Düsseldorf: The fun begins, WR Chess perfect after four rounds

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/27/2023 – The first edition of the World Rapid Team Championship kicked off on Saturday in Düsseldorf. Amid a relaxed environment, a few of the strongest GMs in the field suffered upsets. After the first four rounds, WR Chess, Wadim Rosenstein’s team, is the only squad with a perfect 8/8 score. Ian Nepomniachtchi was the strongest performer in the leading team, as he beat four lower-rated opponents in a row. | Pictured: The Chess Pensioners | Photo: Niki Riga

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“Here it is much more relaxed”

A number of World Cup participants travelled from Baku to Düsseldorf to play in the inaugural edition of the World Rapid Team Championship. One of them is Vidit Gujrathi, who fell just short of getting a spot in the 2024 Candidates Tournament, as he was defeated by Nijat Abasov in the quarterfinals.

Coming from such a tension-filled competition — which has the potential to change a player’s career — the rather relaxed environment in the team competition is a welcomed change of pace. Vidit explained:

Here it is much more relaxed. It is nice to play more freely and try out a couple of things. I am happy about that.

The tournament features 36 teams, with a total of 286 players registered to participate. The presence of elite grandmasters is one of the main attractions, as some of the strongest players in the world were lured to the event by the excellent playing conditions. Their decision was likely influenced by the successful first edition of the WR Chess Masters, which took place in February, also in Düsseldorf.

Wadim Rosenstein, founder and CEO of WR Group, is the man who made these two events possible. Besides helping the tournament come to life, the businessman is playing on the ‘amateur’ board for WR Chess, the second-strongest team in the event.

After four rounds, the organizer’s squad is leading the standings with a perfect 8/8. Rosenstein scored 3/4 on day 1, while Ian Nepomniachtchi excelled with his perfect 4/4, albeit after facing players with ratings spanning from 2369 to 2627.

The value of Nepo’s performance should not be underestimated, though, as some of his super strong colleagues suffered upsets on the first day of play — most shockingly both his teammate Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave lost to Aravindh Chithambaram, while Richard Rapport was defeated by Raunak Sadhwani.

With eight rounds to go, it is still all to play for in Düsseldorf!

Keti Tsatsalashvili

Well-known commentator Keti Tsatsalashvili is playing for Kompetenzakademie Allstars | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Vishy Anand

Former world champion Vishy Anand is representing Freedom, the team with the highest average rating | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Marianna Grineva

Ukrainian WFM Marianna Grineva | Photo: Niki Riga

Mitropa Chess Association

Mitropa Chess Association, a team made up of German and Italian players | Photo: Niki Riga

Assorted highlights

by Klaus Besenthal

Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Nihal Sarin

Nihal Sarin | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Standings after round 4

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 WR Chess 8
2 Team MGD1 7
3 Freedom 7
4 Armenia 6
5 ASV AlphaEchecs Linz 6
6 Columbus Energy KingsOfChess Kraków 6
7 Germany and Friends 6
8 Chess Pensioners 5
9 Chessbrah OFM 5
10 Ashdod Elit Chess Club 5
11 Berlin Chess Federation 5
12 Düsseldorfer Schachklub 1914/25 e.V. 5
13 Rishon LeZion Chess Club 5
14 Schachverein Hemer 5
15 Kompetenzakademie Allstars 4

...36 teams


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.