The "WR Chess" team, sponsored by Düsseldorf company "WR Logistics", has won the first World Rapid Team Championship of the world chess federation FIDE. With 22:2 matchpoints, the squad coached by Bundestrainer Jan Gustafsson distanced the second-placed team "Freedom" by two points. The three-day-twelve-round competition in the Düsseldorf Rheinterasse was peppered with several world-class players.
The FIDE World Rapid Team Championship is based on an idea by Wadim Rosenstein, founder and CEO of the WR Group and chess enthusiast. He had in mind an open team competition in which amateurs would fight side by side with the best players in the world; a World Championship that would also be a celebration of the international chess family across generations and skill levels.
The World Chess Federation, motto "gens una sumus" ("We are one family"), took up this idea. The new competition shall from now on be held regularly if possible. The first edition was played from August 26th to 28th, 2023 in teams of six, each of which had to nominate at least one woman and one amateur with a rating of no more than 2000 Elo.
36 teams from all over the world with more than 250 players took up the fight for the title and the prize fund of 250,000 euros. Together with numerous amateurs and talents, a who's who of chess gathered in Düsseldorf to make this World Championship one of the strongest tournaments ever on German soil. Among others, ex-world champions Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Hou Yifan, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk were among the participants.
In the WR team, Rosenstein occupied the U2000 board himself – and made a significant contribution to winning the title with six points from twelve games. The women's board was shared by two former World Champions: Hou Yifan, the highest rated female chess player in the world, and Alexandra Kosteniuk from Switzerland, current number seven in the world ranking.
WR's four open boards were manned with top grandmasters, including German number one Vincent Keymer, two-time World Championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi or the newly crowned World Championship candidate Praggnanandhaa (18), one of the great hopes of chess powerhouse India. As his team's top performer, "Pragg" scored fantastic 6,5 points out of 7 games. By bringing a World Championship title to Germany, team "WR Chess" continues a tradition started by Emanuel Lasker in 1894.
The special prize for the best game by a youngster was won by eleven-year-old Christian Glöckler from the German state of Hesse, one of the great talents of German chess, number five in the world in his age group. Rosenstein presented Glöckler with the "Rainer Niermann Cup" for his win over South African grandmaster Kenny Solomon.