Palo Alto, Calif., Dec. 20, 2017—
Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world chess champion, will play the four-time American champion Hikaru Nakamura in the final of the $50,000 Chess.com Speed Chess Championship, the strongest online chess event ever held.
Carlsen, from Norway, will try to claim his second Chess.com title in two years, but will have to defeat Nakamura, who is a speed chess specialist and one of the most experienced players online.
Carlsen and Nakamura will play live on Twitch.tv/chess and Chess.com/TV on Wednesday, January 3 at 10 a.m. Pacific. Grandmaster Eric Hansen and International Master Danny Rensch will provide live commentary for an expected record audience for online chess.
The prize pool for the match is $10,000, in addition to the thousands already won by Carlsen and Nakamura earlier in the tournament.
Carlsen and Nakamura will face off for more than three hours in decreasing time controls as the pace of chess gets faster, building to a thrilling conclusion with the title on the line.
"We are excited to host this match that chess fans have been waiting for all year," said Rensch, chief chess officer of Chess.com. "This fast-paced, online format provides the best viewing experience for fans and demonstrates that chess can hold its own as a modern eSport."
"I am looking forward to playing Magnus again," said Nakamura, who lost to Carlsen in a close 2016 finals match on Chess.com.
The winner of the match will have bested 15 of the top chess players in the world in the bracket-style Speed Chess Championship.
To reach the final, Nakamura defeated the highest-rated chess player in the United States, Fabiano Caruana, and the 2016 world championship challenger, Russia's Sergey Karjakin.
Carlsen, who will defend his over-the-board chess championship next year, defeated the American number-two Wesley So and Russia's second-rated player, Alexander Grischuk, to reach the Speed Chess final.
International Master Danny Rensch
Chief Chess Officer, Chess.com