Athens, Greece, November 25, 2017 — Magnus Carlsen (Norway), the highest-rated chess player in the world and World Champion in classical chess, will take part in the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships that takes place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between 26th and 30th December 2017. The incumbent World Rapid and Blitz Champions — Sergey Karjakin (Russia) and Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), along with over 180 top grandmasters have confirmed their participation, making the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships the strongest open events of the year.
Notable entries include World ranked no.2 Levon Aronian of Armenia and world no.3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, former World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India and a record-breaking level of grandmasters from over 40 countries.
FIDE and the General Sports Authority are pleased to announce that the venue will be the iconic Apex Convention Centre, in KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre) as the playing venue. The 70,000m² KAPSARC campus incorporates five buildings: the Energy Knowledge Centre; the Energy Computer Centre; a Conference Centre with exhibition hall and 300-seat auditorium; a Research Library with archives for 100,000 volumes; and the Musalla, an inspirational place for prayer within the campus.
Given the extremely short time from confirmation of the event to the opening ceremony, FIDE and the organisers have been working very hard to ensure that all participants will enjoy excellent hospitality and benefit from organization of the highest standard in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The games and official ceremonies will be broadcasted online with expert Grandmaster commentary and made available to all media partners.
The four events offer a record total prize fund of US$2,000,000 with the Open events having individual prize funds of US$750,000 each and the women event having a prize fund of US$ 250,000 each. 30 prizes shall be offered in each event.
All players rated at least 2600 for the Open and 2300 for the Women, in any of the FIDE rating lists (Standard, Blitz or Rapid) from September 2017 to October 2017 are eligible to register to play in the King Salman World Blitz & Rapid Championships 2017. FIDE has already announced that female participants will not have to wear hijab or abaya during the games, a first for any sporting event in Saudi Arabia.