Speed Chess Preview: Nakamura-Martirosyan

Speed Chess Preview: Nakamura-Martirosyan

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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25 | Chess.com News

Another match in the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event is on the menu for today: GM Hikaru Nakamura (@Hikaru) vs. GM Haik Martirosyan (@Micki-taryan). The action starts on Thursday, November 12, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe.

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


Today's match is a clash between the top seed in the tournament and the lowest seed—the number one and the number 16. It's safe to say that beating the mighty American will be a Herculean task for the Armenian youngster, but there's always a chance.

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Martirosyan was born July 14, 2000, in Byuravan, a town about 30 km (18.6 mi) south of the city center of the Armenian capital Yerevan. He was taught chess by his father at the age of five.

Martirosyan was trained by the late GM Ashot Anastasian, an eight-time Armenian champion. His student's successes came quickly. In 2011, Martirosyan won the European Youth U12 Championship. Two years later he won in the age category U14 and also won the blitz tournament.

In 2014 he became an IM and two years later, he won the World Youth U16 Championship. He became a GM in 2017.

In January 2018, Martirosyan won the Armenian Championship and qualified for the Armenian Olympic team. He scored a performance of 2708 at the 2018 Batumi Olympiad.

Another excellent over-the-board achievement in classical chess was his second place on tiebreak behind the winner Kaido Kulaots at the 2019 Aeroflot Open.

Martirosyan reached the semifinals of the 2020 Junior Speed Chess Championship where he lost to Nihal Sarin but did qualify for the Main Event by finishing among the top-four qualifiers from the SCC Grand Prix.

Haik Martirosyan Speed Chess 2020


Nakamura was born on December 9, 1987, in Japan and moved to the U.S. when he was two years old. At age 10, he became the youngest American to beat an international master, and five years later he became a GM at 15 years and 79 days, breaking Bobby Fischer's record by three months.

Nakamura has won the U.S. Championship five times (2005, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2019) and the Gibraltar Masters four times (2008, 2015, 2016, 2017). In 2011, he won the prestigious Wijk aan Zee tournament, sometimes called the "Wimbledon of Chess."

In October 2015, Nakamura reached his peak rating of 2816, when he was the world number-two.

Already a legend in online chess, back then on ICC, Nakamura started showing his blitz prowess early over the board as well. In 2009, he defeated Carlsen 3-1 in the BNbank blitz tournament in Oslo, Norway.

In 2018 Nakamura won the Grand Chess Tour. He finished first in the rapid and blitz events in Paris and St. Louis and eventually defeated GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the playoff final in London. 

Earlier this year, Nakamura beat Carlsen in the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge semifinals. He also made it to the final of the Magnus Carlsen Tour, where he lost narrowly to Carlsen in the armageddon. Nakamura currently is the world number-one player in the FIDE blitz rankings and is rated 2900.

Nakamura lost the 2017 Speed Chess final to Carlsen and then won both finals in 2018 and 2019 against GM Wesley So.

Nakamura Speed Chess 2020

The players have never met over the board. On Chess.com, they have played 258 times before, mostly 3+0 & 1+0 games. Nakamura scored +203 =19 -36. The predictions by @SmarterChess are, not surprisingly, rather lop-sided. Maybe too lop-sided?

"I have some chances to win too, so I will do my best to do it," said Martirosyan. "The most important time control will be 5 +1 because I will have more time to find the best moves possible."

The match between Nakamura and Martirosyan is the sixth in the championship. Earlier, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (@Lyonbeast), GM Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen), Vladimir Fedoseev (@Bigfish1995), Wesley So (@GMWSO), and Levon Aronian (@LevonAronian) qualified for the quarterfinals.

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

  • 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

Speed Chess 2020 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.

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