Nihal Beats Tang In Junior Speed Chess Championship

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In the first match of the Junior Speed Chess Championship sponsored by ChessKid, GM Nihal Sarin (India) defeated GM Andrew Tang (U.S.) 16-8. Tang had entered the tournament by winning the eight-player Knockout Qualifier tournament on Wednesday.

The first match of this year’s junior championship was between the top seed and the 16th seed. However, with Tang’s reputation of being one of the strongest bullet players on the planet, it wasn’t fully clear to what extent Nihal was the favorite in this match.

According to Chess.com odds calculations, this was the case, and the Indian youngster delivered.

Nihal (@nihalsarin) won the five-minute portion 4.5-3.5 and the three-minute 5.5-2.5. But that was before the bullet, right? Well, also there Nihal was the stronger player as he crushed Tang (@penguingm1) 6-2. A stunningly big win for the Indian grandmaster.

Game eight, the last one with a five-minute time control, was one of the best of the match. Nihal was up a queen against rook and two pawns, and Tang’s position looked like a fortress (but it wasn’t). With both players playing their last 60 moves or so with just seconds on the clock, Nihal managed to convert in the end. Very impressive.

All games

Tang earned $166.67 based on win percentage; Nihal won $500 for the victory plus $333.33 on percentage, totaling $833.33. He moves on to the next round, where he will play the winner of the match GM Anton Smirnov vs. GM Raunak Sadhwani that is on September 23.

“The match was very close throughout, said Nihal. “The five minutes, it was very tough for me. Somehow, Andrew was playing extremely well and very fast. At some point, I was just trying to not get so angry. At some point, it just started going very well for me.”

The Indian GM added some more nice words about his opponent: “I knew it was going to be very tough. Andrew is, of course, very fast and strong, and I’m a big fan of him!”

Tang responded: “We’ve played many games, but… that’s flattering!”


The live broadcast of the match.

Remaining matches in the round of 16:

  • Sept. 12: Arjun Erigaisi vs. Gukesh D. at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe
  • Sept. 13: Sam Sevian vs. Amin Tabatabaei at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe
  • Sept. 18: Haik Martirosyan vs. Vincent Keymer at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe
  • Sept. 19: Parham Maghsoodloo vs. Praggnanandhaa R. at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe
  • Sept. 20: Alexey Sarana vs. Andrey Esipenko at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe
  • Sept. 21: Jeffery Xiong vs. Nodirbek Abdusattorov at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe
  • Sept. 23: Anton Smirnov vs. Raunak Sadhwani at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe

2020 Junior Speed Chess Championship bracket

The 2020 Chess.com Junior Speed Chess Championships is sponsored by ChessKid, the world’s number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. Sixteen GMs younger than 21 years old play in a knockout format with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet chess. In this second edition, there’s a total prize fund of $25,000 on the line. Find all information here.


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