Firouzja Crushes Martinez In Junior Speed Chess Match

Firouzja Crushes Martinez In Junior Speed Chess Match

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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16 | Chess.com News

Alireza Firouzja was the clear favorite, and he proved it. The Iranian rising star crushed José Martinez of Peru 18-7 in their Junior Speed Chess Championship match on Tuesday.

As the current number-two in the Chess.com bullet ratings list, Firouzja (@Firouzja2003) is one of the favorites to win the whole event. On Tuesday, he won his first match in the championship with an even higher margin than was predicted beforehand.

SmarterChess predictions Firouzja Martinez
The SmarterChess predictions were pretty accurate this time.

The match was quite consistent in terms of openings. Martinez played 1.e4 in nine of his 12 white games, for which Firouzja had prepared the Møller variation with ...b5 and ...Bc5. When this was avoided with an early d2-d3, the Iranian player would fianchetto his king's bishop instead. And then there were some Giuoco Pianissimos.

Firouzja played 1.e4 exclusively in his 13 white games, even though he was struggling against his opponent's Najdorf. Often, he would win the games anyway.

"I always got a bad position [as White] in the Najdorf unfortunately but I was lucky that he didn’t play in his usual form," said Firouzja.

After winning two games from not-great positions, the following loss was the last where he would play his unsuccessful 6.g3 line:

Alireza Firouzja Junior Speed Chess Championship
In game seven, Firouzja went for another risky attack, and this time it worked. Martinez defended well, but needed too much time and eventually got flagged in a winning position.

"I don’t often play five minutes. It’s not my rhythm of play," said Martinez.

5|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Score
1 Alireza Firouzja @Firouzja2003 3043 3126 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 ½ 6.5
2 José Martinez @Jospem 2872 2789 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 ½ 1.5

The 3|1 part was Martinez's best segment; he only lost with a one-point margin here. He had a good phase when it wasn't expected. Being 8.5-1.5 down, the Peruvian grandmaster scored 3.5/4 right after this little torture had occurred:

Admittedly, Martinez was lost in the following game as well, but his comeback wasn't bad:

3|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Score
1 Alireza Firouzja @Firouzja2003 3051 2908 1 1 0 ½ 0 0 1 1 4.5
2 José Martinez @Jospem 2864 3007 0 0 1 ½ 1 1 0 0 3.5


As expected, Firouzja was way too strong in the bullet portion. It should be noted that Martinez graciously allowed his opponent a draw in some games where the Iranian player disconnected.

José Martinez Junior Speed Chess Championship

1|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
1 Alireza Firouzja @Firouzja2003 3209 3082 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 7.0
2 José Martinez @Jospem 2864 2991 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 2.0

Martinez admitted that he was nervous during the match: "One second of increment is nothing! I played good games, but Firouzja played very well in the final [phase] of these games."

Firouzja: "He was playing much better in regular blitz matches than now. He was a little bit nervous. I played a lot of blitz and bullet on Chess.com. I have experience; that helped me of course."

Martinez: "I tried to recover, but it’s not easy. He’s a strong player! But I feel good about my games; it was a good experience."

Junior Speed Chess Championship Bracket

The Peruvian player earned $112 based on win percentage; Firouzja won $400 for the victory plus $288 on percentage, totaling $688. Firouzja moves on to the next round, where he will play the winner of Sam Sevian vs. Nihal Sarin, which will be played on June 3.

The next match on the calendar is Wei Yi vs. Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu on May 31. The winner will play Jorden van Foreest, who eliminated Aryan Tari last week.

Junior Speed Chess Championship schedule

The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. Sixteen grandmasters age 21 or younger play in a knockout format with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz and 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet chess.

You can replay the live broadcast here.

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