Duda Wins Speed Chess Invitational, Qualifies For Main Event
Jan-Krzysztof Duda won the Speed Chess Invitational on Sunday.

Duda Wins Speed Chess Invitational, Qualifies For Main Event

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GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda won the Speed Chess Invitational on Sunday. The Polish grandmaster defeated GM Sergey Karjakin in the final to clinch the $1,500 first prize. More importantly, Duda has qualified for the Speed Chess Championship Main Event.

On his way to winning the tournament, Duda again defeated both Karjakin and GM Alexander Grischuk, the two Russian players he also beat in the 2018 Speed Chess Championship.

All 16 players in the Main Event are now known, and so is the bracket:

2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event bracket

2020 Speed Chess Main Event bracket
The first date and time have been set as well: that of GM Magnus Carlsen's first match. The world champion will play GM Parham Maghsoodloo on Monday, November 2, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe. All info is continuously updated on the Main Event page.

Duda emerged as the winner in the very strong field for Sunday's Invitational. On his way to the final, he defeated IM Le Tuan Minh, GM Jeffery Xiong, and GM Alexander Grischuk. Karjakin eliminated GM Daniel Naroditsky, GM Baadur Jobava, and GM Vidit Gujrathi.

2020 Speed Chess Invitational bracket

It may seem that Duda (@Polish_fighter3000) was lucky to face the only non-grandmaster in the first round, but IM Le (@wonderfultime) was not an easy opponent at all—the match was still tied after six games. The Vietnamese blitz specialist did a nice Shooter McGavin impersonation after his win in game four:

After beating Xiong, Duda repeated his win against Grischuk from the 2018 Speed Chess Championship. Back then he had won an epic match that ended in 14-13, but this time the margin was higher: 7.5-3.5. Here's his impressive win in their first game:

Indian GM Vidit (@viditchess) was in good shape and a favorite to win the event during the early stage. Beating the Russian GMs Daniil Dubov (@Duhless) 8-5 and then GM Dmitry Andreikin (@FairChess_on_YouTube) 7.5-2.5 was remarkable! 

In the quarterfinals, a key moment was game four when Andreikin blundered into checkmate in a drawn rook endgame:

However, Karjakin was in even better shape and took a 5-0 lead straight away vs. Vidit in the semifinal. When you have such a big lead, you can smile when you walk into a checkmate yourself:

Karjakin also lost the next game but then recovered and ended up winning the match 7.5-3.5 to reach the final. 

Speed and perhaps stamina were the decisive factors in that final, which started after the players already had almost five hours of chess behind them. While the score was 4-4 after the five-minute and three-minute games, Duda crushed Karjakin in the bullet, scoring 6-0 there!

Before that, first, a nice moment from game seven played at 3+1:

A nice example of Duda's sharpness in these blitz games is the following. The middlegame was so complicated that commentator IM Daniel Rensch completely lost the thread for a moment while Karjakin couldn't hold track of Duda's play either:

Duda won the $1,500 first prize and has qualified for the Speed Chess Championship's Main Event, where he'll face GM Fabiano Caruana in the first round. Karjakin won $1,000, while Grischuk and Vidit each earned $750. Andreikin, Jobava, Svidler, and Xiong got $500 while the remaining eight players took home $250.

The Main Event will start on November 1, 2020 with its first matchup, which will soon be announced. As mentioned above, on November 2 Carlsen is playing Maghsoodloo.

All games

The Speed Chess Championship Invitational was a 16-player knockout tournament. In the preliminary, quarterfinal, and semifinal rounds, they played two 5+1 games, four 3+1 games, and eight 1+1 games. In the final, the players played three 5+1 games, five 3+1 games, and 10 1+1 games.

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