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Tang Overthrows Naroditsky In Grand Final Reset To Win 1st Hyperbullet Championship

Tang Overthrows Naroditsky In Grand Final Reset To Win 1st Hyperbullet Championship

AnthonyLevin
| 30 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Andrew Tang won the inaugural 2024 Hyperbullet Chess Championship, the first event of the Chess.com Community Championships, on Friday. After losing a close match against GM Daniel Naroditsky in the first round, he climbed through the Losers Bracket and then defeated Naroditsky twice to claim Chess.com's new hyperbullet title.

Final Bracket


Chess.com Community Championships: Format & Players

The Chess.com Community Championships are a new initiative that tests players of all levels in time controls, formats, and variants that are less commonly seen. Throughout this summer, and in every month for the rest of the year, we will see events ranging from the Spell Chess Championship to the Duck Chess Championship and even the Seirawan Chess Championship. You can find more information and the schedule here, and of course, you too can participate in the qualifiers.

But in this article, we're only going to discuss hyperbullet chess, where each side gets only 30 seconds for the entire game. On Thursday, eight players fought through the qualifiers to enter a double-elimination knockout and decide a single champion. Each of the eight players qualified on the previous day, which saw 30-minute arenas where the highest-scorer won.

8 Qualified Players

The match format is similar to the Bullet Chess Championship, where the players compete in one-on-one matches with a 20-minute timer. After 20 minutes, a player needs to have a lead of two points or more to win the match.

Tang & Naroditsky Dominate Tournament En Route To Grand Final

Naroditsky and Tang stood out most in the field and were the only two players to boast streaks of 10+ wins against opponents. They played each other three times in total, and Naroditsky won their first, narrow encounter. 

From the very beginning, Naroditsky was just a little faster than his speedy opponent; achieving a five-second advantage, as he did in the first two games, was more important than the positions on the board.

In one of the games, Tang showed stunning creativity with the rook sacrifice 11.Rxg6!?, played so quickly that it almost looked like a pre-move. Though Tang was winning the entire game, Naroditsky managed to win on time later.

It was the longest match of the day, as it took Naroditsky 26 games to finally achieve a two-point lead, long after the match clock had expired. Tang later said the first loss was "definitely a bit frustrating... [but] I thought I had pretty good chances to force the rematch."

I thought I had pretty good chances to force the rematch.

—Andrew Tang

His first victim was Hansen, whom he devoured with a 15-4 final score. It ought to be mentioned that Hansen managed to evade 10 losses in a row once he finally scored his first point in game nine.

Meanwhile, Naroditsky dispatched Bortnyk 13.5-7.5 before putting up a disgusting 17-4 victory against Martinez in the Winners Final. His fifth win was a display of mouse-mastery, and on the final move he left his queen hanging to, perhaps, rub it in a little.

At this point, it looked like smooth sailing for an invincible Naroditsky, who needed to win just one match against whoever came from the Losers Final. But Tang resurfaced from the bottom of the ocean to defy the odds.

In the Losers Bracket, Tang defeated Sevian, the highest-rated classical player in the field, 12-7, before then eliminating Bortnyk in a close match 11.5-9.5. Bortnyk nearly climbed back in an insane game where both sides attacked simultaneously at supersonic pace, but Tang shut it down.

Tang then defeated Martinez with an unsightly 18.5-3.5 score, racking up 14 wins in a row along the way. With this victory, Tang set the stage for an epic Grand Final.

Grand Final & Reset: Tang Zips Through

While Naroditsky had about an hour-long break after winning the Winners Final, Tang said the fact that he had no break helped him: "It was definitely helping me that I was still in the zone. I think that gave me a little bit of an advantage, at least in the first match."

It was definitely helping me that I was still in the zone.

—Andrew Tang

Tang lost the first game, but his bounce-back in game two was sweet. Can you find the forced checkmate he played? White to move.

Naroditsky fought valiantly and saved two dead-lost positions in a row in games 16 and 17. In the first, he was facing checkmate in one move when his opponent's time expired, and he survived the second with a cunning stalemate.

After gaining a two-point lead in the end, Tang navigated through a flurry of pre-moves and lightning-fast decisions to find a pretty perpetual check that won the first match.

While Tang seized the first Grand Final with a 13-9 score, the second match was even closer; the final score of that one was 12-10, the smallest margin for victory. The most impressive game of all three matches they played was the final one, which Tang won with a smothered checkmate on the board.

Tang receives the $600 first prize while Naroditsky earns $350. Overall, there were 284 decisive games and 28 draws. 115 of them were decided on time, while almost all the rest ended in checkmate or resignation. Surprisingly, only three games ended in stalemate. 

The Bullet Chess Championship is just around the corner; it begins on June 10 and both the finalists will participate. Tang knows it will be more challenging, but he also believes in his chances: "That's gonna be much tougher for sure. I think Hikaru and Magnus are pretty clear favorites, but I think I have chances to take matches off of them." 

I think Hikaru and Magnus are pretty clear favorites, but I think I have chances to take matches off of them.

—Andrew Tang

How to review? You can watch the Hyperbullet Chess Championship on the Chess.com Community YouTube and Twitch channels. The games can also be followed from our events page.

The live broadcast was hosted by WIM Ayelen Martinez and NM Jeremy Kane.

The Chess.com Hyperbullet Championship is the first event of the Chess.com Community Championships series. The qualifiers took place on May 30, while the main event was on May 31. Eight qualifiers lead to an eight-player double-elimination knockout. Matches consist of a 20-minute countdown clock format, with 30 seconds for each side for the entire game. The prize fund is $2,000.


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    AnthonyLevin
    NM Anthony Levin

    NM Anthony Levin caught the chess bug at the "late" age of 18 and never turned back. He earned his national master title in 2021, actually the night before his first day of work at Chess.com.

    Anthony, who also earned his Master's in teaching English in 2018, taught English and chess in New York schools for five years and strives to make chess content accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages. At Chess.com, he writes news articles and manages social media for chess24.

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