Blitz Death Match #5 Goes to Hasbun!
Chess.com hosted its 5th Blitz Chess Death Match on Sunday, May 20th from 11am to 3pm Pacific time. Originally, GM Kacheishvili was set to face off against SM (Senior Master) Jorge Sammour Hasbun in a rival match of US Chess League foes (click here to see IM Pruess's exciting preview of the match).
However, when Kacheishvili withdrew at the last minute, his shoes were filled with Norway's #2 overall player and the current highest rated blitz player on Chess.com: GM Jon Ludvig Hammer. Though GM Hammer seemed to be the favorite on paper, SM Hasbun's reputation as one of the best blitz and rapid players in the world proved to be true when he ran away with the match, winning by a final score of 17.5 to 11.5.
Hasbun grabbed an early lead with taking 3.5 out of the first 4 games, and though Hammer did win 3 consecutive games to start the 3 1 segment of the match, once Hasbun started winning again, the match was never close. Hammer said in his post match interview with IM Danny Rensch that he felt he missed some opportunities to convert better positions early on in the match. Two games he may have been referring to can be seen here:
Here is one more exceptionally complex win by the "Non-FIDE-Titled" Master: