Speed Chess Championship: Nakamura demolishes Fedoseev

by Johannes Fischer
12/4/2020 – The quarterfinal of the Chess.com Speed Chess Championship between Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Fedoseev was a rather one-sided affair. Nakamura dominated his opponent from start to finish and won the first nine (!) games of the match. After 27 games the match was over and with a smooth 21.5-5.5 victory Nakamura qualified for the semifinals where he will face Wesley So. | Photo: Lennart Ootes (Archive)

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Hikaru Nakamura vs Vladimir Fedoseev, 21.5-5.5

Nakamura's skills in online blitz are legendary and he was the clear favourite in his quarterfinal match of the Chess.com Speed Chess Championship against Vladimir Fedoseev. However, Fedoseev is also an excellent blitz player, and in the round of the last sixteen he had beaten Alireza Firouzja, who is also known for his blitz skills.

But from the very beginning things went wrong for Fedoseev. In the first game of the match he failed to find a convincing plan in a double-edged position and fell victim to a powerful mating attack.


In the second game Nakamura had Black but with an interesting pawn sacrifice he soon seized the initiative, which a little while later allowed him to win the exchange, an advantage, which Nakamura converted smoothly.


Throughout the match Fedoseev found no recipe against Nakamura's strong, confident and fast play, and he lost one game after the other. And if Fedoseev had the chance to win, he often failed to crack Nakamura's resourceful defense.


In fact, Nakamura won all eight 5+1 blitz games, after which the match was practically decided. And after Nakamura had also won the first of the 3+1 blitz games, audience and commentators wondered whether Fedoseev would manage to win even one game – and when. In game 10 Fedoseev finally managed to draw and in game 13 he scored his first win.

But this did not stop Nakamura who continued to dominate the match. After winning the 5+1 games 8-0, Nakamura won the 3+1 section 6-3, and he also decided the 1+1 bullet match 7½-2½ in his favour. Finally, Nakamura won the match 21½-5½ (+20, -4, =3), and now will face Wesley So in the semifinals of the Speed Chess Championship.



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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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