Nakamura Defeats Duda 15.5-11.5 To Advance In Speed Chess Championship
This is the match you've truly been waiting for.

Nakamura Defeats Duda 15.5-11.5 To Advance In Speed Chess Championship

| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

A full recap article of today's match will be released soon. For now, here is a preview of the quarterfinal encounter:

Hikaru Nakamura and Jan-Krzysztof Duda will play the fourth and last quarterfinal of the 2019 Speed Chess Championship on Wednesday.

After Vladislav Artemiev eliminated Levon Aronian, Ian Nepomniachtchi won against Ding Liren and Wesley So defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, we'll see one more quarterfinal match in our Speed Chess championship, which has a total prize fund of $50,000.

Here are all the matches:

All matches can be followed in Live Chess. Expert commentary will be provided by GM Robert Hess and IM Danny Rensch on

Dec 4: Nakamura vs. Duda

Hikaru Nakamura might have failed to qualify for the Grand Chess Tour finals as the defending champion, but he is still very much in contention for retaining his Speed Chess Championship title. The American GM is definitely the man to beat, especially since he is the still the number-one player in blitz (3209) and bullet (3266) on our site.

Born in Hirakata, Japan, Nakamura's family moved to the U.S. when he was two. Currently the world number-22 in classical chess, Nakamura is a five-time U.S. champion and an Olympic gold medalist.

He won the prestigious Tata Steel Chess tournament in 2011 and is a record four-time winner of the Gibraltar Masters. His peak classical rating was 2816 in October 2015.

Nakamura, who will play the match from New York, said he is the favorite by about 60 to 40 percent. 

"Duda's biggest strength is his creativity and never-die attitude," he said. "However, this can also backfire and he can go completely on tilt if the tide doesn't turn around right away as with his match against So last year."

Hikaru Nakamura 2019 Speed Chess Championship
Born in Krakow, the 21-year-old Jan-Krzysztof Duda has had some good results lately and is now the world number-12 in the FIDE rankings. He achieved his grandmaster title in 2013 at the age of 15 years and 21 days. He won the 2018 Polish championship, and since then he's been the number-one player in Poland, ahead of Radek Wojtaszek.

The highlight of his career in standard chess so far was his performance in the Hamburg Grand Prix last month. Duda reached the final and lost to Alexander Grischuk in the tiebreak.

Duda has shown to be a speed chess specialist. In the previous round of the Speed Chess Championship he eliminated Anish Giri, while last year he knocked out both Sergey Karjakin and Alexander Grischuk. He also finished in second place in the world blitz in St. Petersburg.

Duda, who will play the match from home, is hopeful that Nakamura's recent slump in standard chess will work in his favor.

"Naka is obviously at a very top in online chess," said Duda. "Probably only Magnus is better than him. However, lately Hikaru is having some worse times in 'real' chess, so I think that his advantage, which is undisputed (he played at least 100,000 online games more than myself) is kept to the minimum."

Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2019 Speed Chess Championship

You can watch the match between Nakamura and Duda on Wednesday, December 4 at 9 a.m. Pacific (noon Eastern, 18:00 CET). Commentary will be provided by GM Robert Hess and IM Danny Rensch on

Nov. 18: Nepomniachtchi vs. Ding Liren

[Read the news report here]

Born in Bryansk, about 380 kilometers (235 miles) southwest of Moscow, the 29-year-old Ian Nepomniachtchi has made steady progress over the years and is currently the world number-six player. His tournament victories include the European Individual Championship (2010), the Russian Superfinal (2010), the Tal Memorial (2016) and the Aeroflot Open (2008 and 2015).

Nepomniachtchi reached the quarterfinals after a crushing win against Elina Danielian. Earlier this month, the Russia GM came third in the FIDE World Fischer Random Championship as he defeated Fabiano Caruana in the match for bronze.

Nepomniachtchi is still in contention for a spot in the 2020 Candidates' Tournament. For that, he needs to perform well in the last leg of the FIDE Grand Prix, next month in Jerusalem.

Ian Nepomniachtchi 2019 Speed Chess Championship

Born in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, Ding Liren is a three-time Chinese champion and the current world number-three in the classical FIDE rating list. He is known to be one of the most solid players in the circuit; he managed to stay undefeated for 100 games between August 2017 and November 2018.

