FMs Master Death Match 23 Qualification
Chess.com's second Death Match qualification of 2014 ended when the calendar flipped to March, and for the first time, two FMs may battle. They are two of the most active players in Chess.com history.
FM Evan Ju (Eilyisum) held his lead from earlier this month in the blitz category. He finished February with a 2612 rating over 142 games, thus easily fulfilling the 75-game minimum. He has played an astounding 33,623 lifetime games on Chess.com - he's even playing as I write this!
Ju will get the first invitation; in case he declines, next in line is IM Dejan Stojanovski (ChessTrener), 2501, who was the next to meet the activity requirement. *Update - Ju has accepted his invitation to play.
FM Andrey Kalinichev (Kulinarist) will get the nod for bullet. He only played 70 games prior to our "countdown" article, then kicked it into high gear by playing 185 games in the final four days. He raised his rating 80 points in the process! Though not as epic as Ju's mark, Kalinichev has played 5,855 lifetime games on Chess.com. Although he qualified in bullet, his blitz win/loss record is a nearly-untouchable +477 -28 = 20.
At 2707, Kalinichev held off a late charge by IM Marc Esserman (wHySoSeRiOuSs - I hope I wrote that right!), who wasn't even on the radar a few days ago. Esserman's 2679 rating is next in line should Kalinichev decline.
This category was ultra-competitive. Third place amongst those meeting the 100-game minimum was IM Kacper Drozdowski (Kacparov), 2634. Next, and the first GM, was Falko Bindrich (Janosik) at 2603, followed closely by FM Boryboy (hidden identity) at 2602. IM Yaacov Norowitz (Yaacovn) saw his rating slip below 2600 late in the month to fall out of contention.
With nearly 40,000 combined games, you might guess that the two players have faced each other before on the Chess.com server. You'd be right of course - they've met more than 100 times, including seven games during February's qualification period (Kulinarist won that mini-series +5 -1 =1).
The match will take place in April, which is also when the next open qualification period will take place.
Until then, don't forget that GMs Erwin L'Ami and Jan Smeets will decide the winner of Death Match 22 on March 22, 2014 at 12 p.m. Eastern (New York time), 9 a.m. Eastern.