Xiong Beats Erigaisi In Close Junior Speed Chess Match

Xiong Beats Erigaisi In Close Junior Speed Chess Match

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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24 | Chess.com News

GM Jeffery Xiong defeated GM Arjun Erigaisi 15.5-13 .5 in the closest match so far in the Junior Speed Chess Championship sponsored by ChessKid. The next quarterfinal will be on Thursday between GM Nihal Sarin and GM Anton Smirnov.

An exciting fight was expected from this match. SmarterChess predicted just a one-point victory for Xiong (@jefferyx) based on games in the longest time control. That made sense because the American GM is rated 150 points higher than Erigaisi (@GHANDEEVAM2003) in standard chess. Eventually, Xiong won with a two-point margin.

The score progress was rather different, though. It was Xiong who took a 2-0 lead right away, and he ended up winning the five-minute segment 5.5-3.5. Erigaisi then took over as he won the three-minute games 6.5-3.5, which included a five-game winning streak.

Xiong came with the right answer, winning five games in a row on his turn early in the bullet portion. The four-point margin was too much for his opponent to overcome. 

A key game early was game seven. Xiong was two points up and first survived a lost middlegame position before winning a wild time scramble:

Just before losing those five games in a row, Xiong won a nice game 12 with the white pieces. At the end, he sacrificed his queen as there was an Arabian mate:

Erigaisi impressively outplayed Xiong in a number of black games. One example:

A common strategy is to win time on the match clock in drawn positions. Xiong did that in game 25 and was even rewarded with a point as Erigaisi premoved incorrectly, causing GM Robert Hess to literally jump on his chair.

Erigaisi earned $349.14 based on win percentage; Xiong won $750 for the victory plus $400.86 on percentage, totaling $1,150.86. He moves on to the next round, where he will play the winner of the match on Friday, October 2, between GM Sam Sevian and GM Alexey Sarana.

"There are a few games that I am completely fine with because Arjun just played very well, but there were one or two that I would like to have back," said Xiong about losing five in a row. "Luckily there was a break, and I was able to regroup for the bullet."

Erigaisi: "I started off quite badly, but then I came back quite well. Then I kind of went on a tilt that affected my play. But yeah, he played extremely well, kudos to him."


The live broadcast of the match with GM Robert Hess and GM Daniel Naroditsky.

Erigaisi is out of the competition, but we can see him back in action on Saturday as he has confirmed his participation in the Super Swiss, the 15-round tournament for titled players. More info on that can be found here

All games

Junior Speed Chess Championship bracket

Remaining matches

  • QF Nihal Sarin vs. Anton Smirnov October 1, 2020, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 CEST
  • QF Sam Sevian vs. Alexey Sarana October 2, 2020, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 CEST
  • SF 1 October 4, 2020, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 CEST
  • SF 2 October 5, 2020, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 CEST
  • Final October 8, 2020

The 2020 Chess.com Junior Speed Chess Championships is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. Sixteen GMs younger than 21 years old play in a knockout format with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet chess. In this second edition, there's a total prize fund of $25,000 on the line. Find all information here.


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