Speed Chess Preview: So vs. Abdusattorov

Speed Chess Preview: So vs. Abdusattorov

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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54 | Chess.com News

It's time for a new match in the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event: GM Wesley So (@GMWSO) vs. GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov (@ChessWarrior7197). The action starts on Sunday, November 8, 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.


With the thriller between Fedoseev and Firouzja still fresh in our memory, it's almost time for the next speed chess match. On Sunday we'll see the clash between the new American champion and the biggest talent from Uzbekistan since Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

Abdusattorov was born on September 18, 2004, in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. He became a GM at the age of 13 years, one month, and 11 days. Only four players in history have been younger when they got the title.

In 2012 Abdusattorov won the World Youth U8 Championships in Maribor, Slovenia. In 2014, at nine years old, he beat two GMs in a tournament in his home city of Tashkent.

In April 2015, Abdusattorov set a new record for the youngest player to enter the top-100 juniors, at 11 years old. Currently the Uzbek number-two, he is closing in on Kasimdzhanov with only a 35-point Elo difference on the classical rating list.

Kasimdzhanov Caruana
Former FIDE World Champion Kasimdzhanov (left) is working as Fabiano Caruana's main second these days. How long will he remain Uzbekistan's number one? Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Abdusattorov qualified for the Main Event by coming in fourth in the Speed Chess Championship Grand Prix. He won the October 6 edition

Interestingly, Abdusattorov and So have never played each other, over the board or online. 

"He is strong in all parts, especially in the middlegame," said the Uzbek GM, who plans on playing fast, about his opponent: "I will have a good chance if I will put pressure on his clock."

Abdusattorov said that the 3+1 time control will be the most important ("because it’s my favorite") and for preparation, he plans to check his opponent's games and play online blitz and bullet.

Speed Chess Nodirbek Abdusattorov


Philippine-born So earned the GM title at the age of 14 years, one month, and 28 days—about a year later than Abdusattorov. He made progress fast: at 15, he became the youngest player to pass the 2600-rating threshold, breaking Magnus Carlsen's record.

So’s peak rating of 2822 in March 2017 made him the number-two player in the world and the fifth highest-rated player in history. He is a three-time Philippine Champion, a two-time U.S. Chess Champion (2017 and 2020), and the reigning Fischer Random World Champion.

On top of those accomplishments (as well as winning the 2016 Grand Chess Tour and Wijk aan Zee 2017), So is also one of the most successful players in Speed Chess Championship history. He reached the final twice, both times losing to Hikaru Nakamura.

"He appears to be tactically sharp and a good fighter," So said about his 11 years younger opponent. 

About his preparation, So said: "My usual. Study and work out the lines on a board... and then do it all over again. I am reading a lot more these days since I have the time now and working through puzzle books."

Speed Chess Wesley So
An upset like Fedoseev scored against Firouzja seems less likely in this match, taking into account that So just won the online U.S. Championship without losing a single game. He seems to be in top shape!

But is this match going to be the walkover that @SmarterChess is predicting? That seems a bit far-fetched as well, doesn't it?

So himself said about his chances: "Hard to say but clearly, he is an outstanding young player, and I am happy for the opportunity to meet him over the board."

Well, we'll see how it goes on Sunday!

The match between Abdusattorov and So is the fourth in the championship. Earlier, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (@Lyonbeast), GM Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen), and Vladimir Fedoseev (@Bigfish1995) qualified for the quarterfinals.

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

  • 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

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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