News
News
Grischuk Masterclass Seals Qualifying Spot
"I no longer have an illusion that I can find a good move in the position so I am no longer searching" - Grischuk on his reason for blitzing out entire games.

Grischuk Masterclass Seals Qualifying Spot

JackRodgers
| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Alexander Grischuk won the second qualifier of the 2022 Chess.com Speed Chess Championship on Sunday following a convincing triumph over compatriot GM Vladislav Artemiev in the final.

Having claimed he hadn't looked at chess for two or three months ahead of the event, Grischuk also knocked over super-GMs Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Jeffery Xiong en route to his knockout victory.

The Swiss event finished in a three-way tie with each of the eight knockout qualifiers separated only by half a point.

The main event of the Speed Chess Championship will take commence on Monday, November 21.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 Chess.com Speed Chess Championship on Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube.com/ChesscomLive. Games from the event can be viewed on our events page.

The live broadcast was hosted by WGM Jennifer Shahade, FM James Canty III, and FM Anna-Maja Kazarian.


Swiss

A trio of winners was crowned in Saturday's Swiss after GMS Artemiev, Salem A.R. Saleh, and Duda all finished on scores of 11/14, followed closely by five players, GMs Daniil Dubov, Daniel Naroditsky, Grischuk, Xiong, and Denis Lazavik, who scraped through to the knockout on 10.5.

After 10 rounds, Emirati GM Saleh's 9/10 put him in the pole position to win the event outright; however, two losses to Narodistky and Grischuk during the run home allowed other players to catch up. Saleh's round-eight victory over Chinese super-GM Yu Yangyi was the most entertaining of his wins where a kingside slashing couldn't be stopped by Yangyi.

Tactical duels saw many of the favorites fall in the Swiss event and there was no place for complacency amongst the 3000+ players. GM Christopher Yoo was one such casualty who was dispatched by an internet-speed chess master of old, GM Daniel Fridman. Fridman, who started the event with a rating of 2699 finished the event just shy of 2900 and a 200-point rating gain!

GM Denis Lazavik snatched the last qualifying spot after a horror start where he dropped three points in the first seven rounds. A barnstorming run in the back end of the event that included wins over GMs Pavel Eljanov, Olexandr Bortnyk, and Yangyi earned him his spot in Sunday's knockout.

Number Fed Title Username Name Rating Score
1 GM Sibelephant Vladislav Artimiev 2701 11
2 GM Salem-AR Salem AR Saleh 2677 11
3 GM Polish_fighter3000 Jan Krzysztof Duda 2731 11
4 GM Duhless Daniil Dubov 2708 10.5
5 GM DanielNarodistky Daniel Naroditsky 2617 10.5
6 GM Grischuk Alexander Grischuk 2745 10.5
7 GM jefferyx Jeffery Xiong 2692 10.5
8 GM DenLaz Denis Lazavik 2529 10.5
9 GM GMBenjaminBok Benjamin Bok 2618 10
10 GM BogdanDeac Bogdan-Daniel Deac 2700 10
11 GM Bigfish1995 Vladimir Fedoseev 2688 10
12 GM mishanick Alexey Sarana 2668 10
13 GM Beca95 Aleksandar Indjic 2631 10
14 GM ChristopherYoo Christopher Yoo 2573 9.5
15 GM Jospem Jose Martinez 2597 9.5
16 GM chesspanda123 Yu Yangyi 2716 9.5
17 GM Msb2 Matthias Bluebaum 2651 9.5
18 GM Tormoz Daniel Fridman 2602 9.5
19 GM snowlord Ivan Yeletsky 2491 9.5
20 GM GM_dmitrij Dmitrij Kollars 2611 9

Knockout

With the group stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup approaching, pundits are always speaking about which group is "the group of death" and it must be said that the lower half of Sunday's knockout was a fitting parallel. Featuring three super-GMs in Xiong, Duda, and Grischuk as well as the Swiss winner Saleh, it was anyone's guess who would emerge victorious.

