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Magnus Carlsen and Tan Zhongyi are World Rapid 2022 Champions, Savitha wins bronze

by Sagar Shah - 29/12/2022

The World Rapid Championships 2022 came to an end with some thrilling action. The Gold medal in the open section went to Magnus Carlsen for the 4th time in his career, but it was not without drama. The silver medal went to the young talent Vincent Keymer who played an exquisite event and the bronze medal went to Fabiano Caruana. In the women's section Tan Zhongyi continued her good run by winning the gold. She beat Dinara Saduakassova in the tiebreaks. The local girl had to settle for silver and the bronze went to India's 15-year-old Savitha Shri.

How Magnus Carlsen became the World Rapid Champion 2022

Day three began with Magnus Carlsen having a half a point lead over the field. He made the lead even bigger by playing a beautiful positional grind against Vincent Keymer.

Vincent Keymer was positionally worse right out of the opening and Magnus gave him absolutely no chances!

With just three rounds to go and one full point lead over the field, it felt like the tournament was over. Not only was Magnus leading, he was also playing really well. His 12th round opponent was Vladislav Artemiev. Playing with the black pieces, Magnus did just what the doctor ordered. He played the Bogo Indian, got an extremely solid and comfortable position. And then something truly unbelievable happened. The World Champion blundered a piece!


Artemiev vs Carlsen, Round 11

In a completely even position, Carlsen played the shocking blunder ...Ne4. Can you find the winning move for White?

Artemiev was stunned to see Magnus make this move! Because it simply loses a piece after f4! The Queen has to go to f5 and then with g4, it's all over. After Qf5 g4, Magnus took on c3 with the rook but gxf5 Rxb3 axb3 meant that White was an exchange up with an easy position to convert.

When you know that you have blundered big time!

After realizing that the game is beyond salvation, Magnus smiled, maybe thinking about something funny in his mind!
The complete Artemiev vs Magnus Carlsen game. Don't miss the expressions of both the players and the subtle movement that gives away a lot of things!

After this loss Magnus was on 9.5/12 and was joined at the top by Artemiev. The next round was an extremely important one. Carlsen was up against Fabiano Caruana. Magnus played a safe line, never really got something tangible and at some point had to pull the brakes when Caruana was seriously threatening stuff. Artemiev also drew his game to stay at the top. Meanwhile Vincent Keymer joined the leaders.

An extremely important encounter between two fantastic players - Carlsen and Caruana ended in a draw

An amazing performance at the World Rapid Championships 2022 was shown by young German talent Vincent Keymer

On his way to the top Vincent beat Fabiano Caruana, Yu Yangyi, Arjun Erigaisi, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Vidit Gujrathi. His quality of chess was also extremely high. For example he cleanly outplayed Vidit in the penultimate round of the event.

Going into the final round Magnus Carlsen was happy with his pairing. That's because he was pitted against Parham Maghsoodloo. While the Iranian GM can be a dangerous opponent, one thing is always sure that he goes for complex positions and never really plays for draws. That made Carlsen feel at ease and he opened the game with 1.e4 without having to worry about any Berlins. Parham kept up his reputation and played the Classical Sicilian. But after the first few moves out of the opening, it was clear that White's attack was way quicker. Magnus finished off the game with a flourish.


Magnus Carlsen vs Parham Maghsoodloo, Round 13

In this position Magnus sacrificed his bishop on h7 and after Kxh7 in came g6 fxg6 Qf7 and the Black king had been boxed. Magnus went on to win the game.
Final moments of Magnus Carlsen crashing through against Parham Maghsoodloo

Once Magnus finished his game, his entire attention was fixed on the remaining two games between...

Caruana versus Artemiev and...

MVL vs Keymer

While Caruana quite cleanly outplayed Artemiev and took the bronze medal, there was a lot of pressure for MVL. 


MVL vs Keymer

Keymer here with the black pieces went f3+ which was the correct move and after Kd2, all he had to do was make a waiting move with the knight so that his king could get the e4 square and then transfer itself over to g3 via f4. If he had done this, he would have won the game and enforced the playoffs with Magnus. But it was not to be. Vincent pushed f3 Kd2 f2 and after Bf1, the game was drawn. Vincent had to settle for the silver medal.

