Nihal Overcomes Giri's Bullet Comeback In SCC Thriller

Nihal Overcomes Giri's Bullet Comeback In SCC Thriller

| 25 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Nihal Sarin edged out GM Anish Giri in a tiebreak playoff in the 2022 Speed Chess Championship on Wednesday. The two tenacious grandmasters created one brilliancy after another as they grappled for a spot in the quarterfinals.

GMs Wesley So and Nodirbek Abdusattorov face off in the next round of 16 match on December 8 at 6 a.m. PT / 17:00 CET.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 Speed Chess Championship on You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on The games can also be followed from our Events Page. Live broadcast of the match, hosted by GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Jeffery Xiong.

Blitz 5|1: Nihal-Giri 5.5-3.5

Giri took the early lead, winning two games in a row, including a vicious attacking game where he shocked the commentators twice with unexpected sacrifices. First, Naroditsky calls Giri "Anish Tal" after the speculative 14.g4!?

Later, Giri's 25.Bf6!! tore Nihal's kingside to shreds. 

In game four, Giri leaped past Nihal's defenses with back-to-back intermezzo tactics. Can you find them?

Nihal soon turned the tables, however, frequently countering with his patented exceptional resourcefulness in time scrambles. 

Nihal went on to win four out of the last five games to seize the lead, including a marvelous attacking victory in game six. This is our Game of the Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao

GM Rafael Leitao GotD

Blitz 3|1: Nihal-Giri 4.5-3.5

After a draw in the first game, Nihal further increased his lead with a smooth endgame win in game two.

In game five, Giri struck back with energetic play in the center and a clean time scramble finish.

Still, Nihal continued to stretch his lead. The last game of the 3+1 was a heartbreaking draw for Giri, who won a piece in the middlegame, carefully prepared a kingside attack supported by a queenside decoy, and then overlooked the winning finish in the time scramble.

Despite incredible play by Giri in many games, Nihal's tactical awareness and skill in the final seconds of the game gave him a three-point lead heading into the bullet segment―the part of the match where the Indian prodigy is most favored. 

Could the former world number three launch a comeback in the fastest time control?

Bullet 1|1: Nihal-Giri 2.5-5.5

In the bullet segment, Giri showed us to never underestimate a top player's ability to bounce back―no matter the circumstances. A brand new Giri emerged, winning four games straight to take over the lead. Leaving the earlier games behind, Giri confidently converted his advantages even as his clock raced away, including a merciless king attack in game three.

In game five, Nihal finally halted Giri's winning streak with a rook sacrifice to force a perpetual check in the nick of time. 

With Nihal down a point, the match clock ticked zero, leaving him in a must-win position in the endgame of the final game. He came through, finding clarity in the complicated rook and pawn ending.

This spurred a playoff between two players absolutely determined to prevail. Giri won the first of the four tiebreaker bullet games in dynamic style. 

Nihal countered by winning the next two. This reversed the roles and now placed Giri in the must-win position, leading to an electrifying finale. 

Nihal won $3,034.48 while Giri earned $965.52 for his efforts. Nihal will face world championship challenger, GM Ding Liren, in the quarterfinals.

Final Score

Player Flag 5+1 3+1 1+1 Tiebreak Total
Nihal Sarin 5.5 4.5 2.5 2.5 15
Anish Giri 3.5 3.5 5.5 1.5 14

All Games - Round of 16

Speed Chess Championship 2022 Bracket

The 2022 Speed Chess Championships Main Event started on November 23 and will conclude on December 16. Top speed-chess players are competing at three different time controls in a 16-player knockout as they vie for a share of the $100,000 prize fund along with the most prestigious title in online chess.

The likes of GMs Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, and many more battle it out to determine the 2022 speed chess champion.

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