October 27th I played the chess.com GM Blitz battle Championship final against Nakamura. The event (1 hour of 5-min games with 2 sec increments, 1 hour of 3-min + 2s and half an hour of 1min + 1s) is a welcome addition to the elite chess circuit, and the internet is a good platform for chess events judging from the number of online spectators.
We had both qualified for the final winning our quarterfinals and semi’s quite convincingly. Still, I’m not really content with any of my matches. The excellent score (21-4) against T. Petrosian is slightly deceiving; he didn’t put up much of a fight.
The semifinal against Grischuk could have become a real challenge as I was totally off my game for the first three games. When I managed to gradually get back and secure a lead before the 1-min portion, it was over as I won nearly every 1-min game.
The final against Nakamura went more or less exactly as I expected. I continued to play poorly in the Fischer random segment (one game starting each time control section). When I outplayed him in the 2nd game I understood that he wasn’t in his best shape either, and I got a 2-point lead in the 5-min section. Winning three in a row in the 3-min section sealed the match.
Nakamura is a very experienced online player. Especially in 1-min without increment he is a difficult opponent. With increments I expected an even fight, and after he won the Fischer Random the rest ended 4-4 yielding me 14,5-10,5 victory overall. My favorite game was the 2nd game in the 3-min portion where Nakamura had the bishop pair and a clearly better position, and I managed to fight back and even win in the end. Most importantly the match was valuable training before the World Championship match.
The Games start at 2 pm US East coast time. 4 days to go! Follow live at the venue at the Fulton Market building in the Seaport District or at: https://worldchess.com/nyc2016