Nakamura Routs Dobrov In Speed Chess Championship
Dobrov kept the match interesting early, but Nakamura found his form in the 3|1 and 1|1 portions.

Nakamura Routs Dobrov In Speed Chess Championship

IsaacSteincamp
IsaacSteincamp
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17 | Chess.com News

Vlad Dobrov put together an admirable performance in his Speed Chess Championship debut, testing the defending champion Hikaru Nakamura throughout the match. While the Russian grandmaster kept the blitz portions interesting, Nakamura found ways to continue building pressure both on the board and on the clock, leading to a massive 27-8 victory for the American.

Nakamura, the defending Speed Chess Champion, advances to the second round where he will face the Polish grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who beat Anish Giri in his first-round clash last month.

Nakamura vs Dobrov SmarterChess Predictions
Dobrov nearly matched his SmarterChess score prediction at the conclusion of the 3|1 portion but was not able to keep up with the pace of the match.

In the live broadcast chat, Hikaru was quick to admit he was worse in the match's opening game after allowing Dobrov to infiltrate and create an attack. Just as Dobrov was about to put the game away, Nakamura found counterplay and converted with perfect defensive technique.

Dobrov was quick to counter Hikaru's opening point, finding a key tactic late in the second game to level the score at 1-1.

After a third-round draw, Nakamura notched four consecutive wins, while fulfilling his promise to play a different opening in every game. The American converted a rook endgame to pad the score:

Dobrov broke the streak with a win, followed by two draws to close out the segment. While many players would be discouraged after succumbing to a four-game skid, Dobrov was clearly in high spirits as the final game came to a close. 

5|1 section | Scores

Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score
Hikaru Nakamura @Hikaru 3211 3022 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 1 0 ½ ½ 6.5/10
Vlad Dobrov @VladDobrov 2913 3102 0 1 ½ 0 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ 3.5/10

Nakamura ran up the score in the 3|1 portion, though the many of the games were much closer than the overall margin. Dobrov came close to scoring his first win of the segment against Nakamura in the fourth round, only to fall prey to Nakamura's key defensive resource.

Dobrov found ways to keep games complex, but the reigning American champion continued to find tactical solutions to score points. Keen on his promise to continue playing new openings in every game, Nakamura felt emboldened by his string of wins to try the "Bong Cloud" opening. While this is hardly advisable in the Speed Chess Championship, the provocative nature of Nakamura's play was enough to trick Dobrov and secure the win.

Dobrov's plan heading into the match was to slow down Nakamura's pace, but costly blunders in the 3|1 meant 13 games were played in the segment. Nakamura extended the lead to 10 with the bullet portion remaining. 

Hikaru Nakamura

3|1 section | Scores

Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Score
Hikaru Nakamura @Hikaru 3184 3031 1 0 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 9.5/13
Vlad Dobrov @VladDobrov 2940 2859 0 1 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 3.5/13

Nakamura, Chess.com's top bullet player, was a heavy favorite in 1|1, with many fans wondering if he could pull off a mid-match "adoption," a chat-room term meaning 10 wins in a row. Things looked promising when Nakamura sacrificed his rook to achieve a streak of six wins dating back to the final games of the 3|1 portion.

Dobrov's only win of the 1|1 portion ended the streak at eight when his central grip was enough to break Nakamura's position.

Nakamura closed the match with a dominant win against the French, illustrating the key issues Black faces in the opening.


1|1 section | Scores

Name Username Rating Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Hikaru Nakamura @Hikaru 3254 3172 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 11
Vlad Dobrov @VladDobrov 2771 2853 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1

Dobrov earned $229 based on win percentage. Nakamura won $1,000 for the victory plus $771 on percentage, totaling $1,771. He will next face Duda the Speed Chess Championship quarterfinals.

"I thought Dobrov played quite well in the 5|1 portion," said Nakamura. "I wasn't serious enough I think. But then I saw this Hammer clip and I got quite annoyed, so I decided no more fooling around, and tried to play my best in the 3|1 and 1|1," Nakamura said.

Speed Chess Championship Bracket

“I have a very tough match coming up in the next round, so I'm more focused on that than anything else. [Duda] is extremely talented," said Nakamura.

All match games for replay and download:

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