Live Now: 1st Ever 'ChessKid Games' This Saturday
Tune in June 1 at 8am Pacific to see this unique competition in three disciplines: Hand and Brain, Blitz, and Puzzle Duel.

Live Now: 1st Ever 'ChessKid Games' This Saturday

MikeKlein
FM MikeKlein
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26 | Chess Event Coverage

Watch the first ever ChessKid Games live at www.Chess.com/TV and www.Twitch.tv/Chess.

Ten of the most talented American juniors and ten more child prodigies will partner up and face off in the inaugural "ChessKid Games" on June 1. The competition is the marquee event for ChessKid.com, the scholastic extension of Chess.com.

The 20 players will form 10 teams of two players and will compete in three different disciplines. This triathlon will feature three games of Hand and Brain, then also a Blitz round robin and an all-play-all Puzzle Duel (ChessKid's newest feature).

Puzzle Duel ChessKid
Players will have to race each other in puzzles in ChessKid's Puzzle Duel Feature.

The player list is comprised of 10 FIDE-titled teenagers, most of which played in the ChessKid Games' predecessor, CONIC. Four of the 10 younger qualifiers (aged 10 or under) did so by US Chess rating and then one each from six international partners of ChessKid in these countries: UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, and Argentina.

In an interesting twist, the children that won the most games in ChessKid's live server got first "pick" of their titled partner for purposes of making the teams. After the draft, here's the list of the American titled teenagers and their younger partners:

  • IM Brandon Jacobson (USA)/Noah Rose (Australia)
  • IM Advait Patel (USA)/Freek Thijssen (Netherlands)
  • IM Christopher Yoo (USA)/Brian Tay (USA)
  • IM Joshua Sheng (USA)/Rachael Li (USA)
  • IM Craig Hilby (USA)/Dhruva Patil (USA)
  • IM Hans Niemann (USA)/Alexander Wang (USA)
  • FM Ben Li (USA)/Juan Fecundo Lavandeira (Argentina)
  • FM Roland Feng (USA)/George Clarkson (UK)
  • FM Andy Huang (USA)/Sebastian Gerdes (Sweden)
  • CM Robert Shlyakhtenko (USA)/Liva Buddha Jensen (Denmark)
Brandon Jacobson
IM Brandon Jacobson, seen here in 2016, won the CONIC event for his age group that year. He is the highest-rated player in the event (2503 FIDE).

The teams have much at stake. For the "younger" member of the winning team, he/she will win three hours of private lessons from a super-GM to be named later. For the older "teenage" member of the winning team, he will receive the first qualification spot to the Junior Speed Chess Championship in 2020. There are additional cash and coaching prizes to the second and third place teams.

Below is an explanation of the scoring and format:

Scoring and format

  • This is truly a team event, and all three events will combine for a final team total.
  • There will be three Hand and Brain games played at 5+5 on the ChessKid server. The 10 teams will play a Swiss. The alumni will always be the "Brain" (announce which piece to move) and the ChessKid will be the "Hand" (moving the piece). Each win in Hand and Brain is worth 4 points and each draw is worth 2 points.
  • There will be a two Blitz round-robins. CONIC alumni will play one round-robin amongst themselves on ChessKid.com at a time control of 5+1. The younger ChessKids will be play a twin round-robin amongst themselves on ChessKid.com at a time control of 5+1. Wins in blitz are worth 1 point and draws are worth 1/2 point.
  • There will also be twin Puzzle Duel round robins. CONIC alumni will all play each other and ChessKid will also all play one another. Each individual battle will be worth 1 point (so a "perfect" score would be nine points for either team member).
  • Final standings will be by total combined score of the team, so a "perfect score" would be 12 points in Hand and Brain, 18 points in blitz, and 18 in puzzle duel = 48 points.

One other interesting aspect of the event is that each younger partner is granted two hours of chess lessons with their older partner, paid for by ChessKid.com. Teams may elect to use some or all of those lessons "prepping" for the Hand and Brain section, which is where the duos will act most as a team. Partners will communicate via private Zoom channels that Chess.com/ChessKid staff monitors (players will also be required to have arbiters or proctors present and all games will be checked using Chess.com's fair play systems).

The action is sure to be fast-paced and teams may not even know who is ahead until the final flag falls! You'll want to watch to see the next crop of GMs and perhaps even the crop after them. While this is a serious event, ChessKid is also hoping to put some fun in the game with this non-traditional format.

Tune in to watch commentators IM David Pruess and FM Mike Klein (FunMasterMike) try to keep up with all the action. The event will be on Saturday, June 1 at 8 a.m. Pacific, 11 a.m. Eastern, 16:00 Central Europe and will last about four hours. Catch it all live on either Chess.com/TV or Twitch.tv/Chess.

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