Carlsen, Nakamura Top Elite Speed Chess Championship Field

Carlsen, Nakamura Top Elite Speed Chess Championship Field

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141 | Chess.com News

Palo Alto, Calif., October 20, 2020—World Chess Champion GM Magnus Carlsen will play in the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event, the world's most prestigious online speed chess tournament with a $100,000 prize fund. Carlsen's top rival in the event will be the reigning Speed Chess Champion and current number one in the FIDE blitz rankings, GM Hikaru Nakamura.

Carlsen and Nakamura will be joined by 14 of their highest-ranked peers, including the world number three and four in blitz, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and GM Wesley So, as well as the previous world chess championship challenger, GM Fabiano Caruana. Speed chess fans will also be thrilled to see 17-year-old GM Alireza Firouzja compete. The talented Iranian defeated Carlsen in the Banter Blitz Cup Final earlier this year, and only days ago, he finished second in Norway Chess to Carlsen.

The Speed Chess Championship Main Event begins November 1, 2020 and will culminate in the Champions Weekend in December with the semifinals on December 11 and 12 and the final on December 13. The full schedule with match dates and results will be available at speedchesschampionship.com as dates are confirmed. Fans will be able to follow the action live on Chess.com/tv with expert commentary.

Magnus Carlsen, reigning world chess champion. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Magnus Carlsen, reigning world chess champion. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen previously won the 2017 Speed Chess Championship in a final against Nakamura. In 2016, Carlsen also won the Grandmaster Blitz Battle final against the American player. Nakamura convincingly won both the 2018 and 2019 Speed Chess Championships, but Carlsen did not compete in those years.

In 2020, the rivalry between Carlsen and Nakamura intensified as each won dramatic match victories against the other in the Magnus Carlsen Tour, won by Carlsen in a finale against Nakamura that was decided only in the final armageddon game.

Another Carlsen-Nakamura final is indeed possible as these favorites will be on opposing sides of the Speed Chess Championship bracket. Nakamura holds the number-one seed, and Carlsen holds the number-two seed as determined by the October 2020 FIDE blitz ratings.

The 2020 Speed Chess Championship follows Chess.com's classic format: three-hour matches consisting of 90 minutes of 5+1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3+1 blitz, and 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet chess.

More than 1.2 million people have watched the 2017 Speed Chess Championship final match between Carlsen and Nakamura on YouTube.

In addition to the aforementioned names of Carlsen, Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave, So, Caruana and Firouzja, the field includes invitees GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi, Anish Giri, and Levon Aronian.

The 16-year-old Indian prodigy GM Nihal Sarin qualified as the winner of the Junior Speed Chess Championship, and the Speed Chess Grand Prix, a 20-week qualification series held over the summer, qualified four more players: GMs Vladislav Artemiev, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Parham Maghsoodloo, and Haik Martirosyan.

GM Vladimir Fedoseev qualified as the runner-up in the Super Swiss, a single-elimination tournament held October 3-4, 2020. The Russian grandmaster finished second in that event to Nakamura who was already directly seeded into the Main Event as the reigning champion.

2020 Speed Chess Championship prize fund

The 16th participant will be the winner of the Speed Chess Championship Invitational, a 16-player knockout tournament from which the winner will qualify. It will be held Sunday, October 25, 2020 and has an $8,000 prize fund.

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