BOTW: 2017.12.27

King Salman World Blitz & Rapid Championships

Dec. 26-30, 2017
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Rapid Dec. 26-28; 15 round Swiss; TC: 15 + 10

Blitz Dec. 29-30; 21 round Swiss; TC: 3 + 2.

FIDE's "decision" -- if you can call it that, since there were no other bids -- to accept the bid to hold the event in Saudi Arabia is controversial:

Pros: Record $2 million prize fund. Excellent conditions for players who attend. More explict dress code, including women not required to wear headscaves in tournament hall.

Cons: Players from countries Saudi Arabia has diplomatic problems were not allowed visas (= no players from Israel); women have to live by the local customs outside the playing hall (scarves, must be accompanied by male relative).

Both Hikaru Nakamura and 2016 Rapid and Blitz World Champion Anna Muzychuk cited political objections as reasons they will not play in the event. For more, see:

Live Games (start at 6am EST)

English commentary: WGM K. Tsatsalashvili & GM E. Miroshnichenko
Russian commentary: GM Sergei Shipov

Note: the English feed for the live commentary is very spotty, with frequent hangs. The Russian and Spanish feeds work fine, but not all English speakers will understand them.

Canadian Women's Zonal

Dec.26-31, 2017

A 10-player RR to determine the Canadian Women's Champion, who will represent Canada at the next World Cup, and qualify automatically for a spot on the Olympiad team.

Event Details (updated)

Live Games: The top four games from each round are on DGT boards, and can be viewed here:

Note: burst pipes outside the venue forced the rescheduling of Round 2 (and all later rounds). At the moment it is not clear if the venue will be functional for round 2, currently rescheduled for Dec 27 at 6pm.

The DeBearding

December 31, 2017

Aman Hambelton's soon-to-be-legendary beard comes off live online on the ChessBrah twitch stream.

Over a year ago, Aman promised he would not shave until he got his final GM Norm. He accomplished that at the Sunway Sitges International in Spain in late December, and celebrate a return to well-coiffed humanity from his Beast State live online: Blitz Championship Final: Carlsen v Nakamura

January 3, 2018. 10am PST, 1pm EST

Magnus Carlsen defends his Chess.Com Championship title against Hikaru Nakamura in the final of the online Blitz Championship.

Based on their head-to-head record, and their performance in the matches leading up to the final, Carlsen is the clear favourite.

The format for the matches is 3 hours of online play, broken into four formats:

    • 90 minutes of 5+2 blitz, 
    • 60 minutes of 3+2 blitz,
    • 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet,
    • one chess960 game in each time control. 

Live Games (commentary by IM Danny Rensch and GM Eric Hansen)