Chess Prodigy Firouzja Faces Martinez In Junior Speed Chess Tuesday

Chess Prodigy Firouzja Faces Martinez In Junior Speed Chess Tuesday

| 13 | News

After the thrilling season opener Van Foreest-Tari, the Junior Speed Chess Championship continues on Tuesday with the Iranian rising star Alireza Firouzja playing the Peruvian talent José Martinez.

You can watch Firouzja-Martinez on Tuesday, May 21 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST) with commentary by GM Eric Hansen and IM Danny Rensch on and

jscc bracket

After winning his first Iranian championship at the age of 12 and becoming a grandmaster at 14, the now 15-year-old Firouzja (@Firouzja2003) is quickly becoming a household name in the international chess world.

Firouzja is beginning to deliver achievements equal to elite player strength, such as a sixth place at the World Rapid Championship in December 2018 in St. Petersburg, a tie for first place at both the Sharjah Masters and the Reykjavik Open this year and winning the 2019 European Fischer Random Championship

Firouzja also plays frequently on, where has proven to be one of the strongest bullet players in the world. He became the first player on our site ever to break a bullet rating of 3300 before he was eliminated from the Bullet Chess Championship by Hikaru Nakamura last month.

Alireza Firouzja Junior Speed Chess Championship

Less well-known is Firouzja's opponent, whose full name is Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantara (@Jospem). Two years ago, the now 20-year-old Peruvian GM won the U18 world championship in Montevideo, Uruguay. This result was also Martinez's third and final grandmaster norm. In 2018 he won the fourth Open Internacional RGCC in Gijon, Spain.

Like the siblings Jorge and Deysi Cori, Martinez has profited from a healthy chess scene in his country, where Julio Granda Zuniga has strongly put the game on the map, starting from the mid-1990s. Playing less chess these days, Granda is now supporting the game on behalf of FIDE.

Julio Grand Zuniga
Julio Granda Zuniga. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Although they've never faced each other over the board, Firouzja and Martinez have played 63 games on since May 5, 2018. In what has been a mix of blitz, bullet and 30-second games, the Iranian player has a big lead: +43 =14 -6.

Asked about this, Firouzja couldn't deny that he is the heavy favorite for their Speed Chess battle: "Obviously I have the edge," he said.

Martinez could only agree, and went even further: "I consider my opponent one of the favorites, not only because of his strength of play in any form, but because of the great experience he has at fast paces as well as on the platform," said Martinez. 

Jose Martinez Junior Speed Chess Championship

Their most recent encounter was on April 3, in one of the Bullet Championship qualifiers. After falling for a well-known positional trick, Martinez committed a pretty serious mouse slip:

Martinez is taking the match seriously: "I will not have such a special preparation for this match; however, I am preparing well the repertoire that I will use to not look bad, since in some games I usually play at a very low level and I do not want to repeat it. Also, I'm almost every day playing a bit on at 3|0 or 3|2, to get used to the format," he said.

Here's a better effort from Martinez: a win in a three-minute game played last November where the players got involved in a trendy sideline of the Sicilian:

"The greatest strength of his game is his great knowledge of many positions and his concrete calculation," said Martinez. "This way he can easily make decisions in the shortest time. And in the fastest time controls he is strong when there is little time on the clock, when he knows how to use 'premove' and is able to 'dizzy' the opponent in question by giving respective checks with which he always ends up taking the initiative of time," he said. 

The prize fund for the first-round matches is $800 each. The winner earns $400 and advances to round two, while the other $400 is split by win percentage.

The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. All JSCC matches are broadcast live with chess-master commentary on and

Here's the full schedule of the round of 16:

  • Van Foreest vs. Tari: May 16 (14.5-13.5, see news report)
  • Firouzja vs. Martinez Alcantara: May 21 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Wei Yi vs. Praggnanandhaa: May 31 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Sevian vs. Sarin: June 3 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Maghsoodloo vs. Moroni: June 5 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Sarana vs. Esipenko: June 11 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Xiong vs. Smirnov: June 14 at 5 p.m. Pacific (June 15, 02:00 a.m. CEST)
  • Gledura vs. Liang: June 18 at 10 a.m. Pacific (19:00 CEST)

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