg4 Qe5 66.Qf7 b4 67.Qg8 (67.Qa2+ Kb5 68.Qf7) 67...Qe2+ 68.Kf5 Qc2+=; 64...Qg1]

65.Kg4? [Here won 65.Qd1+ Ka3 66.Qd8 Qe1+ 67.Kg4 Qe2+ 68.Kg5 Qg2+ 69.Kf6 Qb2+ 70.Kg6 Qb1+ 71.Kh6 Qh1+ 72.Kg7 Qg2+ 73.Kf7 Qa2+ 74.Kf8 Qb2 75.Qa5+ with an exchange of queens and a pawn promotion.]

65...f3 Now the game is theoretically drawn again.

66.Kxf3 Qf6+ 67.Ke4 Qh4+ 68.Kd5 Qh5+ 69.Kc6 Qg6+ 70.Kc7 Qg3+ 71.Kb7 Qf3+ 72.Ka6 Qf6+ 73.Ka7 Qf2+ 74.Kb7 Qf3+ 75.Qc6 Qf7+ 76.Qc7 Qf3+ 77.Ka6 Qa8+ 78.Kb6 Qh8 79.Qc2+ Ka3 80.Qd3+ Ka2


81.Kc5 Coupled with a threat that Black does not evaluate correctly.

81...b4? This move costs Black the game. [81...Qc8+ 82.Kxb5 Qb7+ 83.Kc5 with a perpetual check and a draw.]

82.Qd2+ Forces an exchange of queens and that’s it.

82...Ka1 83.Qd4+ 1–0

With the win, Abdusattorov took the lead with 8 points, thanks to his better tiebreak score. Ian Nepomniachtchi had the same number of points after his win over Alexander Grischuk.

In Round 11, Magnus Carlsen was once again allowed to take on his Russian World Championship challenger.

The game ended in a draw. Vladimir Fedoseev and Abdusattorov also shared a point. Abdusattorov and Nepomniachtchi thus defended their joint lead. Behind them now followed a group of six players, with Carlsen as the player with the best tiebreak score.

The top boards

Abdussatorov was now up against Gukesh, who actually entered the tournament with a rapid rating of 2050, but had achieved a score of 2774 up to this round. Gukesh had defeated Boris Gelfand and Baadur Jobava in the previous two rounds.

Nepomniachtchi faced Hikaru Nakamura. After a two-year break from over-the-board chess, the American star had not gained much momentum, but had so far remained without defeat.

Carlsen played Levon Aronian, and in the last chasing duel Alexander Grischuk and Fabiano Caruana fought for the full point. Carlsen and Caruana defeated Aronian and Grischuk respectively. The other top games ended in draws. Thus a quartet had formed at the top before the last round, with Abdusattorov, Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen and Caruana, in that order according to tiebreaks. Duda, Gukesh and Nakamura were lurking with 8½ points each.

In the final round, the pairings were Nakamura vs Carlsen, Caruana vs Nepomniachtchi and Abdusattorov vs Duda. All these games ended without a winner. So in the end four players were tied at the top of the table. In this case, the rules provide for a playoff between the two highest scorers for the World Championship title. That was Abdussatrov and Nepomniachrchi, who were very narrowly ahead of Carlsen. This rule was not appreciated by the defending champion. Carlsen gave an impromptu interview to the Norwegian press.

The playoff

The first game of the playoff between Abdusattorov and Nepomniachtchi ended in a draw. With the white pieces, Abdusattorov won the second game and with it the World Rapid Chess Championship. The young generation is knocking on the door of the 30-year-old chess oldies — at least in rapid chess.

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Abdusattorov Nodirbek 9,5 103,0
2 Nepomniachtchi Ian 9,5 100,5
3 Carlsen Magnus 9,5 97,0
4 Caruana Fabiano 9,5 95,0
5 Duda Jan-Krzysztof 9,0 98,0
6 Aronian Levon 9,0 96,0
7 Nakamura Hikaru 9,0 95,5
8 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 9,0 92,0
9 Gukesh D 9,0 91,0
10 Rapport Richard 9,0 88,0
11 Karjakin Sergey 9,0 78,5
12 Van Foreest Jorden 8,5 98,0
13 Grischuk Alexander 8,5 97,5
14 Fedoseev Vladimir 8,5 94,0
15 Mitrabha Guha 8,5 90,0
16 Dubov Daniil 8,5 90,0
17 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 8,5 86,0
18 Salem A.R. Saleh 8,5 85,0
19 Sarana Alexey 8,5 84,0
20 Firouzja Alireza 8,0 97,5
21 Volokitin Andrei 8,0 95,5
22 Gelfand Boris 8,0 94,0
23 Cheparinov Ivan 8,0 93,5
24 Korobov Anton 8,0 92,5
25 Giri Anish 8,0 92,0

...176 players

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Women’s tournament

In the Women’s World Championship, Alexandra Kosteniuk had built up a lead of 1½ points with 7½ points in the first two days of play. On the final day, three draws were enough for the Russian former World Champion to win the Rapid Chess World Championship title.

Alexandra Kosteniuk and Kateryna Lagno

Bibissara Assaubayeva finished second. Valentina Gunina won bronze ahead of Kateryna Lagno, who was equal on points with her compatriot. Elisabeth Paehtz started the final day with a loss to Antoaneta Stefanova, won the remaining two games and finished eighth with 7½ points.

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Kosteniuk Alexandra 9,0 69,0
2 Assaubayeva Bibisara 8,5 65,0
3 Gunina Valentina 8,0 72,5
4 Lagno Kateryna 8,0 68,5
5 Serikbay Assel 7,5 72,0
6 Koneru Humpy 7,5 68,0
7 Dzagnidze Nana 7,5 67,5
8 Paehtz Elisabeth 7,5 63,0
9 Stefanova Antoaneta 7,5 62,5
10 Michna Marta 7,5 61,5
11 Abdumalik Zhansaya 7,5 60,5
12 Mammadova Gulnar 7,5 60,0
13 Muzychuk Anna 7,5 58,5
14 Vaishali R 7,0 69,0
15 Muzychuk Mariya 7,0 68,5
16 Goryachkina Aleksandra 7,0 63,5
17 Nomin-Erdene Davaademberel 7,0 63,0
18 Gaponenko Inna 7,0 61,0
19 Berend Elvira 7,0 55,5
20 Kashlinskaya Alina 7,0 53,5
21 Girya Olga 7,0 53,5
22 Pavlidou Ekaterini 6,5 73,5
23 Shuvalova Polina 6,5 71,0
24 Garifullina Leya 6,5 64,0
25 Muetsch Annmarie 6,5 63,0

...103 players

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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