The face of a man who has become the World Rapid Champion for the 4th time in his life!
An 11-minute video that we prepared to show you the behind the scenes action of Magnus Carlsen winning the World Rapid Championships 2022

Press conference with Magnus Carlsen:

The press conference by Magnus Carlsen after he won the event

Transcription of Magnus' press conference:

Milan Dimic: Magnus, just when you give up one chess crown, you've taken another one. My question to you is when are you going to stop?

Magnus: Well, I'm gonna stop when somebody stops me! But I am gonna say that this is a really tough tournament. You play so many very strong players. It's really really hard to win on demand, so I am super happy to have come out on the top as the champion.

Milan Dimic: Obviously you've won many championships and World Championships, is the feeling always unique? 

Magnus: Well, it depends...Obviously, I ran the risk of having zero World Championship titles at the end of this tournament, so it was obviously very important for me to try and get one here, and it certainly means the world right now.

Milan Dimic: One last question to you: Milan Dimic: There are not many people in history who knew in their lifetimes that they would be remembered in history, that streets, banknotes and so on will be named after them. You are one of them, how does this fact affect you?

Magnus: Well, let me continue for a few more years (grins)...I mean that's up to others to judge. I am just you know trying to play and do well and then one day, of course, I will look back and it will all seem like a fun journey.

Reporter: First of all Congratulations to Magnus on becoming the World Rapid Champion. I wanted to ask what was more exciting at the end, your game against Parham or that between Vincent and Maxim that you were following?

Magnus: I have to say the game in itself was the most exciting. Obviously following at the end was also tough psychologically to some extent, but I knew that I was at least playing with house money. The game was tough... First of all, I think it was a good pairing because Parham generally never really plays for a draw, so I knew that we would get a short game and I’d have good chances to fight for medals. That means you run the risk of losing, of course. Even though I felt during the game I had all the trumps, that my attack was much faster than his, there’s always a risk that you miscalculate and you might get mated on the other side, so I wasn't sure of anything before I got in Qf7, then I knew, of course, it was over! (smiles). I have had these experiences many times watching the other games and like knowing what results I need. At least this time I had something in my pocket. I was probably calculating that endgame almost as hard as they were and kudos to Vincent for an amazing tournament — he really showed tremendous class. Also, Maxime’s maybe biggest strength has always been that he defends extremely well in worse endings. Fortunately for me, he used that strength to my advantage this time, and I’m obviously thankful for that.

Reporter: There was a moment when you lost a game today, the only game that you lost in the last three days. How tough or painful was it to come back from that loss?

Magnus: Yes, it was painful. I mean, it's hard to not look at the standings and think that this could have been a 1-point lead instead of a tie before the last round, it needn't have been so tough. Anyway, I managed to pull myself together. I was thinking, this is a bit of a freak accident and these things happen. It was really unfortunate it happened at that time, but I felt really calm during the game with Fabi, even when I was blundering. The problem that I had towards the end would be that my strength was running out rather than not recovering mentally. Mentally I was ok, I think.

Sagar Shah: Magnus, which one would you say was your favourite game in this entire 13 rounds that you have played?

Magnus: I thought there were several good games, but probably the one against Vincent was what decided the championship. I think he could've defended at some point, but generally, it was a good grind. And obviously the one against Abdusattorov. Even though I did miss a tactic there, which sort of distorted the picture a little bit.

Reporter: Our congratulations to you, Magnus. Recently, you signed up as the ambassador, whatcan we expect from this deal? My second question is about the tournament: how did you find the organization of the event; specifically, how were the security measures in place for fair play and to prevent cheating?

Magnus: Thank you. First of all, with regard to, I am generally excited for the future of online chess. And yes, we will have a lot of great events in the years to come, which I think will be great for chess fans. I am generally happy with the organization here. I mean my family and I have been well taken care of. As for the security measures, I would probably not comment on that.

Sagar Shah: Magnus, how do you plan to celebrate your Rapid victory tonight or are you going to focus on the Blitz preparations? 

Magnus: (Smiles) I don't know. I actually really don't know. One thing I know for sure is that I can sort of relax for the blitz now. I would say to some extent to me the blitz event is more prestigious, simply because there are more rounds, and especially now that the rapid event has been cut down to 13 rounds, it can be a little bit of a short distance and some random things can decide the outcome. Obviously, this can happen in Blitz as well, but it's relatively less likely. On the other hand, I am just so happy that I won. You obviously don't worry about blitz at this point. I will try to have some fun and will see how far it goes. Certainly, there won't be any excessive celebration, but I have one or two ideas, which I am not sure I will go for yet.