Xiong took the longest to progress to the semifinals and played 16 games to eliminate Saleh. The Semi-Averbakh System was the weapon of choice for the American and, although Saleh defended well, time was not on his side and he eventually flagged in a completely drawn position.

In one of the streakiest matches of the day, Grischuk built a three-point lead over Duda following a hat-trick of wins, but the Polish GM went down swinging, winning three consecutive games as well. Duda eventually went down after losing the final game of the tie when Grischuk masterfully liquidated into a winning king and pawn ending.  

Naroditsky worked his way past Dubov in a similarly streaky match and had to overcome a four-game losing streak dealt by his artistic opponent. At 6-6, Naroditsky chose to play quietly and ground down Dubov. The strategy paid off and he booked himself a spot in the semifinal.

The most astonishing match of the day was undoubtedly Artemiev's 7.5-1.5 drubbing over Lazavik. Artemiev looked invincible in his quarterfinal matchup and announced himself as a serious contender in the event.

Artemiev is one of the few players to have beaten GM Magnus Carlsen in a match and proved extremely dangerous in the knockout. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Naroditsky, hoping to put a stop to Artemiev's rampage in the semifinal was rock solid in the first half of the match and managed to draw the first eight games. A master of match strategy, Naroditsky's plan clearly frustrated Artemiev who even squandered several winning positions. The most thrilling of these was a Rosen-Esque stalemate that Naroditsky benefited from in game five.

Unfortunately for Naroditsky, Artemiev was able to steady the ship in the final game, with the scores locked at 7-7, Artemiev was able to secure the victory with a win after things went wrong in the middlegame for the popular content creator.

Meanwhile, Grischuk put on a masterclass to stay one step ahead of Xiong at the final hurdle. Grischuk would later say that he "didn't even look at chess for like two months, or three months" though it was clear that his strength and speed hadn't diminished in the slightest. At 7-7, it was Grischuk that held his nerves and slowly outplayed Xiong on the black side of the French Defense: Exchange Variation.

The final between countrymen Artemiev and Grischuk was not nearly as close as the semifinal thanks to a quality defensive effort by Grischuk coupled with breakneck tactical shots that Artemiev couldn't keep up with.

Grischuk cited his poor record against Artemiev but helped to rectify this in their match on Sunday. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Off the back of a first-game win, one of the most important moments of the final arose when Grischuk found himself with a knight and bishop against a bishop and five connected pawns! Defending the position seemed an impossible task, but Grischuk stepped up and performed when it mattered most. GM Rafael Leitao has analyzed our deserving game of the day below.


Grischuk is a cult figure in the chess world and one of the greatest blitz players in history—his world titles in this modality speak for themselves. In the post-match interview, he mentioned that he usually loses a lot of games to Artemiev in online chess, and therefore his victory came as a surprise to him. One of the things I appreciate about this great player is that you never know when he's joking and when he's serious.

Artemiev didn't seem to recover from the missed chances and despite winning a clean game in round five, the 24-year-old would not win again. Over the next four games, Grischuk would win three and draw one, leaving Artemiev with little chance to come back.

Down and out, Artemiev repeated moves in the 12th game after some stiff resistance from his opponent, and the score ticked over to 7.5-4.5. Upon seeing the repetition, Grischuk pumped his hands above his head in victory and gave a confident nod to the camera as he secured his spot in the main event.

Grischuk took home $1,000 and a spot in the main event, while Artemiev earned $1,000 for his efforts.

The 2022 Speed Chess Championships Main Event will begin on the 21st of November and conclude on the 16th of December. Top speed-chess players will compete at three different time controls in a 16-player knockout as they vie for a share of the $100,000 prize fund along with the most prestigious title in online chess.

The likes of GMs Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, and many more will battle it out to determine the 2022 speed chess champion.


Previous coverage

More from FM JackRodgers
Kwan Knocks SlugChamps Out Of The Park

Kwan Knocks SlugChamps Out Of The Park

Nakamura 'Bebops' To 19th Bullet Brawl Title

Nakamura 'Bebops' To 19th Bullet Brawl Title