Bullet Chess Championship Round Of 16: Tang Defeats Caruana In Thrilling Tiebreak

Bullet Chess Championship Round Of 16: Tang Defeats Caruana In Thrilling Tiebreak

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The 2022 Bullet Chess Championship presented by DigitalOcean kicked off with excellent performances by traditional bullet favorites such as GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Daniel Naroditsky, who both convincingly won matches they were heavily favored in, but there were also many match surprises. The biggest surprise was the barnburner of a match between GMs Fabiano Caruana and Andrew Tang.

While no one would consider the third-highest rated player in chess history a slouch in any format, Caruana is not known for his mouse speed while Tang certainly is. However, Caruana followed up on his successes in the Rapid Chess Championship with two consecutive victories by taking the fight to Tang who only overcame him in tiebreaks with consecutive must-win victories.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 Bullet Chess Championship presented by DigitalOcean on You can also enjoy the show on the Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on
Live broadcast of this weekend's tournament, hosted by GMs Daniel Naroditsky, Benjamin Bok, WIM Anna-Maja Kazarian, and NM James Canty.

The 2022 Bullet Chess Championship presented by Digital Ocean is a double-elimination bracket knockout held by and featuring $100,000 in prizes. All games are 1+0, and matches are 30 minutes long with a break at the 15-minute mark. In the event of a tie, players continue to play, alternating colors, until a player wins a game.

Selected Matches

Tang vs. Caruana: 10-9

Tang is known to be one of the fastest chess players in the world, maybe the fastest player. His mouse speed is absolutely legendary, and probably no player is more dangerous with fewer than 10 seconds on their clock. Meanwhile Caruana proved in the last year in the Speed Chess Championship and Rapid Chess Championship that he has become a real force in online speed chess.

In many ways, the match went according to script. Caruana consistently got good positions early in the game, and he gained a lead on the clock in most games. His speed in the opening and middlegame was really impressive. It was only late in the game that Caruana struggled as Tang consistently outplayed him when both were in terrible time trouble. Here is one nasty drawn endgame where Tang pulled out the win.

In the final phase of the match, Caruana held a one-game lead against Tang who had to win the final game to take the match to overtime. In a complex middlegame, Tang kept his king in the center and built massive pressure on the queenside to pull out a fine and surprising win with the black pieces.

Thus, Tang took the match to tiebreaks, the only round of 16 matches to go to tiebreaks. With alternating colors, Tang got the advantage of White in the tiebreak, and he secured an edge and pressed it home. Though Caruana lost in this opening match, his performance must surely position him as a favorite in the losers' bracket with a real shot of winning his way back to the Grand Final.

Bortnyk vs. Sadhwani: 7.5-8.5

In a match that would prove to be one of the rare upsets in the round of 16, GM Olexandr Bortnyk started well with an incredible display of premoves and mouse speed to overcome a four-second to two-second deficit.

Perhaps Bortnyk became overconfident in his mouse speed thereafter as he allowed himself to get a bit too far behind on the clock in other games, and he wasn't always able to emerge from such straits.

Everything came down to the final game with both players sitting on 7.5. As the clock ran out, Bortnyk transitioned to a pawn endgame that was objectively drawn, but practically speaking, it was impossible to defend precisely in bullet, and GM Raunak Sadhwani converted the endgame after a slip. Bortnyk was visibly discomfited by the loss while Sadhwani pumped the air with enthusiasm.

Perez Ponsa vs. Jacobson: 8.5-9.5

In position to take a three-game lead with minutes to go, GM Brandon Jacobson nearly blew what was shaping up to be a convincing match victory against GM Federico Perez Ponsa when he blundered into an incredible checkmate in one. The loss was so surprising that Canty commented on the confusion: "[Chat] still thinks Brandon won."

After another Perez Ponsa victory, the match was tied again with only enough time for one more game. Having suffered such a reversal, many players might have crumbled, but Jacobson pulled things together, converting a strong passed c-pawn and claiming the necessary victory.

After the match, both players looked completely depleted by the tension and dramatic turns in the final games.

If your favorite player suffered a first-round loss in this year's Bullet Chess Championship, don't worry! For the first time, the BCC is a double-elimination tournament. Those defeated in the winners' bracket will still have a chance to win out in the losers' bracket and make their way back to the Grand Finals. In total, the BCC will feature 30 matches. With eight down, there's a lot of bullet chess still to be played, and the stakes are only increasing.

The most convincing win in the round of 16 matches was achieved by Naroditsky against the new 18-year-old India champion, GM Arjun Erigaisi. The runner-up was Nakamura's confident victory against GM Alexey Sarana. Also impressive in round one were GM Ray Robson and GM Jose Martinez who both managed to more than double their opponents' scores. The full bracket is below, and as we advance to the quarterfinals, there don't look to be any easy matches.

2022 Bullet Chess Championship Bracket

Previous coverage

NM Sam Copeland

I'm the VP of Chess and Community for I earned the National Master title in 2012, and in 2014, I returned to my home state of South Carolina to start Strategery: Chess and Games. In late 2014, I began working for and haven't looked back since.

You can find my personal content on Twitch , Twitter , and YouTube where I further indulge my love of chess.

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