Can You Calculate Like a Speed Chess Champion?

The Chess.com Speed Chess Championship is a knock-out tournament, featuring head-to-head online blitz and bullet matches between some of the strongest players in the world, including last year’s winner, World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Matches for the event will be going on throughout the year with the final taking place on December 21st.

The “Big Three” American players, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, and Hikaru Nakamura, are all competing along with World Junior Champion Jeffery Xiong, who made the cut by winning a qualifier. Test your tactical skills with puzzles from the games of the four American players in the championship.

Hikaru Nakamura at the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz. Photo: Austin Fuller

Tactic # 1

Hikaru Nakamura vs. Sergey Grigoriants

“It is clear that Hikaru is just faster and another kind of processor.”

-Sergey Grigoriants reflecting on the match

White has just captured a piece on e4. How can Black come out ahead?

Black to move. 

Match Winner: Hikaru Nakamura

Score: 20.5-7.5

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Wesley So at the Paris GCT Rapid & Blitz. Photo: Lennart Ootes

Tactic #2

Wesley So vs. Anish Giri

“I thought this was going to be a solid match, but then things got out of control and very exciting.”

-Wesley So

White to move.

Match Winner: Wesley So

Score: 15.5-14.5

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Fabiano Caruana at the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz. Photo: Lennart Ootes

Puzzle #3

Hou Yifan vs. Fabiano Caruana

The match between Caruana and Hou was one of the most anticipated, especially since Hou Yifan recently had one of the strongest tournament victories of her career at the Biel Chess Festival with a 2810 performance rating.

Black to move

Match Winner: Fabiano Caruana

Score: 19-8

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Jeffery Xiong at this year’s U.S. Championship. Photo: USChessChamps.com

Tactic #4

Jeffery Xiong vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

The most recent Speed Chess match paired American prodigy and World Junior Champion, Jeffery Xiong, against one of the strongest players in the world, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

White to move.

Xiong showed great promise during the match and was able to finish the 5 minute blitz portion of the match with an even score against his more experience opponent. However, MVL took over the lead in the 3 minute time control and increased further it in the bullet segment.

Match Winner: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Score: 19-12

Don’t miss the next Speed Chess match (and final round-one match) of Magnus Carlsen vs. Gadir Guseinov on October 5!

Speed Current Championship Brackets

For more information on the 2017 Speed Chess Championship, visit Chess.com

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