Recently Ding has been tipped as Magnus Carlsen's potential next challenger. The Chinese player defeated the world champion in a playoff in the 2019 Sinquefield Cup in August, and a month later he qualified for the 2020 Candidates' Tournament by coming second in the FIDE World Cup.

In the round of 16 of this Speed Chess Championship, Ding defeated U.S. grandmaster Sam Shankland. His quarterfinal will probably be tougher.

"We have played many times before and the chance is equal," Ding said. "He plays fast and strong chess."

Ding Liren 2019 Speed Chess Championship
[Read the news report here]

Nov. 19: So vs Vachier-Lagrave

[Read the news report here]

Born in Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines, the 25-year-old Wesley So now lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and has been representing the U.S. since 2014. So is the world number-12 in the FIDE rankings.

Among his early victories are the 2015 Bilbao Masters, the 2016 Grand Chess Tour (including victories at the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic) and the 2017 Tata Steel tournament. He was also part of the Olympic gold-winning team at the 2016 Baku Olympiad.

In the previous round, So defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, a few weeks before winning the FIDE World Fischer Random Championship

About his chances in this match, So said: "Well he's one of the best in the world, right? And he's much higher rated than myself, right? And he plays blitz a lot more than I do, right? It's going to be so much fun."

He also noted MVL's "speed and playing well in chaotic positions."

As he's playing in the Tata Steel Rapid & Blitz tournament in Kolkata soon, So will be playing this match from India. "Late at night, after a large curry dinner," he said.

Wesley So 2019 Speed Chess Championship

Born in Nogent-sur-Marne, the 28-year-old Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is currently the world number-four in the FIDE rankings. Partly thanks to his win at the Paris Rapid & Blitz, the French GM is the number-three in the current Grand Chess Tour standings.

Vachier-Lagrave was the world junior champion in 2009 and is a three-time French champion. He is a winner of the international tournament in Biel (five times!), Dortmund (2016) and the Sinquefield Cup (2017).

MVL is in the quarterfinal thanks to a win against the top junior player in the world, Wei Yi. Like Nepomniachtchi, the French GM is still in contention for a spot in the 2020 Candidates' Tournament and it's also Jerusalem where he needs to perform.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2019 Speed Chess Championship
[Read the news report here]

Nov. 14: Aronian vs. Artemiev

[Read the news report here.]

Born in Yerevan, Armenia, the 37-year-old Aronian is currently the number-seven in the FIDE rankings. As the only player to win two FIDE World Cups, Aronian had a peak rating of 2830 in March 2014. That makes him the fourth-highest-rated player in history.

A three-time Olympic gold winner, Aronian also won the 2008-2010 FIDE Grand Prix; the 2007, 2012 and 2014 Wijk aan Zee tournaments; the 2006 Linares tournament; and the 2018 Gibraltar tournament. He is also the 2009 world rapid champion, the 2010 world blitz champion and the 2006 and 2007 Chess960 world champion.

“Vlad is a very creative and brave player," Aronian said about his young opponent. "He is very versatile and mentally stable. I expect a fierce battle and rate my chances only slightly higher."

The Armenian player said he will play the match from his home in Yerevan "...with my four legged confidant." He was obviously referring to his dog Ponchik, who has its own Twitter account and a (more often used) hashtag:

For preparation, Aronian said he will "look at some openings he recently employed, and predict his possible strategy for the match."

Levon Aronian 2019 Speed Chess Championship

Born in Omsk, Russia, the 21-year-old Artemiev is currently the number-25 in the FIDE rankings. He is one of the rising chess stars in his country.

Artemiev won the 2015 Russian Championship Higher League. In the same year he came in second in the World Juniors and won the Russian blitz championship. In 2018 he cemented his blitz reputation further by winning the European Blitz Championship.

This year he had two big successes in classical chess: He won both the Gibraltar Masters and the European Individual Championship. But getting the title of Russia's Chuck Norris, dubbed by his compatriot Alexander Grischuk in an interview, is arguably his highest achievement so far.

Artemiev said he knows a lot about Aronian: "I started to read about him and look his games when I was a little child. I think he's a universal player and a good, clever and positive person in life. I think that our match will be very interesting and really fighting, and it is not easy to say who will be a winner."

He will play from his home in Kazan, and said about preparing: "I am planning to relax and maybe try to sleep well the night before the match. Maybe I will make some chocolate and drink that during our long match."

Vlad Artemiev 2019 Speed Chess Championship

[Read the news report here.]

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