Daniil Dubov's brilliancy!

Daniil Dubov is known for his fiery and aggressive brand of play. But there are very few times, he himself talks about his attacking games. This one was an exception. He played an absolute gem to beat Anish Giri in the 10th round of the World Rapid 2022. Dubov finished 4th in the tournament.

Dubov's post on Facebook!
Anish Giri vs Daniil Dubov, a game that must not be missed at all costs!

Arjun Erigaisi plays an amazing tournament

Arjun Erigaisi played a phenomenal tournament to score 9.0/13 and finish 5th

Arjun Erigaisi finished fifth at the World Rapid Championships 2022, but had a performance rating of 2831, which was second only to Magnus Carlsen. Arjun face seven opponents who played the Candidates (and two of them the World Championship Match) and scored a massive 6.0/7 against them. This included draws against Carlsen and Nepo and wins against Anish Giri, MVL, Rapport, Mamedyarov and Grischuk. He gained 36 Elo points. Although Arjun's current rating is 2628, after his performances at Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and World Rapid Championships he is now 2685! Arjun scored some amazing wins with the white pieces, but struggled with black. When asked if this was just a co-incidence, or his openings suffered from the black side, the youngster confirmed that it was just a co-incidence. He got quite a few nice opening positions with black as well.

Arjun's performance at the World Rapids 2022

One of the things that amazed everyone was Arjun's resilience. After every loss he came back stronger in the tournament. For eg. in round 6 he lost to Fedoseev, he beat Anish Giri in round 7. In round 8 he lost to Vincent Keymer, he beat MVL in round 9. In round 10 he lost to Artemiev, he beat Grischuk in round 11. It's just amazing how this Warangal lad never backed down from a fight. And Rapid is not is strongest suit. Arjun loves to play the blitz and very likely that he will give a powerful performance at the World Blitz as well. We will wait and watch!

The Arjun Erigaisi interview after World Rapids 2022

This was one of Arjun's favourite games from the event:

Final standings after round 13

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
GMCarlsen MagnusNOR28341010010726600
GMKeymer VincentGER25909,5102,5107,526820
GMCaruana FabianoUSA27479,596,5101,526490
GMDubov DaniilFID2712910310926690
GMErigaisi ArjunIND26289102,5107,527110
GMFedoseev VladimirFID27419100105,526680
GMArtemiev VladislavFID2727999,5106,526380
GMRapport RichardROU2802985,59125910
GMNihal SarinIND26288,596,5102,526550
GMAbdusattorov NodirbekUZB26768,596,5101,526760
GMMamedov RaufAZE25788,596,5101,526290
GMGiri AnishNED27088,596102,526340
GMDuda Jan-KrzysztofPOL27918,59510126270
GMNepomniachtchi IanFID27668,595100,526290
GMVidit Santosh GujrathiIND26598,593,599,525800
GMSarana AlexeyFID26298,593,59926050
GMMaghsoodloo ParhamIRI26568,590,595,525920
GMGrischuk AlexanderFID27598,5889425630
GMVachier-Lagrave MaximeFRA27778,587,59325710
GMGanguly Surya ShekharIND26468,5879325350

Tan Zhongyi is the World Champion, Dinara Saduakassova wins the silver

Tan Zhongyi scoring a very crucial final round win against Nino Batsiashvili

Dinara Saduakassova had beaten Aleksandra Goryachkina in the penultimate round of the event. Hence, she played it safe and took a very quick draw against Savitha Shri on the top board in the final round.

Here's Dinara's fine win over Goryachkina:

Koneru Humpy was very close to beating Zhansaya Abdumalik, but the game ended in a draw. This meant that only Tan Zhongyi and Dinara Saduakassova tied for the same points at the top. There was going to be a playoff between the two. Two games of 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment.

