Blitz chess is the most exciting format of a chess game. Players usually have between 3 and 5 minutes for the entire game, and several times the game gets decided in wild time scrambles. The experience is extremely exhilarating for the players, and audience as well. With less time to think, the game is mostly played on intuition. I have an affinity for Blitz, and shorter time control in general, and incidentally learnt a few days ago that I am the #1 Junior (U21) Rapid Player (15 to 25 minute Time Controls) in the United States!

A few months ago, Chess.com started an online Blitz tournament for Titled players. Known as “Titled Tuesday,” the tournament occurs on the last Tuesday of each month, and attracts a pool of Titled Players, including several renowned GM’s, from all over the world. I decided to play the Titled Tuesday tournament yesterday, which turned out to be the strongest edition to date (probably because the prize fund increased from 1000$ to 2500$ 🙂 ). Hikaru Nakamura, the #1 US chess player, Maxime Vachier Lagrave (MVL), the #1 French player, Baadur Jobava, the #1 Georgian Player, who had already won 3 editions of the Titled Tuesday, were some of the prominent names who participated in the event. The time control was 3 minutes with a 2-second increment per move.

Since I recently started playing on Chess.com, my website blitz rating was 2196, which meant my starting rank was fairly low – 70 out of 100 players. I didn’t mind that, as it meant that I’d be playing more higher rated than lower rated. In round 1, I faced an IM rated 2500 (Chess.com Blitz rating) as Black. The game was uneventful, and ended in a boring draw. In R2, I faced Ukranian GM Vovk Andrey, rated 2642 FIDE. I blundered a pawn early on in the opening, although the computers say it was the best move! But he made an error, followed by the decisive mistake, and I won the game.

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[Event “Titled Tuesday Blitz 3 2”]
[Site “Chess.com”]
[Date “2015.02.24”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Black “Andrey, Vovk”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteElo “2453”]
[BlackElo “2642”]
[Annotator “Chandra,Akshat”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “r2qkbnr/5ppp/2bp4/p1nNp3/1pP1P3/3B1N2/1P3PPP/R1BQR1K1 b kq – 0 16”]
[PlyCount “10”]

16… h6 $2 {There’s no time for a finesse like this.} ({The direct} 16… Nf6
$17 {was completely fine for Black, and I don’t really have much compensation
for the P.}) 17. Be3 $1 {Now Black is in serious trouble.} Nf6 $4 {Played
quickly, but this loses to an elementary sequence.} (17… Nd7 {was the best
try, but here, White has good compensation for the pawn after} 18. Bc2 $14 {
which is what I had intended to play, with the idea of Ba4.}) 18. Bxc5 dxc5 19.
Nxe5 Bb7 20. Qa4+ {and Black resigned as after} Nd7 21. Nb6 $18 {crushes.} 1-0 [/pgn]

That set the tone for me, and I raced onwards to 5.5/6, defeating a Russian FM (anonymous), a French IM (anonymous), FM Eric Rosen (2299 FIDE)  from the United States, and Armenian GM Gevorg Harutjunyan (2459 FIDE) in a cliffhanger game.

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[Event “Titled Tuesday Blitz 3 2”]
[Site “chess.com”]
[Date “2015.02.24”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Harutjunyan, Gevorg”]
[Black “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Result “0-1”]
[WhiteElo “2459”]
[BlackElo “2453”]
[Annotator “Chandra,Akshat”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “3r4/PB3kpp/1n3p2/5p2/1p6/4R3/2P3PP/1K6 b – – 0 32”]
[PlyCount “109”]

