Wesley So Tops Qualifier For Sunday’s Super Swiss Knockout


GM Wesley So was the top finisher among 16 players who qualified for the $15,000 Super Swiss Knockout. The American grandmaster finished on 12/15 on Saturday. Sunday’s knockout bracket starts at 12:00 p.m. Pacific / 21:00 Central Europe.

The Speed Chess Championship Super Swiss is a two-day qualification event from which one player will qualify for the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Knockout Final. The Super Swiss runs October 3-4, 2020, and has a $15,000 prize fund.

How to watch?
Tune in at Chess.com/tv on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Pacific / 21:00 Central Europe for commentary on the knockout phase with GM Maurice Ashley and GM Robert Hess.

The 15-round Swiss had a total of 428 participants. Besides So, the other 15 players that qualified were GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Vladislav Artemiev, Praggnanandhaa R., Pavel Smirnov, Alexander Grischuk, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Vladimir Fedoseev, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dmitry Andreikin, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Grigoriy Oparin, Jose Martinez, Sanan Sjugirov, Pavel Ponkratov, and IM Renato Terry.

Super Swiss, final standings | Players on 10.5 points or more

Rk Fed Title Name Username Score SB
1 GM Wesley So @GMWSO 12 114.5
2 GM Hikaru Nakamura @Hikaru 11.5 112.5
3 GM Vladislav Artemiev @Sibelephant 11.5 103.5
4 GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu @rpragchess 11.5 91.5
5 GM Pavel Smirnov @Smirnov_Pavel 11.5 87.5
6 GM Alexander Grischuk @Grischuk 11 104.25
7 GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov @ChessWarrior7197 11 102.25
8 GM Vladimir Fedoseev @Bigfish1995 11 99
9 GM Ian Nepomniachtchi @lachesisQ 11 98.75
10 GM Dmitry Andreikin @FairChess_on_YouTube 11 97.75
11 GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave @LyonBeast 11 96.5
12 GM Grigoriy Oparin @OparinGrigoriy 11 96.25
13 GM Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantara @Jospem 11 89
14 IM Renato Terry @renatoterrylujan 11 88
15 GM Sanan Sjugirov @Sanan_Sjugirov 11 86.5
16 GM Pavel Ponkratov @Infernal_XaM 11 85.25
17 GM Jorden van Foreest @joppie2 10.5 96.25
18 GM Le Quang Liem @LiemLe 10.5 91.75
19 GM Maxim Matlakov @Borsch7 10.5 90.75
20 GM Alexei Shirov @AlexeiShirov 10.5 87.5
21 IM Oleg Vastrukhin @kuban1991 10.5 81.75
22 GM Arjun Erigaisi @GHANDEEVAM2003 10.5 80.75
23 IM Liam Vrolijk @LiamVrolijk 10.5 78.75
24 GM Andrey Esipenko @Andreikka 10.5 76.5
25 GM José Carlos Ibarra Jerez @jcibarra 10.5 76.25
26 GM Conrad Holt @dretch 10.5 73.75

So and Nakamura, who eventually finished in first and second place, were the only two players still on a 100 percent score after six rounds. Already there, the standings started affecting play: their game in round seven was one of several quick draws as the players at the top were focusing on finishing among the top 16.

The two GM commentators Maurice Ashley and Robert Hess weren’t amused but also realized it is unavoidable in a format like this.

So also had quick draws with Nepomniachtchi, Andreikin, and Praggnanandhaa but one doesn’t finish in first place without also beating some strong players. Here’s his win vs. Grischuk which saw a rare combination of a Maroczy Bind setup and castles queenside:

Because the tournament was played without increment (the time control was three minutes per player) there were many games where the final phase was absolutely crazy. For example the following, with the Polish FM Dawid Czerw being one of the many players who streamed during play. He points out he walks into a mate in one but his opponent misses it and gets mated himself:

While the rounds were finishing, Ashley and Hess would jump from board to board and see lots of these moments. “It’s like a casino!” said Ashley, who also did a pretty decent Homer Simpson impersonation:

Things will be not as wild on Sunday when all games will be played with a one-second increment (which makes quite the difference) and the format is a knockout.

In the first round, the players will play two 5+1 games, two 3+1 games, and five 1+1 games. Both the quarterfinals and semifinals consist of two 5+1 games, three 3+1 games, and six 1+1 games. In the final, there will be two 5+1 games, four 3+1 games, and eight 1+1 games.

The tiebreaker in each round is a single armageddon game with five minutes for White and four mins for Black (who has draw odds) with the higher seed choosing the color.

Besides the $3,500 first prize, on Sunday the players will be fighting for a spot in the prestigious Speed Chess Championship, Chess.com’s flagship event that will run later this year with world-class players fighting for a $100,000 prize fund.

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