Speed Chess Championship Live: Nakamura vs Vachier-Lagrave

by ChessBase
12/12/2020 – After beating Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave reached the final of the Chess.com Speed Chess Championship, when he will face blitz specialis Hikaru Nakamura. The match consists of 90 minutes of 5+1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3+1 blitz, and 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet chess, and starts at 18:00 CET, 9:00 Pacific Time. Follow the games live, with commentary. | Picture: Chess.com

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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.

Live games and commentary


Commentary by GM Peter Leko and IM Tania Sachdev


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hurwitz hurwitz 12/15/2020 09:42
@Karbuncle: "Ethical" and "legal" are two different and meaningful terms. I'ld like to refer you to a nice analogy of cloudcrow in soccer: it's absolutely "legal" to through yourself on the ground, but it's not a "fair play".

It would also be unacceptable from Magnus (which i never saw), or for that matters, anyone who is supposed to be the leader of a sport. I leave it to you how you would like to see your champion.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 12/15/2020 04:07
@hurwitz, you can't 'agree' and then go on to still call it 'unfair' (implying the person in the lead is being classless). If the players felt it was unfair, they wouldn't have agreed to play in the tournament. Even Magnus played in it, and I doubt he would if he considered it unfair. All this complaining going on fails to see this essential point, and I suspect it's because Nakamura won. I've got a feeling if Carlsen won, not one peep about the format rules.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 12/13/2020 07:45
I agree with some of the others that you can't blame the players for the format. Everyone wants to see a winner and players are going to do what they are allowed to do, within the rules, to maximize winning chances, including wasting time. Also these matches are long with few breaks, if a player wants to wait before executing mate in 1 to regroup, how can you blame them?

If ppl don't like it, I think the blame is more appropriately placed at the feet of chess.com, which created the format. But ultimately it is up to the spectators. Having a time duration for each match instead of a number of games probably makes it more exciting, and the companies will cater to the fans.
hurwitz hurwitz 12/13/2020 10:08
@Karbuncle: I agree, the commentators are always promoting this attitude. But you tell me, how would you like to see your champion? The one who plays fairly and does the best in all possible games, or the one who is trying to escape more games? I call the former a strong and champion attetude, and the latter defintiely a classless move ...
goeland goeland 12/13/2020 10:03
Mauvaisfou : I understand your view but lets be positive. Speed is just a new option and it has its own fun and merits.

Classic chess will continue. Else no amateur like myself will travel from Paris to Hungary to play speed chess while I can do it online from home. And you cannot play classic on internet because of cheating.

Professional chess could probably get along with speed, the ratio money/time is good for top players, but without the support of amateurs, and classic chess, it will lose momentum in the long term.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 12/13/2020 05:10
@cloudcrow, it's been discussed MANY times that in the Speed Chess format, the proper STRATEGY is to stall games to your advantage (i.e. When you're ahead on points or to use up the current time control allotted time). It's not considered a classless move, and is fully understood by the players in the event.
hurwitz hurwitz 12/12/2020 10:59
Fully agree with ChessTalk, "Harmon Vodka stint" seems a very nice description of what Magnus probably went through yesterday. Nonetheless, impressive performance by MVL!

