Zhansaya Abdumalik improves Elo rating by defeating former world champions

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh chess champion Zhansaya Abdumalik improved her Elo rating to 2,414 by defeating former world champions in blitz at the 2019 International Mind Sports Association’s (IMSA) World Masters Championship, becoming the only Kazakh woman with an Elo rating above 2,400 in all three types of chess (classic, rapid and blitz).

Zhansaya Abdumalik. Photo credit: Kazakhstan Chess Federation

The invitation was Kazakhstan’s first to the championship and Abdumalik its youngest participant. She beat Chinese grandmaster and 2017-2018 world champion Tan Zhongyi, Georgian grandmaster Nana Dzagnidze, American International Grandmaster Irina Krush and Chinese grandmaster Lei Tingjie in rapid. Then, she took revenge in blitz over Ukrainian grandmaster and 2015-2016 world champion Mariya Muzychuk and topped Indian grandmaster Humpy Koneru by the same score, 2-0.

“My opponents won the world championships in different years, so it was impossible to relax for a second,” said Abdumalik.

The world’s 16 strongest women chess players took part in the rapid and blitz competitions.

“Zhansaya was in seventh place in rapid and blitz according to the tournament’s results. She showed an excellent game. In addition to the crushing victories over the strongest chess players on the planet, she tied with the rating favourite Chinese Lei Tingjie. The games with former world champions Ukrainian Anna Ushenina and Russian Alexandra Kosteniuk also ended in a draw, but Zhansaya managed to beat each famous player by one game. It was precisely the defeat from Zhansaya that deprived Kosteniuk of gold in this championship,” said Kazakh Chess Federation Executive Director Irina Grishenko.

The 2019 championship, involving 137 athletes from 36 countries, was held May 13-18 in Hengshui, China. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) selected the participants according to the results of the 2018-2019 tournaments.

The first IMSA World Masters Championship took place in Beijing in 2008. Chess legends such as Russians Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin and Anatoly Karpov, Japanese American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, Armenian Levon Aronian, Chinese grandmaster Hou Yifan were among the competitors.

The Elo rating, a scoring system invented by Hungarian-American physics professor and chess master Arpad Elo, is used by FIDE to determine players’ ratings.