April 24, 2024

Clash of chess titans in Düsseldorf: World Rapid Team Championship preview

The first-ever World Rapid Team Championship is set to start in Dusseldorf, bringing together spectacular players from all across the globe

The stage is set for an unprecedented showdown from the 25th until the 29th of August as the chess elite will gather in Germany for the inaugural world team championship in rapid chess. Forty teams from all corners of the world are registered to take part in the tournament.

Stellar line-up

A number of the world’s strongest players are scheduled to take part in the event. The list of contenders reads like a „who’s who“ of the chess world: Wesley So, Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Jan-Krzysztof Dudam Richard Rapport, Peter Svidler, Alexander Grischuk and Daniil Dubov. Joining them will be two former world champions – Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik (who will be playing for the humorously named Chess Pensioners team) as well as the former World Champion Candidate, Nigel Short.

Among women players taking part are former World Champions Hou Yifan, Alexandra Kosteniuk, and Mariya Muzychuk, as well as strong woman players such as Kateryna Lagno, Elisabeth Paehtz, Harika Dronavali and Polina Shuvalova.

The full list of players taking part can be found here.

The frontrunners

Among the 40 teams taking part, there are two very strong contestants for first place.

With an average rating of 2542, the top favourite of the event is team „Freedom“, headed by Emil Sutovsky. With the likes of Vidit, Dubov, Rapport and Najer in the team, as well as Polina Shuvalova, they are the top team vying for first place. 

Another strong contender is the WT Chess Team. Made up of former Women’s World Champions Hou Yifan and Alexandra Kosteniuk, two-time World Championship candidate Ian Nepomniachtchi and a list of super-strong young talents – Praggnanandhaa, Abdusattorov, Keymer and Duda, they will be the team to watch out for.

However, the fact that each team has to have a recreational player in their ranks who has never achieved a rating of 2000 in any FIDE category will have a huge effect on the results.

The full list of teams, including team composition, can be found here.

Team structure

Each team will consist of at least six but no more than nine players. Apart from having to include at least one female player, for the first time in a high-level club event, teams will have to include a recreational player, who has never achieved a Standard, Rapid or Blitz FIDE rating of 2000 or more. The teams are not required to assign board numbers in rating order, which allows a chance for some unique board matchups, setting the scene for potential surprises.

Each match is played on six boards, which means that the team captains (who may also be players) can decide who will play and who will rest in their nine-member squad.

The format

The event  is 12-round Swiss tournament. The first named team in a pairing shall have the white pieces on the odd-numbered boards and the black pieces on the even-numbered boards.

The time control will be 15 minutes, with a 10-second increment from move one.

The scoring will be based on matchpoints: a win scores two points, a draw scores one point and a loss means zero points. A team with the highest number of matchpoints in the relevant final standings shall be declared World Rapid Team Champion.

The regulations of the event can be found here.

Prizes

The tournament will feature a 250,000 Europe prize fund, with the prizes distributed in the following order:

In case of a tie, the prize money shall be distributed according to the tie breaks.

Event coverage

FIDE will be providing its coverage of the event with a dedicated live programme on FIDE’s official YouTube and Twitch channels. Commenting on the games will be our-time US champion and one of the most prominent chess figures GM Yasser Seirawan. He will be joined by GM Maurice Ashley and the European Women’s Individual Chess Champion, and a seven-time French Women’s Champion WGM Almira Skripchenko.

The venue & spectators

The tournament will be played in Dusseldorf’s Rheinterrasse (Address: Joseph-Beuys-Ufer 33, 40479 Düsseldorf), located right in the heart of Dusseldorf, directly on the Rhine.

Spectators who wish to follow the event can attend free of charge from 26-28 August, from 13:00 until the end of the games.

The entrance to the playing hall with smartphones or any other electronic devices will be prohibited. Such devices should be left in the lockers, which will be located outside of the playing area.

To get fast-track access to the event, click here.

Schedule:

August 25 — Arrival

August 29 — Departure

The organisation

The event is organised by FIDE in partnership with WR Group Holding GmbH – an international provider of certification, project logistics and customs services.

All official information about the tournament can be found on the event website: worldrapidteams2023.fide.com/

Text: Milan Dinic