WRBC 2019 / News

The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships officially opened

The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships were officially opened on Wednesday evening at the Central Chess Club in Moscow. All top-seeded players in the Rapid and Blitz events drew white pieces in the drawing of lots: Magnus Carlsen (Rapid Open) started the trend which was followed by Anna Muzychuk (Rapid Women), Hikaru Nakamura (Blitz Open) and Kateryna Lagno (Blitz Women).

It was a White night in Moscow (which, unusually for this time of the year – has no snow!) as the drawing of lots in all four categories ended with top seeds drawing white pieces. That means that all participants with odd numbers will have White in the first round in both the rapid and the blitz tournaments. The pairings for the first round of the Rapid will be published at 11 AM on December 26.

The hall of the legendary Central Chess Club was crowded as players, arbiters, celebrities of the chess world and journalists gathered for the official opening of what will likely be one of the most exciting chess events of the year – the World Rapid and Blitz Championships.

The president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), Arkady Dvorkovich, expressed gratitude to the continuous support of Saudi Arabia to this event as well as the support of global companies such as Total, Gazprom and others.


“I am happy that Russia is hosting another big event, this time in Moscow (the World Rapid and Blitz in 2018 were held in St Petersburg)… It is wonderful that the event is held at a great historic place such as the Luzhniki Stadium which was home to all important ceremonies in the Moscow Olympics of 1980, where I was present at the final rehearsal for the opening ceremony”, Dvorkovich said. “I wish everyone good luck and I declare the World Rapid and Blitz Championships in Mosco win 2019 opened”.

Tournament director - and Executive Director of the Chess Federation of Russia - Mark Glukhovsky stated the historical importance of Moscow and its Central Chess Club and expressed hope that the organisation will live up to the standards. “I wish everyone lots of success and invite you all to come and follow the event”, Glukhovsky said.

The World Rapid and Blitz are given prominent space in the Russian media and have attracted a lot of public interest. Earlier on Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a letter expressing delight at his country hosting “highly prestigious international competitions, involving world-famous chess players, real champions and winners”.

“I am certain that many outstanding and beautiful battles, filled with honest and intense struggle, will take place over the next few days”, Putin said.


The Rapid and Blitz tournaments will be held at the grandiose Luzhniki sports arena – the famous opening venue of the 1980 Summer Olympics and the venue of the 2016 finals of the football World Cup. The event kicks off with a Rapid tournament from the 26 – 28 December, followed by a two day Blitz tournament on the 29th and the 30th. Over 330 participants from all around the world will be taking part. The accreditation cards will be handed out in the playing hall on December 26 from 1 PM until 2:30 PM.

Apart from the main events, there is also an additional programme featuring simuls, chess solving exhibitions, blitz and rapid tournaments. Also, the participants of the main chess events will not only square off in chess but they will also have a chance to face each other at a football tournament at the Luzhniki stadium in the evening on the 28th December.