Negi Wins 10th "Blitz Death Match"!
In yet another thrilling Blitz Death Match, Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi edged out Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez by a final score of 16.5-13.5, pulling away just enough in the final portion of play (Bullet) to win by three games.
The first Death Match of the year was held last weekend, January 12th for those in the Western Hemisphere - January 13th for those in the East. The different time zones meant GM Ramirez was to play late into the night (the match ended at roughly 11pm local time in Dallas, Texas USA), while GM Negi was forced to wake up much earlier than usual, with the pre-match interviews starting before 7:00 AM in India.
The match started out with a bang, with both players trading blows in the "slow" stage of the match (5 minutes + 1 second increment). Here's a nice win by each of these powerhouse players:
Reviewing the second game, it should be noted that GM Ramirez's Alekhine proved to be a tough nut to crack. Though he fared well with his Gruenfeld Defense as black against Alejandro, Parimarjan came up just short against the 4th World Champion's opening many times.
Then, at perhaps one of the critical turning points of the match, GM Negi finally managed to get the full point against the GM Ramirez's Alekhine, right as they transitioned into the bullet chess portion of the day, giving Negi a one-point lead at the start of the 1|1 games.
In their pre-match interviews, both players seemed to agree that GM Ramirez, known as a bullet chess legend under the username "LittlePeasant" on many chess servers, would potentially possess a large advantage in the lightning round; however, as we've seen in many Death Matches, a strong grandmaster is still a strong grandmaster - even without much time to think!
Though Alejandro might normally spot any opponent a one-game lead with many bullet games to be played, the late night seemed to take its toll, and GM Negi proved a more than worthy foe for Alejandro! Negi bounced back from losing the first two games to eventually win four in a row, and Ramirez was simply out of time on the "total match clock" to stage a comeback. Alejandro finished with a couple nice wins, but it wasn't enough to catch Parimarjan.
You can view the replay of the match, hosted by IMs Rensch and Pruess, at www.Chess.com/tv!