Ivanchuk, Muzychuk crowned World Rapid champions
December 28 2016 11:45 PM
Vassily Ivanchuk (left) and Anna Muzychuk made it a Ukrainian double by winning the men’s and women’s title respectively at the Fide World Rapid Championship at Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil

It was double delight for Ukraine as Vassily Ivanchuk and Anna Muzychuk clinched the men’s and women’s Fide World Rapid Championship, respectively yesterday.
At the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, the 47-year old Ivanchuk scored 11 points from 15 rounds, the same as Alexander Grischuk of Russia and the reigning champion and top seed Magnus Carlsen of Norway, but a superior tie-break score gave him the title.
“I am happy. I am very happy, but I was very lucky in this tournament,” Ivanchuk said. “It was a very tough championship as all the players were top class and to win against them is very tough,” the former world No 2 added.
Ivanchuk, who had emerged as the sole leader after the end of round 10 on the penultimate day, played superbly on the final day to emerge champion.
World champ Carlsen, who was favourite to defend his title after his recent world title triumph against Russian Sergey Karjakin in New York, was not at his best yesterday and lauded the efforts of Ivanchuk.
“I can only congratulate Ivanchuk. If there’s anyone I want to be successful, it’s him. He has been class player for the last 30 years,” the Norwegian superstar said. On the second day, Carlsen edged closer with a victory in the eighth game over Dimitry Jakovenko and then defeated Grisjtjuk, the current world champion in blitz chess. However, he ended the day with a draw against Levon Aronian.
“I should have stood fine, but I messed things up. Carlsen said. “I don’t think it was ever any crisis … my basic game was correct, but my play wasn’t good enough. I can’t afford to give away so many points,” said Carlsen, who started the championship with a lucky draw against India’s Surya Shekhar Ganguly. He also lost in the second game to Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia and in 11th to day one leader Anton Korobov of Ukraine.
Commenting on his overall game, Carslen admitted he wasn’t playing ‘nearly well enough.’ “There’s something that’s not functioning. I’m lacking a good feeling. If you are losing three games, you can’t expect anyone to win the title,” he said. Ivanchuk termed his win against Carlsen in round seven as a very tough one.
“I was lucky to win against Carlsen. He is a very accurate player, you need a brilliant game to beat him,” the Ukrainian said. This is Ivanchuk’s second world title after his triumph blitz in 2007.  
India’s Vidit Gujrathi, who was seeded 51st, did exceedingly well to take the eighth spot, scoring 9.5 points, while former champion and seventh seed Viswanathan Anand had to settle for the 14th place, with nine points.
Carlsen is fancied to win back the blitz title, which will be played from day, from Gristsjuk. The Russian won that title from Carlsen in 2015, after the Norwegian had become the only person ever to hold all three titles at once.
In the women’s, Muzychuk played consistently to win her second world title in style earlier in the day. The 26-year-old finished with nine points at the end of 12 rounds to emerge as clear winner.
Muzychuk superiority was never in doubt from day one in Doha. She finished on top on the day one and also on the day two, and capped her consistent run on the final day by bagging the title.
“It was a tiring championship, and I am happy to win the title,” Muzychuk said. “I have to prepare for the next two days for the blitz event, and hopefully I will win that too. I am looking forward to the next two days.”
The former world No.2, who earlier used to play for Slovenia, is also the current world blitz title holder and will defend her title in Qatar, when the two-day championship begins today.
Russian Alexandra Kosteniuk finished second, while Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia took the third place. The rapid category was contested over 12 rounds for the women`s section, with a single game for each round, the Swiss event.
On day two, Muzychuk, who was a runaway leader after five rounds, slowed down a bit by playing out two draws in rounds five and six. But after two victories in rounds seven and eight against Dzagnidze and Kashlinskaya, she finished the day in first place with seven points.  
Kosteniuk and Katerina Lagno of Ukraine played out a draw in the eighth round and shared the second place together with Iranian player Sarasadat Khademalsharieh. India’s Koneru Humpy took the 10th place, while Dronavalli Harika finished 16th.
After the rapid chess segment the 21 rounds of blitz chess will be played today and tomorrow, in which players will only have three minutes per game plus two seconds extra per player per move.
The total prize money for the Open tournament is $400,000 with $40,000 for the winner of each championship and $80,000 in Women Championships with $10,000 for the winner of each championship.

Final standings

Men: 1-3. Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr), Alexander Grischuk (Rus) and Magnus Carlsen (Nor) 11/15; 4-7. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze), Yu Yangyi (Chn), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) and David Anton Guijarro (Spa) 10; 8-11. Vidit Gujrathi (Ind), Levon Aronian (Arm), Leinier Dom?nguez (Cub) and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vie) 9.5.
Women: 1. Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) 9.5/12; 2. Alexander Kosteniuk (Rus) 8.5; 3. Nana Dzanigdze (Geo) 8; 4-6. Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Ira), Ju Wenjun (Chn) and Zhansaya Abdumalik (Kaz) 7.5; 7-11. Kateryna Lagno (Rus), Antaoneta Stefanova (Bul), Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz), Koneru Humpy (Ind) and Zhao Xue (Chn) 7.

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