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FIDE World Rapid Team 2023 R1-4: Aravindh and Nihal shine

by Shahid Ahmed - 27/08/2023

India's first triple crown champion, GM Aravindh Chithambaram (Six-pack) had the best start among Indians. He defeated GM Wesley So (WR Chess) and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (ASV AlphaEchecs Linz) in Round 2 and 4 respectively. In both games, Aravindh played some sharp chess, the latter win being his best so far at FIDE World Rapid Team Championship 2023. GM Nihal Sarin (MGD1) also had a great day as he defeated GM Levon Aronian (Kompetenzakademie Allstars) and drew against GM Daniil Dubov (Freedom). GM Raunak Sadhwani (MGD1) won against GM Richard Rapport (Freedom) which featured four pawn promotions into a queen. Among the Women, WGM Priyanka Nutakki (Six-pack) held GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (WR Chess) to a draw. She was on the verge of holding GM Kateryna Lagno (ASV AlphaEchecs Linz) until she blundered at the last moment. WR Chess currently leads with a perfect 8/8, followed by Team MGD1 and Freedom at 7/8 each. Round 5 starts today at 1:30 p.m. local time, 5 p.m. IST. Photo: FIDE/Niki Riga

WR Chess makes a perfect start

WR Chess has gained an early sole lead 8/8. However, they are yet to register a whitewash victory. Their best victory by biggest margin was against Ashdod Elit Chess Club in the third round when they won 5.5-0.5 against them.

GM Aravindh Chithambaram (Six-pack) defeated GM Wesley So (WR Chess) and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (ASV AlphaEchecs Linz) | Photo: FIDE/Niki Riga

The inaugural edition of FIDE World Rapid Team Championship will take place from 26th to 28th August 2023

Round 1: A smooth start for the top seeds

18-year-old FM Siem Van Dael (Blerickse Schaakvereniging, 2233) held FIDE World Cup 2023 Bronze medalist, GM Fabiano Caruana (Kompetenzakademie Allstars, 2763) to a draw.

Heilbronn Hustlers - Freedom: 0-6 | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

Blerickse Schaakvereniging - Kompetenzakademie Allstars: 0.5-5.5 | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

WR Chess - FIDE Management Board: 4.5-1.5 | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

Six-pack - PhileKhoob Chess Club: 5-1 | Photo: FIDE/Niki Riga

Opening Ceremony | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

Round 1 in progress | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz and Niki Riga

Round 2: Aravindh Chithambaram beats Wesley So, Team MGD1 scores a dominating win over Düsseldorfer Schachklub 1914/25 e.V.

The biggest result among the Indian players in the second round is undoubtedly GM Aravindh Chithambaram (Six-pack) scoring a victory over GM Wesley So (WR Chess). Although Six-pack lost to WR Chess 2-4, Aravindh's teammates, GM Pranesh M and WGM Priyanka Nutakki drew against GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda and GM Alexandra Kosteniuk respectively.

Aravindh - So

Position after 30.Ne5

In a sharp position, GM Wesley So (2789) captured the knight which improved GM Aravindh Chithambaram's (2553) rook's position and made some deadly threats on the back rank as well as attack the e4-knight. 30...Bxe5? 31.Rxe5 Nf6 32.f3 Qxe1+ 33.Rxe1 Rb8 34.Rc1 Be8 35.b5 h6 36.Bxd4 Bxb5?? 37.Rb1 Black loses an exchange and the game too.

GM Pranesh M (Six-pack, pictured) - GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda (WR Chess): 0.5-0.5

WGM Priyanka Nutakki (Six-pack, pictured) - GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (WR Chess): 0.5-0.5

Six-pack - WR Chess: 2-4

Replay Six-pack vs WR Chess games

Spectators are allowed to watch the games live in-person at the venue | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

Round 3: Nihal beats Aronian, Harikrishna draws against Caruana

The only rapid rated game played between GM Nihal Sarin (MGD1, 2671) and GM Levon Aronian (Kompetenzakademie Allstars, 2763) was won by Aronian at Tata Steel India 2018. The next three games - two blitz and one classical ended in draws.

Nihal - Aronian

Position after 38...exf4

White is completely winning the above position. However, he cannot afford to rush as 39.Rd8 allows Black back in the game Ne7. Thus White needs to zugzwang Black 39.Ke1! e5 40.Kf2 e4 41.fxe4 Ng3 42.Kf3 and it's over.

Nihal Sarin (MGD1) vs Levon Aronian (Kompetenzakademie Allstars) | Video: ChessBase India

GM Nihal Sarin (MGD1) defeated GM Levon Aronian (Kompetenzakademie Allstars) and drew against GM Daniil Dubov (Freedom) in the following round | Photo: FIDE/Niki Riga

Caruana - Harikrishna

Position after 30.Kf3

GM Pentala Harikrishna (MGD1, 2630) got himself a decisive advantage against GM Fabiano Caruana (Kompetenzakademie Allstars, 2763). 30...gxf4 31.Kxe4 Ng5+ 32.Kd4 Nf3+ led to a forced draw by repetition. However, 30...Ree8 would have given Black a great opportunity to push for a win.

