Bartholomew Beats Shahade, Reaches IM Not A GM Final

Bartholomew Beats Shahade, Reaches IM Not A GM Final

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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22 | Chess.com News

IM Alina Kashlinksaya will be facing IM John Bartholomew in the IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship‎ final. Bartholomew defeated IM Greg Shahade 15.5-6.5 in a much-anticipated match that saw great banter before and after the games.

The final of the IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship‎ will be played Saturday, May 23 at 10 a.m. Pacific / 19:00 CET with expert commentary on Chess.com/TV.

IM Not a GM Speed Chess Championship bracket

Bartholomew and Shahade provided great entertainment on and off the board, with GMs Robert Hess and Daniel Naroditsky as well as the fans in the chat enjoying themselves tremendously. There had been some banter on Twitter beforehand, and the interview just before the actual match was lengthier than usual.

Asked about his plan against his opponent's pet opening, the Scandinavian, Shahade remarked:

"Actually it's a sad day. I hate to play against the Scandinavian, it's a terrible opening, it's really boring, but still, the fact that after today, I'm gonna beat it so badly that nobody will ever play it again, that's a little sad, to see an opening just erased from chess. I don't know if that's ever happened before, so it's a bittersweet day."

Bartholomew countered: "If Greg is gonna be able to erase the Scandi from the face of the chess map then he deserves to have the opening named after him, or at least the refutation, because that would be a historic achievement."

About preparing in general, Shahade said: "I created a database in Chessbase. All it is: John Bartholomew losses. That's it. So all day I was looking at moves... in my mind, he never even draws a game, he just loses every single game."

Bartholomew: "There were none of our games in there then."

Boom, there you have it: a great prelude for the street fight that was about to take place.

The first game was somewhat exemplary for several others that would follow: Shahade got a good position (in this case, winning, in fact) but failed to win.

After two draws, Bartholomew won two games, and after another draw, he won two more. The score was 5.5-1.5 at the end of the five-minute. After the three-minute segment ended, it had become 10-3 with just one victory for Shahade. The match was more lopsided than expected.

The last three-minute game saw an especially sad end for the loser:

The bullet segment was the closest affair, with Bartholomew winning by a two-point margin. He found a nice checkmate in game 15 of the match:

Bartholomew won $250 outright and $176.14 based on win percentage, so $426.14 in total. Shahade won $73.86 on percentage and combined with the $554.94 in the first two rounds, he earned $628.80 in the competition.

"John played a very good match," he graciously admitted afterward. "You might even say he outplayed me. It was very difficult to solve some of the problems he was setting. He was very good at complications even low on time."

Bartholomew: "It was a great match. Greg is a fantastic practical player. The thing that stands out about him is that he consistently makes good decisions, especially in the opening and the early middle game, knows his prep well, manages his time great. I was able to navigate the games to positions that play to my strength. I got a little sloppy in the bullet, but I'm happy with the match for sure."

All games of the match

The inaugural IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship exclusively features international masters in an effort to bring entertainment to the Chess.com audience. All matches are broadcast live with commentary and occasional roasting from GMs Vidit Gujrathi, Robert Hess and Daniel Naroditsky on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/Chess. 

Matches feature 75 minutes of 5+1 blitz, 45 minutes of 3+1 blitz, and 25 minutes of 1+1 bullet chess. The total prize fund is $6,000. 

The final of the IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship‎ will be played Saturday, May 23 at 10 a.m. Pacific / 19:00 CET with expert commentary on Chess.com/TV.


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