FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships 2023

December, 13 2023

Magnus Carlsen does it again: Fifth World Rapid Chess Championship title for the Norwegian

World #1 Magnus Carlsen has again made history by defending his title in the World Rapid. This is the fifth Rapid title for Carlsen, who also holds five world championship titles in Classical chess and six world titles in Blitz chess. Anastasia Bodnaruk has become the new Women’s World Rapid Champion

With 10 points out of 13 games (with seven wins, six draws and no defeats), Magnus Carlsen emerged on top in a fierce competition of 150 strong players. His outstanding performance earned him not just the championship title but also the first prize of $60,000.

From the tournament’s outset, Carlsen established his position as a frontrunner. By round ten, he emerged as the sole leader, maintaining a half-point advantage over all competitors. He ultimately claimed the title with a draw in the final round, facing off against R Praggnanandhaa, one of India’s highly regarded talents.

“It feels great. I thought the key moment was the first game [today] against Fedoseev… he was the only one who could catch me.

“Sometimes I was playing my games a little bit too safe, but I don’t think I was really in trouble [in this tournament]”.

Asked if he sometimes feels as living the movie Groundhog Day, given the number of times he has won world championships in various categories, Carlsen replied – “I’m happy with that comparison… Hopefully, it will be Groundhog Day next time as well”.

Carlsen named Vladimir Fedoseev, whom he defeated in round ten while playing with the black pieces, as his most formidable opponent in the championship.

Vladimir Fedoseev – who was trailing the Norwegian by half a point and had a chance in the final round to catch up – decided not to risk it and had a quick draw with Dmitry Andreikin. This tactical decision made things easier for Carlsen as it meant he just needed half a point to win the crown.

The final ranking in the Open Rapid can be found HERE.

Anastasia Bodnaruk is the new Women’s Rapid Champion

This is the first rapid title for Bodnaruk, who defeated India’s Humpy Koneru by 2.5:1.5 in a tiebreaker match to secure first place and a prize of $40,000.

“It’s hard to say how I’m feeling, but I’m very happy to have won this match,” Bodnaruk said in her immediate reaction.

Bodnaruk started dominating the event on the second day when she emerged as the sole leader. On day three, she continued to maintain her lead, but with three draws in the final three rounds, she allowed two more players to share the top with her.

With 8.5/11 Anastasia Bodnaruk, Lei Tingjie and Humpy Koneru (who was the winner of the 2019 Women’s World Rapid) were sharing 1st to third place.

Thanks to better tiebreaks, Bodnaruk and Koneru went to the playoffs while Lei Tingjie finished third.

In the Blitz tiebreak (with three minutes and a two-second bonification per move), Bodnaruk and Koneru had a fierce battle.

The Indian player emerged victorious in the first game, winning as Black. She then lost the second game in the match after spoiling a much better position. According to regulations, if the two-game match is drawn, a single game shall be played with a time control of three minutes for each player and two seconds increment per move. If that game also ends in a draw, the players will continue to play, switching colours in each game, until one side wins.

The third game ended in a dramatic draw. After a 10-minute break, it was time for the fourth and final game: Koneru had a solid position but ended in time trouble. In a rush, she misplayed her moves and ended up losing – handing over the victory to Anastasia Bodnaruk.

The final ranking in the Women’s Rapid can be found HERE.

Next in line is the World Blitz Championship which will take place on December 29 and December 30, at the same venue. Magnus Carlsen is defending the title in the Blitz, while Bibisara Assaubayeva is defending her title in the Women’s tournament.

The first round of the Blitz Championships starts tomorrow, Friday, at 3PM local time in Samarkand.

About the event:

The World Rapid and Blitz is one of the most exciting and most watched chess events in the world, attracting the strongest Grandmasters.

The prize fund totals one million US dollars, with $700,000 for the Open and $300,000 for the Women’s tournaments.

The event is taking place from December 25 to December 30, at the Samarkand Congress Center.


Written by Milan Dinic

Photos: Anastasia Korolkova, Lennart Ootes, Maria Emelianova