Junior Speed Chess Championship: Xiong vs. Gledura

Junior Speed Chess Championship: Xiong vs. Gledura

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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17 | Chess.com News

On Tuesday, Jeffery Xiong of the USA plays Benjamin Gledura of Hungary in the fourth and last match of the quarterfinals of the Chess.com Junior Speed Chess Championship, sponsored by ChessKid

The winner of Tuesday's match will face Parham Maghsoodloo in the semifinal on July 18 at 9 a.m. PDT (18:00 CEST).

You can watch Jeffery Xiong vs. Benjamin Gledura on Tuesday, July 16 at 11 a.m. Pacific (20:00 CEST), with commentary by IM Danny Rensch and special guest commentator, world number four GM Anish Giri, on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.

Junior Speed Chess commentator Anish Giri
Anish Giri will be joining the Junior Speed Chess commentary today.

Born in Plano, Texas, the 18-year-old Xiong (@jefferyx) is the third-youngest grandmaster in the U.S. after Junior Speed Chess contestants Awonder Liang and Sam Sevian, who were both eliminated in the round of 16.

Xiong is also the second-highest-rated junior player in the world, behind another contestant: Wei Yi of China.

His biggest successes so far include winning the 2016 World Junior Championship and both the 2018 and 2019 St. Louis Spring Classic.

At the start of this month, Xiong took his live rating beyond the 2700 mark at the World Open where he tied for first with 7.5/9.

In the round of 16, Xiong defeated Australia's Anton Smirnov. Although he lost the five-minute portion, the American player still won with a big margin: 19-10.

This was the last game of their match:

Asked what he learned from his match, Xiong replied:

"I learned that it will never be easy! Before the match with Anton I played some training matches and felt pretty good about my play. However, immediately when the match began, Anton outplayed me in the first game and led after the five-minute portion which is generally my best time control. So I was happy to bounce back, especially from a psychological aspect."

Jeffery Xiong Junior Speed Chess Championship

The 19-year-old Gledura (@promen1999) from Eger in Northern Hungary is a grandmaster since 2016. He has played twice for the national team at Olympiads, in 2016 in Baku and in 2018 in Batumi.

This January he came third in the Tata Steel Challengers in Wijk aan Zee. Two months later, at the 2019 European Individual Championship, Gledura finished in shared 12th place to qualify for the FIDE World Cup.

In the round of 16, the Hungarian GM defeated Awonder Liang in what was a thriller of a match that initially ended in 15-15. Gledura had lost the bullet segment, but then won three straight bullet games in overtime.

This was a nice win by Gledura from that match:

Trying to improve on his first match, Gledura said that he "should more focus on the 1|1 part." For that, he did some prep: "I have been playing some training games with my coaches/friends, trying to be as fast as possible."

Benjamin Gledura Junior Speed Chess Championship

The two have only met each other once, and unfortunately that game didn't reach the database.

Xiong: "My only game with Gledura was at the World Youth Under 12 in Brazil. It was already clear that Benjamin had built great understanding for the game, in particular his positional play. And generally you can see that in his play today, the way he plays simple positions flawlessly." 

Gledura also mentioned the difference in styles: "We have played some tournaments together. I do not know him quite well though. I think he likes to play sharp games."

Most fans will probably see Xiong as the slight favorite, and he agrees with that but his opponent doesn't.

Xiong: "I believe that in online blitz I have an advantage. However on an off day I can be assured that the match won’t go well."
Gledura: "I think it depends on the current shape. I would say 50-50."

Junior Speed Chess bracket

The match will start with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, continue with 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and end with 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet. (Find all regulations here.)

Gledura said that 3|1 is still his preferred segment. "Though I have to be fast."

Xiong: "I still feel most confident in the five minutes, however I should try to take advantage of the fact that Benjamin doesn’t play bullet very often."

The American GM will be playing from GM Jacob Aagaard's home, where he is currently for a training camp. Gledura will play from his home in Hungary.

Junior Speed Chess Championship prizes

The prize fund for the quarterfinal matches is $1,200 each. The winner earns $600 and advances to the first semifinal, while the other $600 is split by win percentage.

The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. All JSCC matches are broadcast live with chess-master commentary on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.

Here's the full schedule for the quarterfinals and beyond:

  • Firouzja vs. Sevian: July 9 at 9 a.m. PDT
  • Wei Yi vs. Van Foreest: July 10 at 8 a.m. PDT
  • Maghsoodloo vs. Sarana: July 11 at 9 a.m. PDT
  • Xiong vs. Gledura: July 16 at 11 a.m. PDT
  • Semifinal 1 | Maghsoodloo vs. Xiong/Gledura: July 18 at 9 a.m. PDT
  • Semifinal 2 | Wei Yi vs. Firouzja: July 28 at 8 a.m. PDT
  • Final: To be determined

For a full schedule, see our events calendar or this general Speed Chess Championship article.

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