The other IMSCC semifinals match will be between IM Greg Shahade and IM Levy Rozman on Monday, March 8 at 1 p.m. Pacific time / 22:00 Central European time. Tune in live at Chess.com/tv and Twitch.tv/chess.
The final score in the Molina-Hauge match does not reflect how close the match was, as Molina was only up one game before entering the bullet portion of the match. It was in the one-minute segment that Molina went on a 6.5-0.5 spree to take the match.
The live broadcast of the Molina-Hauge match.
The score was still equal after the eight games in the five-minute portion, thanks to a strong comeback from Hauge who was two points down initially. Molina immediately took the lead in a tense first game.
The 35-year-old Brazilian IM from Belo Horizonte, a city about 400 km (248.5 mi) north of Rio de Janeiro, showed his relief on camera as he had survived the dangerous-looking 22…Qg5 move.
Molina also won game four as Black, but by winning games six and seven Hauge tied the score again. Here’s the first of those two wins for the 22-year-old Norwegian IM.
Although Molina had carefully defended against the threat to g2 in the very first game, Hauge completely missed the motif in one of the three-minute games. It was Molina who came out on top in that segment and so he went into the bullet phase with an 8-7 lead.
As said, it was only in the bullet portion where Molina really made the difference as he scored 6.5-0.5 in that part.
Here’s game 20, another one of the many games in this match with an isolated queen’s pawn for Black:
Hauge said that in the last couple of 3|1 games he played “very poorly” that perhaps predicted what would happen next: “When I went into the bullet, I knew I didn’t have a chance.”
Molina will now face either Rozman or Shahade and said he doesn’t really have a preferred opponent for the final: “I think both players are great. I just will watch their games and maybe start some preparation.”