Speed Chess Preview: Carlsen vs. Maghsoodloo

Speed Chess Preview: Carlsen vs. Maghsoodloo

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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75 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) returns to Chess.com today for his round of 16 match with GM Parham Maghsoodloo (@Parhamov) in the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event. The match starts on Monday, November 2, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe.

How to watch?
The games of the Speed Chess Championship Main Event will be played on the Chess.com live server. They will also be available on our platform for watching live at Chess.com/events and on our apps under "Watch." Expert commentary can be enjoyed at Chess.com/tv.


For the first time since the 2018 PRO Chess League, Carlsen will be involved again in an official event on Chess.com. He joined the bracket as the second seed (behind GM Hikaru Nakamura) based on the FIDE October blitz ratings but will be considered as the top favorite by most fans.

Carlsen defeated Nakamura in the finals of the 2016 GM Blitz Battle and the 2017 Speed Chess Championship, but there are signs that this year things could be very close. In the final of the Magnus Carlsen Tour this summer, Nakamura was leading 3-2 but eventually lost 4-3 as he went down in the armageddon of the playoff.

Carlsen first needs to fight himself through his half of the bracket and finds Maghsoodloo as the first hurdle. The two have never played an official game before.

While Carlsen has acknowledged that his opponent is "very good at maneuvering" and "has a keen tactical eye," he is confident about his chances to win: "I shall be victorious."

Asked whether he will do some preparation, the world champion replied: "I am prepared."

Magnus Carlsen 2020 Speed Chess
Maghsoodloo entered the Speed Chess Main event as one of the qualifiers from the Speed Chess Grand Prix. He is the world number 140 on the FIDE blitz rating list.

The Iranian grandmaster is from Gorgan, a city 400 km (250 mi) northeast of Tehran and close to the Caspian Sea. Parham became an IM and a GM in the same year, 2016.

He is a two-time Iranian champion and first made a name as a member of the young Iranian team that surprised the world by finishing in shared 11th place in the 2016 Chess Olympiad. Maghsoodloo won the 2018 World Junior Championship with a round to spare that earned him an invitation to the 2019 Tata Steel Challengers in Wijk aan Zee.

Apart from his chess achievements, Maghsoodloo has a few fun characteristics. For example, he likes to play in a sleeveless jacket and calls it his lucky jacket. During his Junior Speed Chess match vs. Praggnanandhaa R., Maghsoodloo was rapping Iranian rap songs and later explained that singing helps him concentrate during online play.

Maghsoodloo said that his opponent has "the best technique in the world." To adjust for that, the Iranian added: "I really want to avoid any technical endgames or anything like that."

Parham Maghsoodloo 2020 Speed Chess

Both players said that the 1+1 games could be decisive in this match. Maghsoodloo: "I think bullet is the most important because it shows stamina and power together, and after two hours of difficult blitz games it will be time for me to shine."

Maghsoodloo is remarkably optimistic about his chances (and maybe that's the right attitude): "I think if I play in my best shape, it will be a 50-50 match."

Maghsoodloo's hope to get a 50-50 match does not align with the predictions by @SmarterChess, who only gives the Iranian player a five percent chance. Interestingly, the biggest margin is expected in the bullet phase.


The match between Carlsen and Maghsoodloo is the second in the championship. Earlier, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (@Lyonbeast) defeated Nihal Sarin (@NihalSarin).

Here's the remaining schedule for the round of 16:

  • November 2, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Carlsen-Maghsoodloo
  • November 4, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Firouzja-Fedoseev
  • November 8, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: So-Abdusattorov
  • November 11, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Nepomniachtchi-Aronian
  • November 12, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Nakamura-Martirosyan
  • November 15, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Caruana-Duda
  • November 16, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Giri-Artemiev

2020 speed chess bracket
The 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event is a knockout tournament among 16 of the best grandmasters in the world who will play for a $100,000 prize fund, double the amount of last year. The tournament will run November 1-December 13, 2020 on Chess.com. Each individual match will feature 90 minutes of 5+1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3+1 blitz, and 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet chess.

Find all information about the Speed Chess Championship here.

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