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5 Reasons To Watch The 2022 Speed Chess Championship

5 Reasons To Watch The 2022 Speed Chess Championship

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The 2022 Speed Chess Championship is back for another year beginning November 23! GM Magnus Carlsen joins the fray to try and end GM Hikaru Nakamura's four-year run of tournament victories. Other hopefuls like GM Wesley So or GM Ian Nepomniachtchi might have something to say about it, too. And, yes: there is $100,000 on the table.

More than any other before it, this is an SCC that you will not want to miss. Why? Well, several reasons. 


Return of Magnus

When the world champion talks plays, you listen watch. Carlsen won the 2017 Speed Chess Championship before he took a couple of years off. Then came the pandemic in 2020 and Carlsen came back before taking another year off. Now, for the second time in three years, he will try to regain the SCC throne.

Magnus Carlsen Speed Chess Championship
2017 was a few years ago, but Carlsen being good at chess is something that never changes.

Carlsen won both the FIDE Blitz Championship and the SCC in '17 before winning the FIDE Blitz in 2018 and '19. He's won neither since despite playing in both, so there is actually a measure of revenge at stake as Carlsen tries to reassert dominance.

Obviously, Magnus brings every tournament he plays to a higher level. But he's not the only one who can claim that.

Hikaru's "Connect Five"

The SCC has been, frankly, Nakamura's stomping ground for years now. (Did you know the original expression is "stamping ground" though?) Not only has he won in 2018, '19, '20, and '21, but the final match has been getting less and less close: a four-point margin in 2018, five points in '19, six in '20... and a whopping 15 in 2021.

He's now gunning for his fifth consecutive Speed Chess Championship, the same number of classical world championships that Carlsen settled on. He'll no doubt do it with the same calculative force and resourcefulness from the last four years of the SCC, not to mention his dozens of Titled Tuesday victories.

Hikaru Nakamura 2022 Speed Chess Championship
Unstoppable. But will Nakamura's SCC reign continue?

Nakamura and Carlsen are the favorites in any blitz tournament, but that doesn't mean they're guaranteed to face each other in the finals. In fact, most players in this field have been finalists in at least one major event... just in the past year. And most of those won.

Champions Galore

Half the field has won a major championship in just the last 12 months. That's not a misprint. We have three reigning Chess.com champions—Wesley So (Global Championship), GM Arjun Erigaisi (Junior SCC) and, of course, Nakamura (SCC)—and all four reigning FIDE champions: Carlsen (classical), GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov (rapid), GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (blitz), Nakamura (Fischer Random). Not to mention the reigning U.S. champion, GM Fabiano Caruana

Wesley So CGC SCC Speed Chess.com Championship
The most recent champ of them all is Wesley So at the 2022 Chess.com Global Championship (CGC). Photo: Eric Rosen/Chess.com.

And the last three classical WCC challengers are playing as well: GM Ding Liren, Nepomniachtchi, and Caruana. Also, all four semifinalists from both of the two most recent championships are playing. From the CGC: So, runner-up GM Nihal Sarin, and semifinalists Nakamura and GM Anish Giri. And from the Fischer Random Championship: Nakamura, Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen, and Abdusattorov.

Some players are on multiple of these lists, but you cannot deny that it makes for a must-watch event when only one of these unstoppable forces can win the championship. 

Indian Youth Movement

Abdusattorov, who in addition to his 2021 rapid championship also played on board one for the 2022 Olympiad champion Uzbekistan, is not the only teenage star in the tournament. There are three more, all of whom are helping to lead India's charge into the top chess countries.

Nihal, the CGC finalist—and three-time JSCC finalist, including wins in 2020 and '21—is one. Erigaisi is another. The third is GM Gukesh D, rated 2700 by FIDE at age 16, one of the youngest players in history to reach that milestone. All of them balled out at Olympiad. India, the host nation, saw its younger "B" team, with Gukesh and Nihal on the top two boards, finish in third place while its more veteran "A" team, including Erigaisi on board three, finished in fourth out of the 188 teams present. All of them finished with a top-two performance rating for their board.

Gukesh Nihal India Speed Chess Championship
Gukesh is seated on the right of the picture, with Nihal next to him in Round 7 of the 2022 Olympiad. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Best Of Online Blitz

By this point, the Speed Chess Championship has become the world's premier online blitz tournament. Players must master not one but three different time controls while getting just enough increment to avoid helplessly flagging.

Top players are always keen to participate and this year demonstrates that yet again, including two players we have yet to mention: GMs Dmitry Andreikin and Levon Aronian. They were both quarterfinalists in the CGC (until Aronian dropped). 

2022 Chess.com SCC participants

So if you like online blitz chess, why wouldn't you want to watch the best online blitz chess event?

Conclusion

And we haven't even mentioned our bracket contest, where if you pick a perfect bracket you could win $10,000! For details click here.

What more could you ask for? Will Hikaru win his fifth in a row? Will Magnus win the SCC for the first time in five years? Or will someone else jump in and take the tournament by storm?

It's almost time to find out!

What are you most looking forward to in the 2022 Speed Chess Championship? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to watch the tournament starting November 23 on our YouTube and Twitch channels or on Chess.com/TV.

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