GM Pentala Harikrishna (MGD1) made an unbeaten start 2/3 | Photo: FIDE/Niki Riga

Kompetenzakademie Allstars - MGD1: 2-4

Replay Kompetenzakademie Allstars vs MGD1 games

Round 4: Raunak beat Rapport, Aravindh gets the better of MVL

GM Raunak Sadhwani (MGD1) defeated GM Richard Rapport (Freedom) in a complex endgame which featured a total four pawn promotions.

Raunak - Rapport

Position after 44...Qxf5

45.Nxf8 Kxf8 the humane reaction of recapturing the knight was not the best idea as 46.Qd8+ Kf7 47.Qc7+ dropped Black's bishop. Computer recommends 45...Be4 46.Ng6 Ke8 to be the better choice. Black might be down by a knight, however both White's minor pieces are not being useful.

Raunak Sadhwani (MGD1) - Richard Rapport (Freedom) | Video: ChessBase India

GM Raunak Sadhwani (MGD1) won all three of his games on the first day | Photo: FIDE/Niki Riga

Freedom - Team MGD1: 3-3
Vidit, team 'Freedom': "It is nice to play more freely and try out some things" | Video: FIDE

Replay Freedom vs MGD1 games

Aravindh - Vachier-Lagrave

Position after 22...Be6?

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's (ASV AlphaEchecs Linz, 2762) invited the interesting 23.Nxg6!? by GM Aravindh Chithambaram (Six-pack, 2553). 23...Kxg6 24.Qd3+ Bf5 25.h5+ Nxh5 26.Bxh5+ Kf6 27.Qe3 e5 28.Bxh6 Bxh6 29.Qxh6 and White went on to win the game convincingly.

Six-pack might have lost the match against ASV AlphaEchecs Linz, GM Aravindh Chithambaram and GM Pranesh M scored huge victories

Six-pack - ASV AlphaEchecs Linz: 2-4

Replay Six-pack vs ASV AlphaEchecs Linz games

Round 4 in progress | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

Video Gallery

Replay Live Commentary of Round 1-4 by GMs Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley and IM Almira Skripchenko (FRA) | Video: FIDE
The ultimate Pragg interview | How the 18-year-old took the chess world by storm at World Cup 2023 | Video: ChessBase India
The inspiration behind Gukesh's new look and long hair! | Video: ChessBase India
Vishy Anand is back on the board at the FIDE World Rapid Teams 2023 | Video: ChessBase India
Abundance is the word! The beautiful venue tour of the FIDE World Rapid Teams 2023 | Video: ChessBase India

Team composition

Each team will consist of at least six and maximum nine players. Apart from having to include at least one female player, for the first time in a high-level team event, teams will have to include a recreational player, who has never achieved a Standard, Rapid or Blitz FIDE rating of 2000 or more. It is not mandatory for the teams to have board order as per rating. For more details, please check the tournament regulations, link provided at the end of the article.


The 12-round Swiss League team event has a time control of 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment from move no.1. There is no default time. No penalty shall be imposed on a player if he/she is late for any of his/her games. Scoring is usual for a team event. Match points: Win = 2, Draw = 1 and Loss = 0.

Replay Round 1-4 games

Round 4 results

11Freedom63:36Team MGD13
212Six-pack42:44ASV AlphaEchecs Linz4
314Team Chessemy.com4½:4Armenia5
46Ashdod Elit Chess Club43:34Rishon LeZion Chess Club15
510Germany and Friends4:4Kompetenzakademie Allstars7
618Schachverein Hemer43:34Chess Pensioners28
79Chessbrah OFM35:13Heilbronn Hustlers19
823Doppelbauer Kiel3:3Berlin Chess Federation11
98Columbus Energy KingsOfChess Kraków61:56WR Chess *)2
1021Deutsche Schachjugend 132:43Düsseldorfer Schachklub 1914/25 e.V.13


Standings after Round 4

Rk.SNoTeamGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
12WR Chess4400875,51915
23Team MGD14310764,517,516
54ASV AlphaEchecs Linz43016531814
68Columbus Energy KingsOfChess Kraków4301645,51517
710Germany and Friends422064414,514
828Chess Pensioners41305481416
99Chessbrah OFM42115471616
106Ashdod Elit Chess Club421154314,517


Round 5 pairings

13Team MGD17:6ASV AlphaEchecs Linz4
25Armenia6:6Columbus Energy KingsOfChess Kraków8
36Ashdod Elit Chess Club5:6Germany and Friends10
415Rishon LeZion Chess Club5:5Chessbrah OFM9
511Berlin Chess Federation5:5Schachverein Hemer18
613Düsseldorfer Schachklub 1914/25 e.V.5:5Chess Pensioners28
77Kompetenzakademie Allstars4:4Africa17
824Mitropa Chess Association4:4Six-pack12
92WR Chess *)8:7Freedom1
1031Kenya Commercial Bank Chess Club4:4Team Chessemy.com14




The venue for the event will be Rheinterrasse, Düsseldorf by Stockheim


The total prize fund is €250000. There are six prizes in total - top five and one rating category. The top three prizes are: €100000, 60000 and 40000 each respectively. Best U2400 will earn €12500.


Official site

Tournament Regulations