{I’m totally busted here, as White’s a7 pawn, supported perfectly by the b7 B,
is absolutely monstrous. With my time dwindling down to 13 seconds, while my
opponent had a minute, I played} 32… Rd1+ 33. Ka2 $4 (33. Kb2 {was winning
for White, and now I will lose my b6 N by force.} Rd8 (33… Nc4+ {doesn’t work
} 34. Kb3 Nxe3 35. a8=Q $18) 34. Rd3 Re8 35. Rb3 $18) {It took me 7 seconds,
but I realized that my opponent had blundered and now it’s me who’s winning!}
33… Rd7 $1 34. a8=Q Nxa8 35. Bxa8 Ra7+ {That’s what my opponent missed.} 36.
Kb3 Rxa8 37. Kxb4 {Since I had only 10 seconds here, I decided to give some
checks, to gain some time.} Rb8+ 38. Kc4 Rc8+ 39. Kb3 Rb8+ 40. Ka2 Ra8+ 41. Kb2
Rb8+ 42. Kc1 Rb5 {Now it’s time to show some endgame technique :D.} 43. c3 Re5
44. Rd3 Ke6 45. Kd2 f4 46. c4 g5 47. Rd8 Kf5 48. Kd3 Re3+ 49. Kd2 Re5 50. Kd3
h5 51. Rh8 h4 52. Kd4 Re2 53. c5 Rxg2 54. c6 Rc2 55. Kd5 Rd2+ 56. Kc5 f3 57.
Ra8 Rc2+ 58. Kd6 f2 59. Ra1 g4 60. c7 Rxc7 61. Kxc7 g3 62. hxg3 hxg3 63. Rf1
Kg4 64. Kd6 f5 65. Ke5 g2 66. Rxf2 g1=Q 67. Rf4+ Kg3 68. Rxf5 {This endgame is
easily won for the side with the Q, but with only a few seconds on one’s clock,
it can create some practical problems.} Qe3+ 69. Kf6 Kg4 70. Re5 Qd4 71. Ke6
Kf4 72. Rd5 Qc4 73. Kd6 Ke4 74. Re5+ Kd4 75. Rf5 Qa6+ 76. Ke7 Qb7+ 77. Ke6 Qc6+
78. Ke7 Ke4 79. Rf6 Qc7+ 80. Ke6 Qc4+ 81. Kd6 Qd4+ 82. Ke6 Qd5+ 83. Ke7 Ke5 84.
Rf8 Qb7+ 85. Kd8 Ke6 86. Re8+ Kd6 0-1 [/pgn]

I was now tied for second with 2 other GM’s, heading into the home stretch. In R7, I was White against the #1 French player MVL! I played poorly, and my opponent outplayed me and had a nearly-winning advantage. But then he made a blunder, and I realized that I might have a win, but messed up the move-order, and played a losing move instead. MVL found the only move that wins for him, and won the game shortly after.

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[Event “Titled Tuesday Blitz 3 2 “]
[Site “Chess.com”]
[Date “2015.02.25”]
[Round “7”]
[White “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Black “Lagrave Vachier, Maxime”]
[Result “0-1”]
[WhiteElo “2453”]
[BlackElo “2765”]
[Annotator “Chandra,Akshat”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “3r1k2/ppb1q1pp/5p2/2P1N2n/2Q1pP2/1P5P/PB4P1/5RK1 w – – 0 24”]
[PlyCount “34”]
[SourceDate “2015.02.25”]

{With 10 seconds on my clock, I suddenly got an idea of playing Ba3 with the
idea of c6. But I messed up the move-order, and instead played} 24. c6 $2 {
which would be winning if not for …} (24. Ba3 $3 {Even though I didn’t play
this, I was quite happy that I had the idea in my mind during the game. Now …
b5 doesn’t work as White just takes en passant with cxb6.} fxe5 25. fxe5+ Ke8
26. Qb5+ $1 Rd7 (26… Qd7 27. Rf8+ $3 Kxf8 28. c6+ Qe7 29. Bxe7+ Kxe7 30. Qxb7
$18) 27. e6 $3 Qxe6 28. c6 $1 Nf4 29. cxd7+ $18 {with a winning position for
White. However, it’s more than likely that I wouldn’t have found the follow up
to Ba3 with only seconds on the clock in the game, but still, it’s definitely
an aesthetically pleasing combination.}) 24… b5 $1 {A strong reply from my
opponent which I missed. Now Black wins.} 25. Qxb5 fxe5 26. fxe5+ Kg8 27. e6
Ng3 28. Rf7 Rd1+ 29. Kf2 Rf1+ 30. Qxf1 Qc5+ 31. Ke1 Ba5+ 32. Kd1 Nxf1 33. Rxg7+
Kf8 34. Rf7+ Ke8 35. Rxf1 Qd5+ 36. Kc1 Qd2+ 37. Kb1 Qd3+ 38. Kc1 Bd2+ 39. Kd1
Bc3+ 40. Kc1 Qd2+ {and I figured he was strong enough to see …Qxb2# on the
next move.} 0-1[/pgn]

I lost the 8th round to an IM from Argentina, but was able to rebound in the last round, and beat a very strong blitz player, GM Igor Kovalenko (2656 FIDE, 2700 FIDE Blitz!) as Black. I finished tied 3rd on points with 6.5/9, and 10th on tiebreaks. The tournament was won by GM’s Eltaj Safarli (2641 FIDE) from Azerbaijan, Jose Carlos Ibarra Jerez (2537 FIDE), and (of course) the #1 Georgian player, Baadur Jobava (2696 FIDE).

Overall, it was an extremely thrilling tournament, and I was happy with how I played. The next Titled Tuesday is on March 3 2:00 EST, so don’t forget to tune in then!

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    1 Response to "Titled TuesdayChess.com’s Online Blitz Tournament"

    • Vikrant

      Congrats Akshat on your 2nd GM norm !!

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