The playoffs between Dinara Saduakassova (left) and Tan Zhongyi (right) to determine who would win the World Rapid Championships 2022

The first game between the two ended in a draw:

The second game was going well for Dinara, but all of a sudden she went wrong in the rook endgame and was lost:

The former Women's World Champion 2018 adds another feather to her cap becoming the World Rapid Champion 2022
Interview with the champion Tan Zhongyi

Savitha Shri wins bronze medal

Savitha Shri, the youngest player ever to win a World Rapid Championship bronze

Savitha is just 15 years old. She won the bronze medal at the World Rapid Championships 2022. This is a massive achievement by the youngster. Think about it - she had finished on the last spot at the Tata Steel Chess India Rapid by scoring just 1.0/9. From there to finishing third at the World Rapid Championships 2022. That's an amazing performance by Savitha. She is the youngest Indian to have won a medal at the World Rapid and Blitz Championships and might very well be the youngest in the entire world to have achieved this feat.

What makes Savitha special is her ability to learn from her mistakes and keep improving. "There were two things I didn't do well at Tata Steel Chess India. I took too much pressure, my heart rate was above 170 and I gave too much respect to my opponents, not believing in myself! Both of these are psychological issues which I tried to work on." She has done remarkably well in these departments. At the World Rapid 2022 she managed to beat world class players like Stefanova, Khademalsharieh and Khotenashvili.

Savitha Shri on her bronze medal winning performance

Final standings after round 11

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
GMTan ZhongyiCHN25028,573,57923630
IMSaduakassova DinaraKAZ24358,565,57022690
WIMSavitha Shri BIND23118697223470
GMGoryachkina AleksandraFID2484868,57323530
GMAbdumalik ZhansayaKAZ2448867,57123340
GMKoneru HumpyIND246886670,523530
IMBivol AlinaFID21797,571,576,523760
GMKhotenashvili BelaGEO24057,5697323480
GMKosteniuk AlexandraFID25377,56468,523340
IMCharochkina DariaFID22597,5575923190
GMBatsiashvili NinoGEO2370771,57623460
GMDanielian ElinaARM233177175,523010
WGMGong QianyunSGP2315768,572,523480
GMGunina ValentinaFID238976872,523640
IMGarifullina LeyaFID2316767,57123120
WIMMunkhzul TurmunkhMGL219276772,523800
IMMammadova GulnarAZE2343765,56922530
IMMaltsevskaya AleksandraPOL2327762,56722180
GMStefanova AntoanetaBUL2399761,56622630
GMDzagnidze NanaGEO2475760,565,523010


Performances of Indian players

22GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi2659IND1½1½0½1½1110½8,515Open
26GMGanguly Surya Shekhar2646IND101½½½½11½0118,520Open
27GMHarikrishna Pentala2646IND½1½0½½10½1½01778Open
37GMErigaisi Arjun2628IND1111½010101½195Open
38GMNihal Sarin2628IND111½½½0½1½1½½8,59Open
48GMNarayanan S.L.2605IND½½01½½0½½1101786Open
61GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2576IND1½01½0½½010106105Open
63GMHarsha Bharathakoti2574IND101001½0100105,5121Open
75GMPuranik Abhimanyu2549IND101½½½½100½016,591Open
80GMAdhiban B.2538IND0½011½101½01½782Open
87GMSadhwani Raunak2532IND10011½1½½01½1833Open
99GMNarayanan Srinath2518IND001½0½½010½½15,5133Open
131GMPranav V2430IND½010½0111½0½1779Open
132GMArjun Kalyan2426IND001½0011½01005144Open
141GMSankalp Gupta2402IND1½½01100010106106Open
6GMHarika Dronavalli2475IND1½½½½0½11½0639Women
7GMKoneru Humpy2468IND11½10½111½½86Women
32IMTania Sachdev2318IND0110110010½5,550Women
36WIMSavitha Shri B2311IND101½111101½83Women
39IMPadmini Rout2290IND½1½0½½1½01½638Women


Humpy performed excellently at the event. In fact she was clearly better in her final round against Zhansaya Abdumalik. A win would have guaranteed her a medal. But she drew and had to settle for the sixth spot.

Facing some of the best players in the world, Nihal Sarin lost only one game against Daniil Dubov. He scored 8.5/13 and finished 9th

Vidit Gujrathi showcased some solid chess at the event beating Nodirbek Abdusattorov and being in the race for the medal until the penultimate round. He finished 15th.

A fine performance by Surya Ganguly scoring 8.5/13. Especially impressive was his win over Kobalia.

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