MVL Beats Sarin In Speed Chess Opening Match

MVL Beats Sarin In Speed Chess Opening Match

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
|
24 | Chess.com News

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (@Lyonbeast) defeated GM Nihal Sarin (@NihalSarin) 16.5-11.5 in the first match of the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event. GM Magnus Carlsen will play GM Parham Maghsoodloo on Monday, November 2, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe.

How to watch?
The games of the Speed Chess Championship Main Event are played on the Chess.com live server. They are also available on our platform for watching live games at Chess.com/events and on our apps under "Watch." Expert commentary can be enjoyed at Chess.com/tv.


Winning the Junior Speed Chess Championship was a fine achievement by Sarin, but on Sunday he had to admit that the Speed Chess Main Event is a whole other ball game. World number-three in blitz, Vachier-Lagrave won in all three time-controls, while Sarin put up a great fight that included some fine tactical shots.


The live broadcast of the match.

Sarin was cheeky enough to win the very first game from what was, in fact, a lost rook endgame at first. The lines are study-like:

Sarin could keep the pace for four games when the match was still tied. Vachier-Lagrave then won game five and, after two draws, also games eight and nine to finish the five-minute segment with a three-point lead.

That became four points after the second three-minute game as MVL successfully tried a knight sacrifice that is almost certainly stored in Sarin's laptop, but the young Indian GM forgot about how to draw against it.

Vachier-Lagrave: "I decided to check whether Nihal had 27...Qb8. I thought there was a chance he looked at 25...Nc2, which shows 0.00 but didn't look further. It's tough to find 27...Qb8 over the board."

The match seemed over. However, with two fine wins in a row, Sarin was back. First, there was the following, hyper-sharp 13th game, one of the best of the match:

Sarin then nicely tricked MVL in game 14 with the white pieces. The attack that followed was wonderfully conducted:


Vachier-Lagrave won the next two games to restore the four-point margin, and Sarin never got close again. 

Like in the three-minute portion, the French GM won the bullet segment with a one-point difference. Here's one of his best games, where maneuvering his queen to h1 proved to be remarkably strong:

But again it was Sarin who pleased the public with neat tactics. He seems to have a preference for winning games in style, and nobody has a problem with that.

Sarin earned $821.43 based on win percentage; MVL won $2,000 for the victory plus $1,178.57 on percentage, totaling $3,178.57. He moves on to the quarterfinals, where he will play the winner of GM Levon Aronian vs. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi.

One of the issues for Sarin was that he was getting low on time in many games early in the match. "I did spend a bit too much time," he said. "It was mainly that Maxime was playing very strong moves very fast, and I was sort of forced to think."

Chess.com was suddenly given lots of flexibility to organize the competition when the FIDE Candidates Tournament was postponed from November until spring 2021. Asked to what extent MVL is avoiding his preparation, the Frenchman replied: "You might get the answer in the next matches!"

All games

Here's the remaining schedule for the round of 16:

  • November 2, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Carlsen-Maghsoodloo
  • November 4, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Firouzja-Fedoseev
  • November 8, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: So-Abdusattorov
  • November 11, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Nepomniachtchi-Aronian
  • November 12, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Nakamura-Martirosyan
  • November 15, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Caruana-Duda
  • November 16, 2020 at 9 a.m. / 18:00 Central Europe: Giri-Artemiev

2020 speed chess bracket
The 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event is a knockout tournament among 16 of the best grandmasters in the world who will play for a $100,000 prize fund, double the amount of last year. The tournament will run November 1-December 13, 2020 on Chess.com. Each individual match will feature 90 minutes of 5+1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3+1 blitz, and 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet chess.

Find all information about the Speed Chess Championship here.

More from PeterDoggers
Ding Liren Leads Danzhou As Hou Yifan Wins Women's Tournament

Ding Liren Leads Danzhou As Hou Yifan Wins Women's Tournament

Nakamura Too Strong For Fedoseev In Speed Chess Match

Nakamura Too Strong For Fedoseev In Speed Chess Match