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Jacobson Dispatches Nesterov: 2022 Junior Speed Chess Championship Round Of 16

Jacobson Dispatches Nesterov: 2022 Junior Speed Chess Championship Round Of 16

JackRodgers
| 5 | Chess Event Coverage

The 2022 Junior Speed Chess Championship presented by SIG began today with the first round of 16 match between GMs Brandon Jacobson and Arseniy Nesterov, which the former won after a suspenseful match that ended 14.5-12.5 in favor of the American.

The players were neck and neck with only one point separating them heading into the bullet portion, where the experienced Jacobson was able to ride the momentum and take an unassailable lead.

The second round of 16 match, GM Awonder Liang vs. GM Andrew Hong, begins on Thursday, April 14, at 1 p.m. Pacific / 22:00 Central European.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 Junior Speed Chess Championship presented by SIG on Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube.com/ChesscomLive.
Live broadcast of this weekend's tournament, hosted by GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Robert Hess


The Junior Speed Chess Championship presented by SIG is the second leg of the 2022 Speed Chess Champion where top junior players compete in a series of speed chess matches. Each match consists of a 5+1 blitz segment, a 3+1 blitz segment, and a 1+1 bullet segment, with the player who scores the most points winning the match. If there's a tie, players play a four-game 1+1 match to decide the winner. If the tie persists, an armageddon game with a bidding system decides the winner.


Blitz 5|1: Jacobson-Nesterov 5-4

Twitch viewers had pre-polled Jacobson as the predicted winner in today's match, and in a clinical first game that highlighted the potency of the bishop pair, he looked ready to live up to expectations. Nesterov however, oozed with class in the 5+1 time control and managed to win the second and third games, announcing his intent to play fighting chess. 

The second game saw Jacobson uncharacteristically walk into a mate, a mixture of nerves and low time clearly playing a role in the surprising moment.

Jacobson steadied the ship in the following games and brought the match score back to level after an excellent example of how to play the Queen's Gambit Declined with Black, launching a minor-piece assault in the early middlegame and blowing his opponent off the board.

Jacobson backed this up with another win straight afterward, allowing him to carry a one-game advantage into the second stage. This would prove paramount to his eventual victory in the match.

Blitz 3|1: Jacobson - Nesterov 4.5-4.5

The first game of the 3+1 phase led to one of the most unbelievable conversions of the match.  Jacobson, who appeared to be heading toward a peaceful resolution in a rook-and-three-pawns ending, stunned his opponent by liquidating and taking the opposition.

The sequence forced Nesterov's King back to the first rank and led commentator Naroditsky to label Jacobson's play as "exquisite." The game, described as a "backbreaker and a heartbreaker," also by Naroditsky, would have knocked most players' confidence, but Nesterov remained calm and bounced back in the very next game.

Throughout the entirety of the match, Nesterov put little emphasis on time management and was constantly playing with mere seconds on the clock. Although this did get him into trouble on multiple occasions, the constantly time-poor GM was able to invoke countryman GM Alexander Grishuk, who also has a knack for winning positions with very little time, and Nesterov converted a number of these close calls.

The charismatic player who flirts with low time is pictured here with GM Garry Kasparov. Photo: Maria Emelianov/Chess.com.

Jacobson, who is one of the quickest players on the site, was also forced to speed up during a critical game of the match. With Nesterov's king nestled among three pawns and facing dangerous checkmate threats on hand, Nesterov had to find a great tactic even though he was up a rook.

With equal scores heading into the final game of the 3+1 portion, Jacobson galloped to victory in a sensational time scramble where his knight did the damage. Nesterov seemed to be on the front foot and looked to liquidate and utilize his centralized king, but he was no match for Jacobson's nagging knight and was neutralized on the 75th move, courtesy of a clutch fork. This game would prove instrumental in deciding the match with the bullet phase looming.

Bullet 1|1 Jacobson - Nesterov 5-4

The bullet portion of the match was the stage where Jacobson was able to find the point of difference today. Recently making a name for himself in the 2022 Bullet Chess Championships and administering several blistering streaks in the qualifying stage of this event, gritty bullet chess performance is something we have come to expect from Jacobson.

Despite Nesterov striking first in the second bullet game, it was the American GM who cooked up a string of wins, stretching his overall lead to four games with only 13 minutes left on the match clock.

Nesterov did prove a resilient foe, though, and like earlier in the match, he managed to claw his way back. Time was not on his side yet again and the match clock quickly diminished to the point where he needed to win two games in three minutes to tie things up. 

Gamesmanship and experience came to the fore and Jacobson was able to draw the final game, stamping out any chance of a comeback and winning the tight encounter. The below position is the moment Jacobson was able to liquidate into the match-winning ending.

Jacobson will now progress to the quarterfinal where he will play the winner of the Liang vs. Hong match coming up on Thursday. If Hong wins, we will be treated to an epic rematch of their extraordinary qualifying final

All Games - Round of 16

Junior Speed Chess Championship 2022 Bracket

The 2022 Junior Speed Chess Championship is an online tournament for top junior players. The qualifiers happen March 31-April 8, while the main event runs April 11-May 13. Players battle for a piece of the $35,000 prize fund and a spot in the 2022 Speed Chess Championship.


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