Speedchess: Duda dominates Caruana

by André Schulz
11/16/2020 – The Sunday chess.com Speed Chess Championship match between Fabiano Caruana and Jan-Krzyszof Duda ended with a surprisingly clear win of the young Polish player who won 17-9 against the world's number two. Duda particularly dominated in the bullet games. | Picture: chess.com

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A fascinating blitz battle: Fabiano Caruana vs Jan-Krzysztof Duda

On Sunday, November 15, Fabiano Caruana and Jan-Krzysztof Duda played to qualify for the quarterfinal of the Speed Chess Championship. The 2020 Speed Chess Championship Main Event is a knockout tournament played on chess.com. 16 of the world's best grandmasters start, top seed and favourite is Magnus Carlsen. The tournament runs from November 1 to 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.

Duda narrowly won the 5+1 stage 5:4 while the 3+1 mini-battle ended with a 4:4 tie. Thus Duda was one point ahead before the final bullet portion of the match. But in the bullet games Duda was faster and better and won 8:1, which led to a final match score of 17-9.

Navigating the Ruy Lopez Vol.1-3

The Ruy Lopez is one of the oldest openings which continues to enjoy high popularity from club level to the absolute world top. In this video series, American super GM Fabiano Caruana, talking to IM Oliver Reeh, presents a complete repertoire for White.

However, Caruana had a good start into the match. 


The game started with a French Defense which is difficult to see from this position. Black seized the initiative and played 27... d4.

Now White should play 28.Ng4, e.g. 28...Bxf3 (28...h5 29.Nf2) 29.gxf3 h5 30.Nf2 Ne5 31.Re4 Qf6 32.Rxf4 Qxf4 33.Qxf4 Rxf4 with a better endgame for Black.

But instead White played 28.Nd1 after which White no longer controls g4. 28...Ne5 29.Nd2 Rg4 30.Rxf8+ Qxf8 31.Rxe5 31.Qxe5 Bxg2+ 32.Kg1 Bh3+ (or 32...Bc6+ 33.Qg3 Qf4) 33.Kh1 Qa8+ 34.Ne4 Bg2+ 35.Kg1 Bxe4+. 31...Rxg3 32.hxg3 Qc8 33.Nf2 Qc1+ 0–1

Caruana also won the second game and in the third he scored again with the French, this time in the endgame.


37... a3 38.bxa3 b2 The back rank once again! 39.Rg1 39.Rb1 Rc4 39...Rc4 40.Bb5 Rc1 0–1

Game 4 was the first Duda won but in game 5 Caruana immediately hit back and won. But in game Caruana lost a theoretical debate in a popular line of the Najdorf.

Caruana,Fabiano (2823) - Duda,Jan-Krzysztof (2743) [B90]

Speed 2020 chess.com INT (1.16), 15.11.2020

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h4 The latest trend against the Najdorf?

6...e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f4 exf4 9. Bxf4


9...Nc6 10. Qd2 d5 11. O-O-O Bb4 12. Qe3 d4 13. Nxd4 Bc5


14.Nce2? Playable is 14.Nxe6 Bxe3+ 15.Bxe3 Qxd1+ (15...Qa5 is risky: 16.Nxg7+ Kf8 17.Nf5 h5 18.Rd6) 16.Nxd1 fxe6 and White has a pawn for the exchange.

14...Qb6 All this had happened before. 15.Kb1 Now White collapses in a few moves. A previous game continued 15.c3 Bxa2 16.g4 Bb3–+,  though White later won: 1–0 (41) ,Tsydypov,Z (2528)-Oganian,M (2462) Sochi 2017]

15...Ng4 16. Qc3 Rd8 17. Nxe6 Rxd1+ 18. Bc1 fxe6 19. Qxg7 Rf8 20. Qxg4


20...Ba3 21. Qxe6+ Kd8 22. b3 Qd4 0–1

After this shocking loss Caruana lost his rhythm. Duda also won the next game and was slightly ahead before the bullet portion of the match where he was clearly better and decided the match in his favour.

Live commentary with Jan Gustafsson and Peter Svidler



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


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