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Sevian Stuns Firouzja; Nakamura, Nihal, Naroditsky Advance

Sevian Stuns Firouzja; Nakamura, Nihal, Naroditsky Advance

NM_Vanessa
| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Sam Sevian, Nihal Sarin, and Daniel Naroditsky advanced to the Winners Semifinals of the Bullet Chess Championship 2024 (BCC) on Monday. 

In his debut to the BCC, Sevian defeated the 2021 champion, GM Alireza Firouzja, in the Quarterfinals. It took Nihal nine games in overtime to prevail vs. GM Andrew Tang. Nakamura defeated GM David Paravyan by an eight-point margin. Naroditsky overcame GM Oleksandr Bortnyk in a close match. 

Firouzja, Tang, Paravyan, and Bortnyk are still alive in the Losers Bracket along with the eight grandmasters who faced defeat in Round 1. 

The action continues on Tuesday, June 11, at 12:00 p.m. ET / 18:00 CEST / 8:30 p.m. IST

Winners Bracket - Day 1:

Losers Bracket - Day 1:

Winners - Round 1:

Winners - Quarterfinals:

Winners - Round 1:

Winners - Quarterfinals:


Winners Round 1 - Part 1:

Part one began with a mix of bullet specialists like Tang, Nihal, and Naroditsky along with some super-GMs like Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu

Giri took a surprising three-point lead vs. hyperbullet champion Tang. Yet, in the critical moments, Tang showed what he's made of. He won two must-win games in a row to send the match into overtime. In the second, he built up a terrifying kingside attack with the help of his knights.

Then Tang won two more to take the match, finishing with another dazzling attack. 

Naturally, Nakamura was ready with words of consolation to comfort Giri.

Naroditsky vs. Praggnanandhaa was close for much of the match. When the players were tied at 7-7, Naroditsky's bullet expertise prevailed when he turned a defensive endgame into a victory. 

As Naroditsky began to take over the lead, Praggnanandhaa hung his queen with less than a minute left on the match clock, ending his chances. 

Nihal's speed prowess showed vs. Caruana when he defeated the world number-three by an eight-point margin. Bortnyk and Le traded victories until Le hung a rook midway through the match. After that, Bortnyk began to clean house, taking the match by a five-point margin. 

Tang vs. Nihal: 12-14

Tang vs. Nihal was a true duel between bullet virtuosos and the closest match of the day. The scoreboard flashed between a tie and a slight lead in each player's favor many times. 

With three minutes on the match clock, Nihal brought his lead to two points with powerful attacking play. In the next game, Tang fought back from down an exchange to keep himself in the match. 

In overtime, Tang used premove "bullet triangulation" to flag Nihal and tie the score.

Soon Tang himself was on the verge of taking the match when Nihal fought back under pressure. 

Overtime raged on for nine games before Nihal triumphed. 

Naroditsky vs. Bortnyk: 10.5-8.5

Tied for much of their match, Naroditsky and Bortnyk fought to tip the scales in their respective favor. In the end, Naroditsky came through, winning the last game to reach the needed two-point margin and advance. Many of his wins were from sacrifice-fueled king attacks. 

Winners Round 1 - Part 2

Part two saw the reigning champion, Nakamura, and the 2021 champion, Firouzja, enter the fray. Nakamura won his match vs. GM Christopher Yoo by a 10-point margin. Despite the lopsided score, Yoo did pull off an amazing victory in game three, capitalizing on his edge despite Nakamura's resourceful counter.

Firouzja beat GM Vladimir Fedoseev with a 12-7 score. Paravyan defeated GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave by a surprising eight-point margin. Despite this, Vachier-Lagrave conjured a beautiful attack in game seven. 

Sevian gained a four-point lead early in his match vs. GM Jose Martinez. Yet in the last quarter, Martinez began a comeback. He won four games in a row, including one with a stunning double-check checkmate.

With two minutes left on the match clock, Martinez tied up the match. In the end, Sevian prevailed in overtime.

Nakamura vs. Paravyan: 13.5-5.5

Nakamura took the early lead, but Paravyan began to plant the seeds of a comeback. After a quick checkmate in game seven, he won a full rook in the next. Yet, Nakamura created tremendous kingside pressure and stole the point in the end.

From there, Nakamura continued to grow his lead, ultimately winning 13.5-5.5. 

Sevian vs. Firouzja: 13-4

Sevian's bullet strength has been the surprise of the event so far. Facing Firouzja, Sevian took a five-point lead. 

Firouzja tried to mount a comeback, but in game 12, disaster befell him in a four-queen ending. With a missed mate looming, Firouzja hung not one but both of his queens.

Firouzja was unable to recover, and Sevian won nearly all the rest of the games, scoring 13-4. 

After the match, Sevian shared: "I don't play bullet every week or every month, but there are times when I just play for hours on end. I've never actually played the BCC, so this is my first attempt this year."

There are times when I just play [bullet] for hours on end.

—Sam Sevian

On day two, we will see how Sevian fares vs. bullet-fanatic Naroditsky. Three-time champion Nakamura will face the formidable Nihal. Meanwhile, the 12 grandmasters in the Losers Bracket, including Firouzja and Tang, will duke it out for a second chance. 

How to watch?
You can watch the 2024 Bullet Chess Championship on Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on the Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube.com/ChesscomLive.
Live broadcast of Monday's matches, hosted by GM Benjamin Bok and IM Kassa Korley.

The Bullet Chess Championship 2024 (BCC) is Chess.com's most elite bullet chess event where players compete to see who's the fastest chess player in the world. The event's qualifiers happened on May 14, with the main event occurring on June 10 through 13. Players compete for their share of the $100,000 prize fund.


Previous coverage

NM_Vanessa
NM Vanessa West

Vanessa West is a National Master, a chess teacher, and a writer for Chess.com. In 2017, they won the Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow them on X: Vanessa__West

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