On Christmas Eve, Alexey Dreev was crowned the Russian Rapid Champion, after an event which took place over two days. Aged 43, Dreev is currently ranked as the 46th best player in the world by FIDE, with a rating of 2654. His highest ever rating was that which he attained last year, when he rose to 2711. A Russian Grandmaster of long-standing prowess, and with a number of prestigious victories behind him, Dreev may yet attain even higher ratings if his performance at the Russian Rapids i anything to go by.
Employing a dexterous Slav opening formation, Dreev beat his formidable opponent Vladislav Artemiev in the final of this year’s Russian Rapids, gaining a clear victory. Born in 1998, IM Artemiev is much younger than his fellow Russian Dreev. He has a rapid rating of 2536, marking him out as one of the greatest rising stars in chess today.
Dreev is certainly no stranger to wins in the rapids. His most recent victory, before the Russian Rapids, was at the European Rapid Championships last week (December 15th and 16th, to be precise). Here, once more, Dreev took the top place in a stunning final game. Dreev’s victory here was due to his superior play in the tie-breaker. This aside, the first prize was shared four ways, between Dreev, Sergei Rublevsky, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Alexei Shirov.
It has now been decided that there will be an annual Russian Rapid Championship for men and women, and potentially a concurrent blitz event as well. The first such rapid event is due to take place between May 20 and May 23 2013, so watch this space!