Vietnam chess ace makes impressive comeback in bullet tournament

By Xuan Binh   March 16, 2022 | 11:25 pm PT
Le Tuan Minh defeated Ukrainian grandmaster Olexandr Bortnyk in the loser bracket of Bullet Chess Championship on Thursday.
Le Tuan Minh at the HDBank chess championship in 2018. Photo by Vietnamchess

Le Tuan Minh at the HDBank chess championship in 2018. Photo by Vietnamchess

Minh had a great start with two wins but Bortnyk quickly equalized then led 4-3. He maintained the lead 5.5-4.5 but Minh turned it around by winning two consecutive games. Bortnyk equalized one more time to make it 6.5-6.5.

With only three minutes left, Minh drew ahead one more time and Bortnyk had no choice but to win in the last game. He took a risk to attack but Minh countered effectively to conclude the match 8.5-6.5.

The defeat in the loser bracket eliminated Bortnyk from the tournament, while Minh guaranteed a spot in the top four. He will play American grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky for the third position on Friday. If Minh can beat Naroditsky, he will play Andrew Tang, who defeated him in the semifinals. The winner of this game will face Hikaru Nakamura in the final.

Bullet Chess Championship was hosted by for the first time in 2019 with a prize pool of $15,000. It's considered the top bullet chess tournament in the world. In 2022, the prize pool went up to $100,000. The tournament takes place from Feb. 21 to March 17, starting from the qualifiers.

The main event is a 16-player double elimination knockout bracket. Four qualified players join 12 invited players to play the main event. Players who lose a match go to the losers bracket and if they continue to lose, are eliminated from the event. The grand finals consist of up to two matches, where a player from the loser bracket has to win twice to become the champion.

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