Duda Upsets Grischuk In Epic Speed Chess Match
Duda shocked the Speed Chess world again with an upset win on Tuesday.

Duda Upsets Grischuk In Epic Speed Chess Match

| 62 | Chess Event Coverage

Eliminating another Russian top grandmaster, Jan-Krzystof Duda became the first player to advance to the semifinals of the Speed Chess Championship. The Polish player defeated Alexander Grischuk in a truly epic match on Tuesday.

The next Speed Chess match, between Levon Aronian and Anish Giri, is on with commentary on and Don't miss it!

Duda's win against Sergey Karjakin was a huge upset, and to kick out another former world blitz champion of Russia is extremely impressive. The 20-year-old Polish grandmaster is quickly becoming a fan favorite, not just because of his results, but also because of his style. Yet again, hardly any draws were played yesterday. (Although, for that, it takes two to tango!).

nullAgainst the odds! 

In the first game, Duda (@Polish_fighter3000) allowed the Keres Attack against the Scheveningen Sicilian, which is considered to be nice for White. And indeed, Grischuk (@Grischuk) was better out of the opening, and losing two tempi with 20...Bf6 didn't exactly help Duda either.

Duda mixed up a move order and lost the second game as well; this time he was flagged. It started to look tricky for the Polish fighter when he was worse in game three in another Keres Attack. By that time, GM Gata Kamsky noted in the ChessTV chat that it's suicide to play the Sicilian vs Grischuk!

However, this time Grischuk failed to deliver the knockout blow, Duda came back and won. As's Mike Klein noted, Duda hadn't won a game with Black against Karjakin until game 17.


After losing game four as well, Duda switched to the Petroff—as if he had heard Kamsky. That went pretty well, and he played a good game until he suddenly just blundered a full queen. Positionally, a4 was a nice square indeed...

After this horrible moment, Duda recovered very well and duly won the next three games to level the score. For the neutral fans, this was excellent news. Commentator Danny Rensch (after two wins for Duda): "We have a match!"

First there was this excellent win in a Trompowsky where Duda just outplayed his opponent from the start. In the final position both players have two queens, but only one gets mated.

Duda won a game as Black in a Petroff, and then returned to 1.e4 as White. His Giuoco Pianissimo finally worked for him. 25.e5! was a great pawn sacrifice described as "nasty" by GM Hikaru Nakamura (@Hikaru), who had logged into the ChessTV chat alongside e.g. @NihalSarin and the fresh world junior champion, GM Parham Maghsoodloo (@Parhamov).

Grischuk couldn't find a defense, or just missed that his defense ended in checkmate.

5|1 segment | Score

# Name Fed Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
1 Grischuk 2955 2921 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 5
2 Duda 2882 2916 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 4

There were still no draws by this point in the match!

That pattern simply continued with Grischuk starting with two losses in the 3|1 segment. The first was a tough blow, as he spoiled a winning advantage and later missed a draw in the rook endgame.

Sarin: "I think Duda could be the favorite in bullet."
Nakamura: "I think Duda will win if he's not down by 1 or more going into the bullet"

Those were some bold predictions in the ChessTV chat, which came before Grischuk stopped the bleeding and won the next as Black, thus leveling the score (and then another as White). It was a crazy game with the evaluation switching a few times at the end:


Alexander Grischuk Speed Chess

The match remained super close as Duda tied right away, scoring his second win out of his second Trompowsky, and then winning again as Black. That game begs to be embedded here as well since we haven't seen the Poisoned Pawn too often in these Speed Chess matches, or in general.

But with two wins in a row, it was Grischuk's turn to take over the lead. By then, 17 games had been played, and not a single draw. That must be a record?

3|1 segment | Score

# Name Fed Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Score
1 Grischuk 2934 2904 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 4
2 Duda 2904 2934 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 4

Right when this author had the thought that it would be funny if all bullet games ended in draws, the players did split the point in the first—the very first draw in the entire match. But then Grischuk won, as his opponent blundered a piece very early in the opening:

Things remained super close as Duda won two games in a row, and seemed on his way to a third. White looked completely winning when Grischuk found an amazing winning move, although Duda could have one-upped him:

After a very exciting draw in the next game, we saw a key moment of the match. In a back-and-forth game, where both players had their chances, Grischuk took the upper hand and flagged his opponent.

The score was 13-11 and not 12-12, with five minutes to go. Grischuk fist-pumped, while Duda was clearly annoyed.

"I thought I was going to lose this match at this moment,"  Duda would later say. "I thought I would have good chances in the bullet but I lost many positions which I shouldn't have lost. That was a very tough moment."

Was the match decided?

No, it wasn't! The Polish fighter that he is, Duda did exactly what he needed to in the short time he had. He made an amazing comeback, and lived up to his username.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Speed Chess

First, he returned to the Sicilian but with the Taimanovian maneuver Ng8-e7-c6 to avoid early g2-g4 annoyances, and crushed his opponent in 25 moves:

Then, he tactically refuted overly creative opening play from Grischuk in a King's Indian, after which the latter dropped a full piece on b6. Clearly, nerves were the decisive factor in this phase.

Although he wasn't fully aware what was going on, Grischuk made the right decision to resign this second-to-last game with 10 seconds on the match timer to get the last game as White (avoiding a mini-match tiebreak). He was winning in that game, then blundered, and then blundered mate. What a turnaround!

Time was up, and one of the most exciting matches in history was over: 14-13 for Duda.  The players started a new game that had to be aborted by tournament staff, and only then Grischuk did realize it was over.

"The most disappointing moment was when the match ended. I didn't know it was the last game," he later said.

1|1 segment | Score

# Name Fed Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score
1 Duda 2933 3009 ½ 0 1 1 0 ½ 0 1 1 1 6
2 Grischuk 2939 2863 ½ 1 0 0 1 ½ 1 0 0 0 4

Meanwhile, Duda was hugged on camera by his mom in what surely was the cutest moments in match history.

Grischuk looked like he had just lost his house and his car on a bet gone wrong.

He was gracious as ever, though: "Jan played better than me. He deservedly won. Congratulations to him!"

Duda said he hadn't really prepared his black openings. "I mainly focused on the white pieces although I thought that the Petroff might be sensible. I hadn't practiced with it so it was risky to play it but everything is risky with Black!"

Grischuk: "He doesn't have a repertoire with Black so I didn't expect anything. I had no idea which [openings] he [would] pick, because he just plays everything."

Duda earned $2,356.28 and advances to the next round, where he will meet either Wesley So or Vidit Gujrathi. Grischuk got $800.72. The Twitch community donated $157 that was added to the original $3,000 prize pool.


The next Speed Chess match, between Levon Aronian and Anish Giri, is on with commentary on and Don't miss it!

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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