Carlsen-Nakamura Championship Set For October 27
You can't afford to miss it, so mark your calendar right now. The GM Blitz Battle final between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura will be October 27 at 10 a.m. Pacific or 7 p.m. Central European Time. Watch it at Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.
It's the match everyone has been waiting for, and it's coming soon. The dream finale of Chess.com's inaugural Grandmaster Blitz Battle Championship, featuring the two best speed chess players on the planet, is scheduled for October 27.
The contestants are World Champion Magnus Carlsen and bullet demon Hikaru Nakamura. The match is the final stage of Chess.com's Blitz Battles.
It's gonna be epic.
Nakamura's road to the final started with a win against Pentala Harikrishna on May 4. The Indian number-two has developed into a super-grandmaster and is currently the world number 11 in the live ratings.
"Hari," as he is fondly called, put up an excellent fight in the five- and three-minute games, where he was only one game down. However, in the bullet section Nakamura pulled away, achieving a final score of 16-9.
On August 24, Nakamura then eliminated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who surprisingly held his own in not only the five-minute portion, but also the bullet. Here it was the three-minute games where the American grandmaster won by a huge score. The final numbers were 21.5-10.5.
As the top seed in the Blitz Battles, Magnus Carlsen was paired against the lowest seed. That was Armenian grandmaster and blitz specialist Tigran Petrosian, who won the qualifying tournament that got him into this prestigious tournament.
So, how did the world champ score against a grandmaster who managed to stay ahead of the likes of Wesley So, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dmitry Andreikin, and Baadur Jobava? Well, it was hardly a real fight. Carlsen made a big impression on the 23rd of June by out-classing the Armenian GM 21-4.
His next opponent was expected to put up stronger resistance. As the reigning world blitz champion, Alexander Grischuk was, on paper, one of the hardest opponents on the planet for Carlsen. Despite losing the first two games in the match on August 23, the Norwegian eventually won 16-8 after an especially strong bullet section.
That makes the upcoming final match even more interesting. Nakamura is known as the world's biggest bullet specialist, but also in that portion, Carlsen might not play too shabbily.
Nakamura is entering this match with some extra confidence. He finally managed to beat Carlsen in a classical game at the recent Bilbao Chess Masters Final. However, classical is classical. In over-the-board blitz, with games mostly played at world blitz championships and the opening days of super tournaments, Carlsen leads 10.5-6.5.
On November 18, 2010, Carlsen and Nakamura played a secret blitz match in their hotel in Moscow, the night after both had participated in the World Blitz Championship. They battled it out over no less than 40 games in the presence of only a few lucky insiders, including yours truly. Carlsen won 24.5-15.5. Here's a video of game 38, recorded by Macauley Peterson.
A year before, in 2009 in Oslo, Nakamura had beaten Carlsen 3-1 in the final of the BNBank Blitz tournament. In the last six years they might have crossed swords a few times online using anonymous accounts, but the Blitz Battle on October 27 will be the first public match between Carlsen and Nakamura since. It's safe to say that their battle is going to be the biggest online chess event of all time.
Can't get enough of the event hype? Check out the updated promotional video below.