Bartholomew Wins IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship‎

Bartholomew Wins IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship‎

PeterDoggers
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26 | Chess Event Coverage

IM John Bartholomew won the IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship‎ on Saturday, thanks to an 11.5-8.5 victory in the final against IM Alina Kashlinskaya, who had won both the five-minute and bullet segments but lost all games in the three-minute.

IM Not A GM final bracket


Bartholomew had won his first three matches with big margins, but this final is a different story. Kashlinskaya started strong and won the five-minute portion 4.5-2.5.

The small break did wonders for the American IM, who "did a Fischer" in the three-minute segment: 6-0! The margin was suddenly four points in his favor and too much for Kashlinskaya to repair in the bullet, which she won 4-3.

5+1 Segment

The start of the match went very much back and forth with the players trading two wins each and one draw. Then Kashlinskaya struck with two wins in a row. 

Game six is especially interesting, and the speed that she found her last two moves is impressive:

3+1 Segment

We saw a completely different Bartholomew in the next part of the match, as he played with more confidence and started winning game after game. Kashlinskaya couldn't cope with the sudden change of momentum and ended losing all games.

"It was for me mainly a mental shift; I kind of felt like a boxer who was afraid to let their hands fly in the 5+1," said Bartholomew.

"I told myself on break that I just need to start playing natural moves and play my game that I know I'm capable of. I know it's cliche, but sometimes you just literally have to tell yourself that."

Bartholomew also used the first break to check the theory in the Slav Defense ("a file I created 15 years ago"), and straight after he played it, Kashlinskaya blundered an exchange:

"When I had that first win under my belt in the 3+1, I felt things could potentially fall into place for me," said Bartholomew.

It was a phase when even when Kashlinskaya got chances, she ended losing anyway. "I just couldn't stop losing," she said. "I felt that everything was going wrong at this point. I should have calmed down probably if I had just a couple of seconds, minutes."

Here's game 12, one that probably neither player would like to see again, but this reporter is ruthless in that respect!

1+1 Segment

The score was 8.5-4.5 in favor of Bartholomew when the bullet started. Even though Kashlinskaya is a much better bullet player than she knew herself before this competition, making up four points proved too much to ask.

Here are two crazy moments. The first is memorable for the lack of reaction on Bartholomew's face when he blundered a mate in one—the person who clipped the moment nicknamed him John "Bot"olomew.

In the next, the penultimate in the match, Kashlinskaya seemed close to checkmating her opponent before she returned the favor:

Bartholomew won $500 outright and $287.50 based on win percentage, so $787.50 together. He won $1,813.80 in the competition in total. Kashlinskaya won $212.50 on percentage and a total of $1,199.85 in the competition.

"Thank you to Alina for a very hard-fought match. I definitely knew this was not gonna be an easy match," said Bartholomew. "Thanks to Chess.com as well for hosting this event, I had a lot of fun, and I think the Twitch viewers enjoyed it, the YouTube viewers as well."

Kashlinskaya: "First of all, congratulations to John. Probably I had to be more careful because I read in the interview that John feels the most comfortable in this time control: 3+1!"

John Bartholomew IM Not A GM

Bartholomew: "It's very tough in these matches when a win for you is a direct loss for your opponent and vice versa. When the wins start stacking one direction or the other, we've seen the momentum shift so fast and sometimes not come back. I feel like that's just what happened. Had she won a game or two in the 3+1... I was minus one, I think, in the bullet. It was really just that, one time control."

All games of the match

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

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


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