Speed Chess Championship Semifinals Start Wednesday
On Wednesday the first semifinal of the 2020 Speed Chess Championship will be played between GM Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So. GM Magnus Carlsen and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will play on Friday, and the big final will take place on Saturday.
How to watch?
The Speed Chess games are played on the Chess.com live server. They are also available on our platform for watching live games at Chess.com/events and on our apps under “Watch.” Expert commentary can be enjoyed at Chess.com/tv.
It’s crunch time for the Speed Chess Championship. Both semifinals and the final will be played in the coming days, so it’s time to block your calendar, set your alarms, and collect your popcorn and drinks because you don’t wanna miss them.
- December 9, 2020 at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe: Nakamura vs. So
- December 11, 2020 at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe: Carlsen vs. Vachier-Lagrave
- December 12, 2020 at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe
Nakamura vs. So
The match between Nakamura (@Hikaru) and So (@GMWSO) comes only 11 days after the two players met in the Skilling Open semifinal. It was So who won their first match (a win and three draws) and tied the second (four draws), and then he also defeated Carlsen in the final.
To say that Nakamura is looking for revenge would be an understatement. He made his intentions clear after he defeated GM Vladimir Fedoseev in the semifinal when he said: “Certainly, it’s payback time. I’m gonna be out for blood, I will say that much!”
On the other hand, So has his own reasons to want to win this match. He faced Nakamura in the two finals of the 2018 and 2019 Speed Chess Championship and lost both.
So, who is six years younger than his opponent, has a slight plus score in classical games. The grandmaster from Minnetonka, Minn., leads three to one with 16 draws. In rapid and blitz chess games, it’s the other way around, with Nakamura winning 16 to nine with 36 draws.
Nakamura won both his previous matches by big margins. First, he defeated GM Haik Martirosyan 21-5, and then he set aside Fedoseev 21.5-5.5. So beat Nodirbek Abdusattorov 18-10 and then Jan-Krzysztof Duda 16-10.
Carlsen vs. Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) and Vachier-Lagrave (@Lyonbeast) faced each other the last time also in the Skilling Open, and 17 days ago they drew their game in the preliminary phase. In April of this year, Carlsen scored a 2.5-1.5 win at the Magnus Carlsen Invitational.
Vachier-Lagrave had better remind himself of the match he played with Carlsen exactly one year ago in the semifinal of the London Chess Classic. He managed to beat the world champion for the first time in a match, scoring 1.5-0.5 in the blitz tiebreak.
In classical chess, Carlsen has a big lead. He has scored eight wins to two with 18 draws against the Frenchman. Also in rapid and blitz chess, the difference is clear: 19 to 10 with 22 draws.
Earlier in this championship, Carlsen beat GM Parham Maghsoodloo 24-5 and then won against GM Vladislav Artemiev 13.5-9.5. Vachier-Lagrave defeated GM Nihal Sarin 16.5-11.5 in the Round of 16 and then GM Levon Aronian 14.5-12.5 in the quarterfinals.