Death Match 21 Qualifying Nears Finish Line
With only a few days left before the end of the year (and with it the end of the Third Chess.com Death Match Qualifier), here is how the race shapes up. Note that players are playing dozens of games in a day sometimes and the rankings and ratings can change rapidly.
If you've forgotten all the rules for qualifying, make sure you read this again. If you'd like to see the plan for Death Matches in all of 2014, read this again, or if you just like Death Match history, read this! Set your calendars - Death Match 20 will be Saturday, January 18 at noon Eastern (New York time), 9 a.m. Pacific.
Players have until the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. I'm not sure who the Chess.com staff member will be who has to sit by his/her computer to check the rankings then, but all I have to say is, "Not it!"
In the "blitz" category, FM Andrey Kalinichev ("Kulinarest" on Chess.com) leads the ratings by a country mile. He's at 2701 and the Carlsen-sized gap down to second place is more than 140 points. Kalinichev has only played 53 blitz games since December 1st, meaning he'll need to play 47 more and keep his ratings lead. Fortunately for him, he has more than a few points to play with.
Current number two on the active ratings list is NM Andrew Ng (Matetricks) at 2561. He's only played 25 games though, so he will really need to cancel his New Year's Eve plans to make it to 100 games.
The mysterious GM Phoenix is next at 2523 but he sits on 34 blitz games (but is leading in bullet - read below).
The current 100+ game leader is GM Robert Hess (RLH2), 2490, who has played a whopping 287 blitz games in December and is nearing 1,000 lifetime! He's a Yale University student, and it seems he ramped up his activity after exams - he went from fairly active to completely addicted. His "problem" is that he has already played in a Death Match (#6, losing to GM Gawain Jones). He is eligible to be invited if another qualifier declines a spot.
Nipping at his heels is GM Daniel Gormally (Jeski1) at 2483. He did some world championship commentary for Chess.com/TV and must have been inspired. Gormally has played 81 blitz games since December 1st and seems likely to get to 100.
GM Daniel Gormally from England
If the contest ended today, according to my research you would have to go down to FM Evan Ju (Eilyisum), 2437, to find a player over the 100-games threshold who has not competed in a previous Death Match. Ju has actually played more than 6,000 blitz games on Chess.com, so you can could say he is due!
The situation in one-minute chess seems to be much more clear. GM Phoenix has just passed the 100-game mark today (he stands at 110 as of this writing). He leads with a 2842 rating and has been known to rattle off 15 wins or more in a row. His skill is real, and I've been assured he has not played in a Death Match before. I'll leave it to you to speculate on who he might be!
The mystery remains...
IM Siddharth Ravichandran (brute4ever) is over 3000, but has only played three bullet games this month.
GM Georg Meier (GeorgMeier) is trying to make a race out of things - he has played all 150 or so of his lifetime bullet games this month and sits at 2795.
Kalinichev is at 2704 but has only played 37 bullet games. FM Kazim Gulamali (Gulamali-BOS) wins the unofficial ironman award. He's played 407 bullet games this month an has achieved a respectable spot on the Chess.com homepage leader list at 2631 (Gulamali would likely qualify if we ever had a Bughouse Death Match).
Lastly, I'll note that Candidates Tournament player GM Dmitry Andreikin (2Vladimirovish90) is on 2793, just behind Meier. He's +16 =1 -0 in bullet, which is impressive but not active enough.
Comment below on who you'd like to see qualify!