Speed Chess Preview: Firouzja vs. Fedoseev

Speed Chess Preview: Firouzja vs. Fedoseev

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In the third match of the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event we'll see the Iranian teenage star GM Alireza Firouzja (@Firouzja2003) taking on Russia's GM Vladimir Fedoseev (@Bigfish1995). The match starts on Wednesday, November 4, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe.

How to watch?
The games of the Speed Chess Championship Main Event will be played on the live server. They will also be available on our platform for watching live at and on our apps under "Watch." Expert commentary can be enjoyed at

After we gave our American members time to vote (joking aside: it was of course Titled Tuesday!), the Speed Chess Main Event continues on Wednesday with the first appearance of Firouzja, the highly gifted Iranian teenager who defeated GM Magnus Carlsen in the Banter Blitz Cup earlier this year.

Firouzja was born in Babol in northern Iran, along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. He is the second-youngest player ever to reach a rating of 2700 (after GM Wei Yi). In December 2019, he stopped representing Iran and now plays under the FIDE flag. He lives in Chartres, 90 km (56 mi) southwest of Paris.

Firouzja has been improving fast in recent years, which showed at the Norway Chess tournament last month where he finished in second place behind Carlsen. The big question is whether he can demonstrate that progress he has made in the Speed Chess Main Event.

As noted in our big preview of the tournament, Firouzja's results have been topsy-turvy this year in online events. He is definitely expected to win his first match, but what will happen next remains to be seen.

Firouzja, who will be playing from Chartres, France, described his opponent as someone with "a sharp style" and one who "likes to create complicated positions." Unsurprisingly, he is most looking forward to the bullet section.

Firouzja Speed Chess

Firouzja's opponent is Russia's Fedoseev, a regular guest on especially on Tuesdays and a player who qualified for the competition thanks to a third place in the Speed Chess Grand Prix. Fedoseev won two of those individual Grand Prix tournaments; Firouzja won none.

Fedoseev was born in St. Petersburg, a city that has produced numerous grandmasters. He achieved that title himself in 2011 when he was 16 years old. Three years later, he entered the world's top 100.

The year 2017 saw his breakthrough as he won the Aeroflot Open and thus qualified for the Sparkassen Chess Meeting In Dortmund, where he finished in a shared second place. At the end of the year, he came in second on tiebreak at the World Rapid Championship, behind GM Vishy Anand.

Fedoseev is looking good in the individual encounters between the two. He won both over-the-board games (a classical game at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Masters and a game at the 2019 World Blitz), and each player won one of the two blitz games they played in Titled Tuesdays.

"I guess he is a really strong talent," Fedoseev said about Firouzja. "For me, I can say that he is playing kind of heartbreaker chess, which is really unpleasant to play against. I can say that he is the future of chess at the moment."

Fedoseev, who will play from his home in Moscow ("Normally I have a perfect connection and a cool place to play from my work office"), expects a close match. He thinks the bullet segment will be most important: "Because it’s the end of the match, so in many cases, it will be decisive​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​."

Speed Chess Vladimir Fedoseev

In the predictions for this match, @SmarterChess agrees with Fedoseev that the bullet segment is likely to make the difference. It's also Firouzja's strong suit; the Iranian teenager has played countless bullet games or games at even faster time controls (e.g., 30 seconds) online. 

Earlier this week, Firouzja set a new bullet record as he pushed his rating to 3519 in a long, friendly match with GM Oleksandr Bortnyk. Meanwhile, GM Hikaru Nakamura has reclaimed the number-one position at 3530. Firouzja is back to 3453; Fedoseev is currently at 3087.

The match between Firouzja and Fedoseev is the third in the championship. Earlier, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (@Lyonbeast) defeated GM Nihal Sarin (@NihalSarin), and GM Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) defeated GM Parham Maghsoodloo (@Parhamov).

Here's the remaining schedule for the round of 16:

  • November 8, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Firouzja-Fedoseev
  • November 8, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: So-Abdusattorov
  • November 11, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Nepomniachtchi-Aronian
  • November 12, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Nakamura-Martirosyan
  • November 15, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Caruana-Duda
  • November 16, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Giri-Artemiev

Speed Chess 2020 bracket
The 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event is a knockout tournament among 16 of the best grandmasters in the world who will play for a $100,000 prize fund, double the amount of last year. The tournament will run November 1-December 13, 2020 on Each individual match will feature 90 minutes of 5+1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3+1 blitz, and 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet chess.

Find all information about the Speed Chess Championship here.

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