Junior Speed Chess: Xiong Beats Gledura In Overtime

Junior Speed Chess: Xiong Beats Gledura In Overtime

| 2 | News

When the match clock had run down to zero the score was tied, but then Jeffery Xiong won in overtime vs. Benjamin Gledura in Tuesday's Junior Speed Chess Championship quarterfinal match. Xiong will play Parham Maghsoodloo next.

"Throughout the match there were moments when I felt Jeffery is the stronger player in this format," said the guest commentator Anish Giri. "He converted much more powerfully, he defended more skilfully.  But somehow the score is equal!"

This was how Giri recapped things at the end of the bullet segment, when 13.5-13.5 was on the scoreboard. As the slight underdog, the Gledura had come back from a four-point deficit and somehow managed to hold his own.

However, whereas he had beaten Awonder Liang 3-0 in a playoff in the round of 16 (that match had also ended level at the end of regulation), this time Gledura lost 3-0 in the playoff.

SmarterChess was right that Xiong would win, but wrong in the margin.

SmarterChess Xiong Gledura
According to SmarterChess, Xiong would win with a big margin.

Xiong won the first 5|1 game but was briefly down as he lost two games in a row. Gledura's first win in game two was right away a nice example of the clash of styles: active/dynamic (Xiong) vs. more positional (Gledura).

Xiong bounced back with two wins in a row himself, and after two draws, winning two more at the end of the five-minute segment. Game eight was especially interesting, with the American player using an aggressive setup to combat the Giuoco Piano also used by Spanish top GM Paco Vallejo recently. 

Commentators Giri and Rensch were wondering "where's the mate?" and as expected, it came soon.

Xiong finished the five-minute part with his second win in the sideline 5.Na4 against Gledura's Gruenfeld:

Jeffery Xiong Junior Speed Chess

5|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
1 Jeffery Xiong @jefferyx 2972 2743 1 0 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 6.0/9
2 Benjamin Gledura @promen1999 2622 2851 0 1 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 3.0/9

Xiong started the three-minute portion with a draw and then another win, to increase his lead to four points: 7.5-3.5. It seemed like he was demonstrating his status as favorite, but that didn't last long.

Gledura scored 5.5-1.5 in the remainder of the three-minute games, including three wins in a row at the end, to completely level the score again before going into the bullet.

It was a blunder by Xiong that started this turnaround, although it must be said that Gledura was winning before:

Benjamin Gledura Junior Speed Chess

Game 17 was a good one by Gledura, despite the fact that he missed a quicker win:

3|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
1 Benjamin Gledura @promen1999 2654 3050 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 0 1 1 1 6.0/9
2 Jeffery Xiong @jefferyx 2930 2534 ½ 1 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 0 3.0/9

Starting with a clean slate, the players kept on alternating wins throughout the bullet segment until Xiong suddenly won both games six and seven to take a two-point lead: 13.5-11.5.

Blundering a piece in one move wasn't the best thing to do for Gledura:

With six minutes of match time left, Gledura had to win the last two games. And he did.

As cool as a cucumber on camera, the Hungarian player made the score to 13.5-13.5 with this game, "blundering" into a won pawn endgame that even the world number-four in the commentary seat initially misevaluated:

"Surprisingly, I wasn’t so devastated because I didn’t realize that when I was up by two points near the end, that it would be the last two games," said Xiong. "Probably I should be devastated but I was just quite happy to play on, it was a very fun match."

Gledura, who had set the alarm on his phone to keep track of the match clock, said, "I knew I had chances to come back." 

1|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
1 Jeffery Xiong @jefferyx 2947 2425 1 0 ½ 1 0 1 1 0 0 4.5/9
2 Benjamin Gledura @promen1999 2425 2947 0 1 ½ 0 1 0 0 1 1 4.5/9

Gledura had experience with a playoff from his previous match, but as Hikaru Nakamura remarked in the chat, he was probably just tired after the final break. Xiong won three games in a row to decide the four-game playoff, and the match.

The last game ended with a slightly painful fork.

Playoff | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 Score
1 Jeffery Xiong @jefferyx 2861 3387 1 1 1 3.0/3
2 Benjamin Gledura @promen1999 2587 2061 0 0 0 0.0/3

Ultimately, the difference was probably a result of the fact that Xiong spends a lot more time playing online (blitz) chess than his opponent. 

"I play quite often," said Xiong. "I was playing some anonymous games before and generally I tried to play every Titled Tuesday and so on."

Gledura: "I don’t really play that much online because I prefer to play on a real chessboard. As you could see, my rating is also not so high. I tried to play some training games with 1|1 because basically I never play one-minute games. I tried to practice a little bit but I am not the best bullet player on earth, I suppose."

Junior Speed Chess Championship bracket

Xiong joins Wei Yi, Alireza Firouzja and Parham Maghsoodloo in the Junior Speed Chess Championship semifinals, which will have the top four seeds playing.

Gledura earned $270 based on win percentage; Xiong won $600 for the victory plus $330 on percentage, totaling $930. He will play Maghsoodloo on Thursday, July 18.

About his next match, Xiong said: "Obviously the four players in the semifinals are incredibly strong and I think it was the top four seeds. So far, at least no upsets on paper. About Parham, I believe we have played two times over the board and two times online and generally I have had good results. We’ll see what happens. I think it will be anybody’s match."

The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. Sixteen GMs 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.

All match games for replay & download:


  • Maghsoodloo vs. Xiong: July 18, 9 a.m. PDT (18:00 CEST)
  • Wei Yi vs. Firouzja: July 28, 8 a.m. PDT (17:00 CEST)
  • Final: to be determined
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