Speed Chess Championship, Semifinals: Nakamura defeats So

by André Schulz
12/10/2020 – On Wednesday, December 9, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So played the first semi-final of the chess.com Speed Chess Championship. The match was close but in the end Nakamura's skills in bullet chess helped him to a narrow 13½-12½ win. On Saturday, he will play in the final, either against Magnus Carlsen or against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave who will face each other in the second semi-final on Friday, December 11. | Picture: chess.com

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Speed Chess Championship: Hikaru Nakamura vs Wesley So

Despite a slow start Nakamura, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on the day of the match, won the 5+1 mini-match 5:4. With two wins So took an early lead but with wins in a row Nakamura won the first stage of the match.

 
 

But in the 3+1 portion of the match Wesley So was the dominating player and won 4½:3½. 

The seventh game of this series was particularly turbulent.

 

Thus the score was tied at 8½:8½ before the last stage of the match, the bullet blitz with a time control of 1+1. Nakamura's skills in bullet chess are legendary and in this match he again showed why he is considered the world's best or second best player in this discipline. He won four of the first seven games to take a big lead and though Wesley So caught up at the end, this was not enough and Nakamura narrowly won the match.

On Friday, December 11, 18:00 CET, 9 a.m. Pacific, Magnus Carlsen and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will play the second semi-final. On Saturday, December 12, 18:00 CET, 9 a.m. Pacific, the winner of this match will face Nakamura in the final.

Live commentary with IM Daniel Rensch and GM Robert Hess

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.

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