Go ahead and take that late summer vacation you've been planning. After the usual August hiatus, school will be back in session as Chess.com's Death Match series returns in September with GM Alex Lenderman and GM Wang Yue going pawn to pawn.
The match will be Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 12 p.m. Eastern (GMT -5), 9 a.m. Pacific, and will air live on Chess.com/TV.
Death Matches are three-hour non-stop blitz and bullet chess battles, with a $1,000 total prize fund. Most matches include 25-30 games, and players compete without any breaks.
GM Alex Lenderman -- FIDE 2593
While growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lenderman won about every scholastic title worth winning. In 2004, he won the National Middle School Championship, both individual and team. The next year, he won the World Junior Under 16 Championship in France.
GM Alex Lenderman at the 2014 U.S. Championship
Also in 2005, Edward R. Murrow High School won a team national title with his help. The season was chronicled in detail in the book "The Kings of New York." Lenderman still has a ways to go to top other famed attendees of his school. (Actress Marisa Tomei, director Darren Aronofsky, musician Adam Yauch and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat all went to Murrow.)
Amazingly, he's not the first Murrow graduate to compete in a Death Match! That would be GM Irina Krush, who just won Death Match 26. Should Lenderman go on to win, that would make Murrow's lifetime tally two Death Match wins, but only one Academy Award (Tomei has one, Aronofsky zero).
Here's his brave exchange sac for central pawns against a famous GM that also features a study-like endgame finish:
Recently Lenderman made waves at the 2014 U.S. Championship. He qualified for the playoff before losing to GM Varuzhan Akobian. Here Lenderman explained his psychological approach to the tournament, and whether he has retired the famous dance he used when he was younger.
*Full disclosure -- this writer coached at Lenderman's middle school while Lenderman attended. He managed to achieve GM despite that fact.
GM Wang Yue -- FIDE 2715
The first Chinese player to compete in a Death Match, Wang is the ninth 2700-rated player to compete. (GMs So, J. Polgar, Short, Naiditsch, van Wely, Caruana Andreikin and Le Quang Liem are the others who've reached that plateau.)
GM Wang Yue (photo: Wikipedia)
Focusing only on peak rating, his 2756 height is the second-best of any Death Match player, behind GM Fabiano Caruana's 2801 (GM Wesley So is close behind at 2755). That is also the highest rating any Chinese player has ever achieved. Wang got as high as world number nine, the first Chinese player ever in the top 10.
Like Lenderman, he is past World Youth Champion; his was for the Under-12 category.
This is one of two wins over GM Magnus Carlsen in 2009.
Wang is a two-time Chinese Champion, in 2005 and 2013.
He has played in the last five Olympiads for China, twice on top board. Wang's lifeime record is +24 =24 -4. In 2006, his team won silver while he won individual gold. Despite playing on board four that year, he had the second-highest performance rating of any player at the Olympiad, behind only GM Vladimir Kramnik.
Log on to Chess.com/TV on Saturday, September 6 at 12 p.m. Eastern (GMT -5), 9 a.m. Pacific, for live coverage of the match with IM Danny Rensch and special guests.