Firouzja, Nakamura, Naroditsky, Tang In Semis 2021 Bullet Chess Championship Presented By SIG

Firouzja, Nakamura, Naroditsky, Tang In Semis 2021 Bullet Chess Championship Presented By SIG

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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29 | Chess Event Coverage

The semifinals of the 2021 Bullet Chess Championship Presented By SIG on Wednesday will see the matches GM Hikaru Nakamura vs. GM Alireza Firouzja and GM Andrew Tang vs. GM Daniel Naroditsky. The action starts on April 7 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv.

Top seed Nakamura eliminated GM Arjun Erigaisi 13-3, but two other quarterfinals were very close: Firouzja beat GM Vladislav Artemiev but only in overtime (9-8), and Tang beat GM Nihal Sarin 8.5-7.5. Naroditsky advanced without playing because GM Eric Hansen had to withdraw at the last moment.

The live broadcast of Tuesday's matches.

These are the matches scheduled for Wednesday with pairing numbers:

  • Tang (3) vs. Naroditsky (2) at 9:00 a.m. Pacific (18:00 Central Europe)
  • Nakamura (1) vs. Firouzja (4) at 9:40 a.m. Pacific (18:40 Central Europe)
  • FINAL at 10:20 a.m. Pacific (19:20 Central Europe)

2021 Chess.com Bullet Championship results

Nihal-Tang

The first match of the quarterfinals saw a Hollywood'esque scenario with not one but two comebacks by Tang. The 21-year-old American was down 5-1 before he finally got into the match. Scoring 5-2 and 5-3 still before the 15-minute half-time point and then 5-4 after the break, he was down 4-7 two games later.

Tang then won four games in a row to take the lead for the first time. With a draw in the final game, with Nihal allowing a move repetition where he had to win on demand, Tang snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. "I knew I won the match after that draw; I don't think Nihal did, so that was lucky for me maybe," he said.

Tang explained that he was struggling in the opening early in the match: "That was pretty terrible, to say the least. I kind of realized I was just getting beaten out of the opening, so I felt like I wasn't exactly totally just getting outplayed, but I needed to switch things up. I stopped playing that line of the London; I think things got a lot better right away. I think openings can actually be quite important in matches like these, even when it's bullet."

Nakamura-Erigaisi

This match did not change the notion that Nakamura, the oldest player in this field, is the heavy favorite to win the championship. On the contrary, the American speed demon set the biggest score of the day and won with an impressive 10-game margin.

"Getting off to a good start is really critical," Nakamura said. "Sometimes you can overcome it like we saw in the previous match, but that's where the nerves are."

Firouzja-Artemiev

The Firouzja vs. Artemiev match was expected to be the closest and it was. It was the Russian player who was leading from the start, but Firouzja leveled the score to 4-4 just before halftime. 

Artemiev took the lead after the break but Firouzja tied the score, and this was repeated one more time before Artemiev won two games in a row and made 8-6. With a minute and 26 seconds left on the match clock, the Iranian GM basically had to "premove the whole game" as commentator GM Aman Hambleton put it.

Although Firouzja played a fine game and reached a completely winning position, that shouldn't have been enough. With nine seconds left on the match clock, Artemiev made the Blunder of the Day, which was... resigning. He could have just let his own clock run down (having 18.5 seconds left!) to clinch the match.

Instead, Firouzja was given the chance to play another must-win game, and he won that too and then the playoff as well. "Being nice is not going to win you the Bullet Chess Championship," said commentator GM Robert Hess.

Also in Wednesday's semifinals and final, the format is 30 minutes of 1|0 games with a break at the 15-minute mark. In the event of a tie, the players enter sudden death. The higher seed gets White first, and players alternate colors until someone wins.

The action starts on April 7 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv.

The 2021 Bullet Chess Championship is presented by Susquehanna International Group, LLP (SIG). SIG is a global quantitative trading firm founded with a growth mindset and an analytical approach to decision-making. As one of the largest proprietary trading firms in the world, SIG benefits the financial markets by providing liquidity and ensuring competitive prices for buyers and sellers. SIG brings together the brightest minds, the best technology, and an expansive library of industry data to design and implement qualitative trading strategies that make it leaders in the financial markets. Beyond trading, SIG is active in global private equity, structured capital, and institutional brokerage.


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