Personally, I found it extremely respectful how gentleman MVL was yesterday. He was a head in the match but till the very end never tried to play cheaply on time. I really hope he wins against not so gentleman Naka, though the odds are objectively against MVL :-(
MauvaisFou MauvaisFou 12/12/2020 10:28
Chess as a sport is dead. Not dead because of two many draws or because of computers, but because top players accept to play such silly competitions, and because these competitions are covered and commented by serious chess journals.
It should deserve not more than one line.
It is said to be popular? People just get excited when they see blunders.
Fortunately, we still have the games played in the past.
ChessTalk ChessTalk 12/12/2020 04:51
minnesota, is it true Carlsen is doing a Harmon Vodka stint? He's usually more circumspect. Anyways, great job, MVL.
Minnesota Fats Minnesota Fats 12/11/2020 08:38
the truth of the matter is, Carlsen always seems to reach the finals.... and win 90% of them. This is insane! ...although he also likes to party and he just celebrated his 30th birthday in Norway with some Vinkingfjord vodka i guess? I hope he is not to relaxed today playing MVL.
PhishMaster PhishMaster 12/11/2020 01:42
@cloudcrow Your comments about "thinking" someone would cheat show that you do not "think", and that you are much worse than what you are claiming of someone else.
daftarche daftarche 12/10/2020 07:02
@jonathan_smith It seems you have watched too many Naka streams and believe the narratives he tells his viewers on stream. He never had a chance to flag Magnus. Magnus had too much time and had a fortress in that position and could have easily just shuffled his rook back and forth. magnus could have made 100 more moves in that position. I am not familiar with magnus artmiev incident but based on your previous story I am skeptical but I know that magnus dominated that match and for sure he didn't have to waste anytime but anyway feel free to tell which game of magnus artmiev match you are talking about. Regardless, we don't have a personal problem with anyone here. The problem here is the excessive waste of time when there is still a lot of time left to the end. in bullet if you are ahead with 10-15 mins left to the end of match it is more understandable but here he was wasting time when they were still playing blitz. trying to win at any cost by wasting everyone's time and playing ugly meaningless moves signifies your poor taste. The soccer analogy @cloudcrow used is very eloquent.
Jonathan_Smith Jonathan_Smith 12/10/2020 05:24
@cloudcrow: you say this as if the 200 moves were long and drawn out, in reality they were all premoves and happened in a minute. Nothing serious imo. Nakamura didn't flag Carlsen when he had the opportunity to win the MC final, and here he just premoved in a dead drawn position. How is this disgusting at all? Magnus flagged on purpose in a losing position against Artemiev the other day to use up the match clock so that he couldn't make a comeback. That seems way more scummy than premoving a draw when both players are tied in the match with over 10 minutes left on the match clock. No one gains an advantage from this.
cloudcrow cloudcrow 12/10/2020 02:55
I've seen other top players waste time while leading in a losing position, resisting until mate but I have never seen such silliness as playing 200 moves game in dead draw position while being on equal score. This was just too
embarrassing to watch. Doing everything possible inside allowed rules in order to win, however low it may seem just convinces me that Naka is not an honest guy. I'm 100% sure that he would even cheat if he is sure he can't be caught.
Ok, I got it, it is a professional sport and in most professional sports very few care about 'being a gentleman' too while trying to win. However, I reserve the right not to have an ounce of respect for professionals who will do anything they can to win if they can get away with it.
Naka's move yesterday for me was the equivalent of a soccer player throwing himself on the ground, rolling and screaming, asking for a foul inside the penalty zone although he was only lightly touched. Disgusting.
hurwitz hurwitz 12/10/2020 12:14
@Keith Homeyard: The hypothesis that he is trying to regroup his thoughts is not really correct. Look at the very last game that he is mate in one ...

I agree that I was harsh by calling this a "coward" move, but we have to put our standard high for the top players in the sport. Credits to Naka's effort to popularize chess, but as far as the game is concerned, he is not even close to any conversion of being the best players.

And he may still wonder why people might perceive him as a "bad guy": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU0z6TqU3Fc
hurwitz hurwitz 12/10/2020 12:07
@ PhishMaster: You never see top players like Magnus, So, MVL, Aronian or alike would do this, I don't know whoever top players you have in mind.

After all, this kind of attitude speaks about the person character and his/her approach to the game. In my opinion, this is far from an ideal that you would praise at the top of your favorite sport.
PhishMaster PhishMaster 12/10/2020 11:49
@hurwitz, not at all...that is common match strategy that most of the competitors have done at one time or another.
RichardEaston RichardEaston 12/10/2020 05:48
A better approach would be to have a fixed number of 5, 3 and 1 minute games. This would make stalling in an individual game irrelevant.
Keith Homeyard Keith Homeyard 12/10/2020 01:14
hurwitz :- yes I did but considering the very fast rate of play perhaps he was mentally regrouping for the next game. Regardless I consider that the coward remark is a bit strong!
hurwitz hurwitz 12/9/2020 09:22
Did anyone here also find Naka’s wasting time strategy in losing positions a coward and low class attitude?
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 12/5/2020 10:50
@Minnesota Fats, I have no idea what you are trying to say. But after covid-19 is over, Fischer random will return in slow time control formats, while regular chess will continue a long decline. Eventually there will be more speed chess960, but it will take some time as players are used to chess and can use their memorized opening moves in fast formats.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 12/3/2020 11:22
Doubtful that Fischer Random will take it over because one needs time to think in the opening, which is not possible in speed chess.
Minnesota Fats Minnesota Fats 12/3/2020 09:26
Corona speed chess tournaments...glad they exists, but isn't it more about nerves and tricks than real chess? or is real slow chess dying a fast death? When will Fisher Random chess take over this corona speed chess ? After the third Corona wave, perhaps?
Denix Denix 11/20/2020 12:14
Duda is magnificent, but So is So.