So Beats Abdusattorov In Speed Chess Match

So Beats Abdusattorov In Speed Chess Match

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In the fourth match of the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event, GM Wesley So (@GMWSO) defeated GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov (@ChessWarrior7197) 18-10. The next match is Nepomniachtchi vs. Aronian on Wednesday, November 11, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe.

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Except for a brief comeback from Abdusattorov at the end of the five-minute portion, So dominated the match from start to finish. He brought his great play at the American championship into his next tournament while the Uzbek youngster couldn't find his best form. 

The live broadcast of the match.

So played the match from his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota; Abdusattorov played from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The players in this competition play with two cameras (for fair play reasons). Since both of them had no problem with showing the cameras in the broadcast, the fans had the opportunity to see their setup:

So, who played with a relatively small board in the corner of a big computer screen, started with three wins—all three scored in endgames. His opponent was fairly close to a draw in game two but couldn't hold it in the end. "Wesley stole that one!" said commentator GM Maurice Ashley.

After a draw, So won a quick game in a Two Knights Defense that gave him a four-point lead. Abdusattorov referred to this game afterward: "His opening preparation was amazing. [In this game] he just crushed me."

The author has added some engine lines to this game, which is very hard to understand in general without using a computer. It's worth noting that it was theory for 18 moves.

In game six, Abdusattorov finally got his first win. "I said to myself, OK, I need to play faster and my best. And then it became very close," he said afterward.

The next game ended in a draw, but then the Uzbek GM won two more. Suddenly he was just one point behind. So later admitted that this was the first of two times in the match that he "tilted."

The five-minute portion ended with one more draw, which meant the score was 5.5-4.5 with So leading. The American player started the three-minute segment with a win but then blundered again. Did commentator IM Danny Rensch jinx him?

Were we going to see a close battle after all? Alas, it didn't happen. At this point, So won five games in a row to take a commanding six-point lead. That blow Abdusattorov couldn't recover from.

"He's just a little off," said commentator Ashley. "This youngster is stronger than me and you, no question about it. We should not be seeing moves that he doesn't see. When that starts to happen, I get scared in commentary."

So could even have entered the bullet portion with a slightly bigger lead as he missed a win in game 19. Somehow, pawn endings are always interesting, so let's look at this one and learn:

By winning the first three bullet games, So made it clear that he wasn't going to allow another comeback. In this phase, he also used the well-known technique of winning time on the match clock by, for example, not resigning in this game:

The second moment So went on "tilt" was at the very end. Leading 18-8, he lost the last two bullet games that gave Abdusattorov both a more decent-looking final score and some extra prize money. These were the last moves of the match:

So said he got "a bit careless" halfway in the five-minute segment: "Actually, I was quite angry with myself because first of all, I lost on time in two or three games. That's frustrating. After the first four wins, I thought the match would be comfortable, but then Nodirbek played very well today. He is always looking for a fight. He gets fighting positions with both white and black, so it's hard for me to consolidate."

Abdusattorov won $714.29 based on win percentage; So won $2,000 for the victory plus $1,285.71 on percentage, totaling $3,285.71. He moves on to the quarterfinals, where he will play the winner of GMs Fabiano Caruana and Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

All games

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

  • 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 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.

Speed Chess Guess the Move

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