Congratulations to IMs Eric Hansen and Conrad Holt on qualifying for the 4th Chess.com Death Match, on April 28th. As of midnight on April 14th, Hansen was the highest rated active bullet player on chess.com, and Holt the highest rated active blitz player. The two players each accepted their invitations to participate in the fourth iteration of Chess.com's Death-Match series. The match, with live commentary again provided by IMs Rensch and myself plus a special guest or two, will take place on the 28th from 10 AM to 1 PM Pacific, with the pre-game show starting at 9:30. Watch the entire match *free* at www.chess.com/tv
IM Conrad Holt should be newly-known to quite a few Chess.com'ers as one month ago he joined Chess.com's new ambassador program, and a week or two later was all over the news after earning his final GM norm and with it his GM title. There is of course a lag between the earning of the title and the awarding of the title, but there is no doubt it will be awarded in this case. Thunderholt, as he is known for the electrifying effect of his impeccably-calculated chess, has been on a steady rise, with no signs of slowing down.
He may not know how close his qualification for this event was: GM Sam Shankland played over 200 blitz games, gradually raising his rating to within 1 point of Holt's, with about 90 minutes till midnight. A soul-crushing loss lead to a second unnecessary loss, and Shankland gave up the pursuit with an hour to go.
IM Eric Hansen, to my knowledge, did not face any serious challenge to his qualification in the last week. Last year, he tied for first in the Canadian Closed Championship at the age of 19. How Hansen attends UT Dallas, where he lives in the same building as... IM Holt. Apparently the two play each other pretty frequently (as one might imagine), but despite their proximity, they'll still be playing this match with mouses, like in other matches.
The one rule change from previous death matches is that the 5 1 time control is being extended from 1:15 to the first 1:30, and the 1 1 time control is being reduced from :45 to :30. The prize fund will be $1000.
On paper, the match seems razor-close. Holt's ratings are: blitz 2537, bullet 2616 for an average of 2576.5. Hansen's ratings are blitz 2379, bullet 2789, for an average of 2584! Who do you think will prevail in this match-up: the top-rated bullet player or the top-rated blitz player??
On May 20th, Death-Match 5 will feature the showdown of super-strong US Chess League rivals GM Giorgi Kacheishvili and Jorge Sammour-Hasbun. Prize-- $1000
On June 17th, Death-Match 6 will be a face off of the two highest-FIDE-rated players who inform me, by June 7th, of their interest in participating. Who will turn up? Let your super-GM friends know about it! Prize-- $1000
Previous Death-Match Winners:
Death-Match 3: Sam Shankland wrap-up
Death-Match 2: Greg Shahade wrap-up
Death-Match 1: Danny Rensch