Blitzcoin Invitational Day 3: Naroditsky, Tang, Wang, Liang In Semifinals
Andrew Tang won his quarterfinals match 27.5-9.5 and will face Naroditsky in the semifinals. Photo: Crystal Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Blitzcoin Invitational Day 3: Naroditsky, Tang, Wang, Liang In Semifinals

| 10 | Chess Event Coverage

On Friday, the third day of the Blitzcoin Invitational tournament, players entered the quarterfinals stage.

As a result, four players were eliminated, as GM Daniel Naroditsky outplayed GM Brandon Jacobson, GM Andrew Tang beat IM Atulya Shetty, IM Justin Wang won his match versus GM Nicolas Checa, and GM Awonder Liang proved to be stronger than IM Andrew Hong.

How to watch?
You can follow the games and live broadcast here: Blitzcoin Invitational.

In the first match of the day, Naroditsky was facing Jacobson. The former won the bullet match 2-0, and the commentators (today FM Peter Giannatos and GM Eric Hansen) were wondering what time control Naroditsky would pick. As Giannatos pointed out, it was interesting that Naroditsky's bullet rating was a bit more than 200 points higher, but Jacobson was currently higher rated in blitz. Hansen suggested that if Naroditsky wanted to win the match, he'd pick bullet, while if he wanted to gain rating, blitz would offer better value because it's difficult to win rating while playing someone considerably lower-rated. Of course, as it was an important competition, the popular streamer went for the 1|0 time control, which would maximize his winning chances.

And, just like in his first match two days ago versus IM Carissa Yip, he started with a bang, as he won seven games in a row. Jacobson managed to score 1.5/2 in the next two games, but that was all he could get. Naroditsky delivered another streak, this time of four wins in a row. Jacobson did score some points here and there, but overall, the outcome of the match was not in question even for a second, and the final result was 34-9 in Naroditsky's favor.

Not only did the top seed win a lot of games, but he also offered a lot of learning opportunities to the viewers that were looking to learn. Here is an example of how he used his lead in development to nicely dismantle the suspicious Modern Defense-type setup chosen by his opponent.

The next match was between Tang and Shetty. Of course, with Tang being 500 points higher rated in bullet, the outcome was reasonably predictable, but this was still shaping to be an exciting battle.

The rating-favorite won the first bullet game after a long flight, and then picked a free rook early on in the second. With a 2-0 score, he was of course picking the time control, and he unsurprisingly went for a bullet match.

As expected, Tang won the first three bullet games, then Shetty scored his first win, making the score 3-1. Shetty lost two more games and won one, then lost two games again and won one once more, resulting in a 7-3 score.  After this series of shots, Tang got a seven-win streak, which more or less sealed the match. 

There were also some very nice miniatures, which are certainly worth seeing.

The final result of 27.5-9.5 won Shetty some bullet rating, but his opponent confidently advanced to the semifinals.

In the third match of the day, Wang was facing Checa. 

As the bullet match started, the higher-rated Checa outplayed the opponent with Black and was two queens(!) up at one point, but then lost on time, guaranteeing Wang at least a tie. Since he was the lower-rated player, he would be the one picking the time control.

It seems like the tendencies and traditions of this tournament dictate that bullet is the only time control to choose. This time, the opponent's online bullet ratings were equal, but still, it was exactly the fastest time control that Wang went for.

His opponent delivered a little comeback to make up for the lost mini-match and was leading 1.5-0.5. However, Wang won three games in a row soon after and took the lead. 

This was a very close match: after ten games, the score was 5.5-4.5 in Wang's favor. Along the way, some very interesting games were played, and the viewers could certainly learn a positional idea or two from them. In the following example, Checa put his passed pawn to good use.

As it normally happens in these matches, at one point one of the players goes on a winning streak. This time, it was Wang who won four games in a row between game 14 and game 17. His opponent did strike back toward the end of the match, but it was already impossible to even the score. Wang advanced to the semifinals after winning the match with a final result of 18-14.

The last match was between Liang and Hong. Yesterday, both won their respective matches in bullet, and their strength was quite comparable: Liang was a hundred or so points higher-rated in bullet.

The favorite won the first bullet game, but Hong equalized the score in the second one. As he was the lower-rated USCF player, he picked the time control. 

Everyone in this event seems interested in bullet only, so again, the viewers were treated to a full hour of 1|0 games. Hong went on to take the lead with 1.5 points after two games, but then his opponent scored three wins in a row. Hong won a game to make the score reasonably close (3.5-2.5 to his opponent's favor) but then Liang won three more in a row, getting a rather comfortable four-point lead.

After a stubborn fight and 16 games, with more than 30 minutes to go, Hong bridged the gap and was trailing by one point only with 7.5 points versus his opponent's 8.5 points.

The math got even more excited, and the roundabout continued: Liang won a nice game, and then... lost a piece to a famous Caro-Kann trap on move five. He was a queen down, but flagged his opponent and secured a three-point advantage with 10.5-7.5.

Let's take a look at the ambitious chess he played during this match.

The next game was an absolute miracle for Hong: his opponent did not see mate in one in the middlegame, and then failed to checkmate while a queen up, as he flagged. 

Toward the end, Liang picked up a few more nice wins and clinched the match with a score of 23-16 to make it to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, Naroditsky will face Tang, while Wang will play against Liang. Many believe that the winner of the former pair will be the winner of the tournament, as Naroditsky and Tang are the highest-rated players. However, Wang and Liang are certainly very dangerous bullet competitors as well, so the fourth day is certainly shaping to be very exciting.

All games of Day 3

Standings after day 3

The prize fund of one Bitcoin is provided by one of Daniel Naroditsky's supporters: Chad Engan, also known as "Montanachess" on Twitch.

The 16 invited elite US Chess members will compete in blitz and bullet matches to see who prevails. The event runs from October 27 through 31.

Earlier reports:

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