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Firouzja Wins 2021 Bullet Chess Championship Presented By SIG‎

Firouzja Wins 2021 Bullet Chess Championship Presented By SIG‎

PeterDoggers
| 55 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Alireza Firouzja has won the 2021 Bullet Chess Championship presented by SIG. The Iranian super-GM first eliminated top favorite GM Hikaru Nakamura in the semifinals and then was too strong for GM Andrew Tang in the final.

The live broadcast of Tuesday's matches.

The Bullet Chess Championship presented by SIG was held April 5-7 on Chess.com with the very best bullet players on the planet. Only World Champion Magnus Carlsen was missing from an otherwise star-studded field. Firouzja earned $10,000 for his first place.

Note that the bullet championship is not over yet! Don't miss the All Stars event on Thursday, April 8, starting at 12 p.m. Pacific (21:00 Central Europe) at Chess.com/tv

2021 Bullet Chess Championship results

Naroditsky-Tang

The action started with GM Daniel Naroditsky making his first moves in the championship against Tang. Because GM Eric Hansen had to withdraw at the last moment, Naroditsky reached the semis without playing.

Charlotte, N.C., resident Naroditsky didn't need much of a warmup as he took a 4-3 lead before the half-time break and later increased it to 6-4. Tang, however, leveled the score to 6-6 with incredibly fast play. Then 7-7 was on the scoreboard with three minutes left, when Tang convincingly won two games in a row to secure a place in the final.

Andrew Tang Bullet Chess

Firouzja-Nakamura

The much-anticipated match between Firouzja and Nakamura started next. It was a repeat of the final of the Bullet Open Championship from the end of 2020 and also of the 2019 quarterfinal when both times Nakamura emerged victoriously. The American GM was definitely the slight favorite again, also because he had just beaten GM Arjun Erigaisi 13-3 the other day.

Nakamura had an excellent start and was about to go 3-0 when he blundered a piece and it was 2-1 instead. He still reached 4-1 anyway, winning game five in the nick of time.

With Nakamura leading 6-3 at halftime, few would have predicted Firouzja to win this match. However, the second half saw a completely different picture with the Iranian prodigy winning that second "set," also nine games, 7-2 to take match 10-8.

"[During the break] I thought I had to play more relaxed and play more like I'm playing every day against Naroditsky or like this," Firouzja explained his comeback. "That way I could have a chance, at least."

The end was an absolute nail-biter, with Nakamura winning a must-win game to make 8-9 with 21 seconds left on the match clock. Having double the amount of time (22 seconds vs. 11 for Firouzja) he seemed on his way to flag his opponent, make 9-9 and force a playoff. He also could have won a piece there but instead blundered his own rook.

"It was a bit of luck I guess, but overall I think I played good chess against Hikaru," Firouzja would later say. "The first games were a bit shaky, but after that it was pretty decent."

Firouzja-Tang

Having managed such a huge hurdle, Firouzja then dominated the final against Tang. He won the first five games before Tang, who was sporting his Cloud9 jersey, could do something back.

Now known for his slow starts, Tang had come back from being down 5-1 the day before. This time, it wasn't gonna happen as he simply couldn't get into top form while Firouzja is simply on fire these days—he also won the last two Titled Tuesdays.

By winning the last two games, Tang could at least set an "acceptable" final score, but the 11-6 didn't leave any doubts. Firouzja took the $10,000 first prize while Tang earned $6,000. Both Nakamura and Naroditsky won $2,500.

Firouzja definitely had his share of winner's luck as GM Vladislav Artemiev had him on the ropes in the quarterfinals and only needed to let the match clock run down for nine more seconds to win their match. Instead, the Russian GM resigned, allowing another game after which Firouzja eventually won.

Speaking after the final, Firouzja called that quarterfinal match "a miracle," adding: "I should have lost that, a 100 percent. I got lucky, I guess."

The 2021 Bullet Chess Championship was presented by Susquehanna International Group, LLP (SIG). SIG is a global quantitative trading firm founded with a growth mindset and an analytical approach to decision-making. As one of the largest proprietary trading firms in the world, SIG benefits the financial markets by providing liquidity and ensuring competitive prices for buyers and sellers. SIG brings together the brightest minds, the best technology, and an expansive library of industry data to design and implement qualitative trading strategies that make it leaders in the financial markets. Beyond trading, SIG is active in global private equity, structured capital, and institutional brokerage.


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PeterDoggers
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 Chess.com 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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