The 2022 IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship continued on Thursday with the round of 16 matchup between IMs Alina Kashlinskaya and Carissa Yip. Kashlinskaya was a class above and showed her experience in time pressure, winning by a score of 16-7.
The scoreline did not accurately reflect the gruelling nature of the match and it must be said that Yip was competitive in most of the games but Kashlinskaya was simply the better player when the two were below one minute on the clock.
The next match in the IMSCC between IMs Justus Williams and Chess.com’s Director of Chess Danny Rensch begins on Thursday, May 23, at 12 p.m. Pacific / 21:00 Central European.
Blitz 5|1: Kashlinskaya-Yip 5.5-2.5
Thursday’s match offered ample excitement with two of the world’s best female IMs facing off in their bid for a spot in the quarterfinal against IM Lawrence Trent. Both Kashlinskaya and Yip are closing in on the coveted GM title and were at the top of their respective games coming into the match.
Like FM James Canty III against IM Kostya Kavutskiy, Kashlinskaya was able to get off to a flying start, winning four out of the first five games and conceding only one draw. The players tested each other’s opening flexibility early, with the Modern, French, and King’s Indian Defence all making an appearance.
Kashlinskaya was particularly punishing in the third game where she offered up a Grunfeld-esque exchange sacrifice that left Yip in a bind. Just three moves after the brilliancy, the American IM offered her resignation.
Two games later Kashlinskaya struck again, this time notching a win against Yip’s Modern Defence with a sound deconstruction of her opponent’s kingside. The engines saw one outlandish opportunity for Yip to recover and she certainly sensed it, taking two minutes of her precious time to calculate the position. She was unable to find the correct move and lost several moves later.
Commentator Rozman was put on the spot by Naroditsky to act out his best GM Boris Gelfand impression during one of the games, to which he did the Israeli legend justice.
Yip’s first victory came in the sixth game when she employed an aggressive version of the Karpov Variation in the Caro-Kann Defence while playing White. Yip forced her opponent to castle queenside and was able to dominate the position with well-placed rooks and a centralized queen.
The pair finished with a win each, allowing Kashlinskaya to carry a three-point advantage into the 3+1 games.
Blitz 3|1: Kashlinskaya-Yip 5-2
Yip started well in the 3+1 segment and scored well with her Modern Defence setup. The American prodigy chose to adopt a more defensive style against her brazen opponent which seemed to be working well with the black pieces. The strategy led to several uncharacteristic blunders from her opponent who needed to adapt to keep ahead on the scoreboard.
Yip could not find a way to break Kashlinskaya with the white pieces though, and astoundingly, only managed three wins while moving first in the 23 games played during Thursday’s match, a credit to Kashlinskaya’s spirited play with Black.
One of the key moments in the match came when the players were poised at 6.5-4.5, a Yip resurgence beginning to give her supporters some hope of a comeback. Yip built a strong position playing White, blasting open the fortress around Kashlinskaya’s king but proceeded to swap queens into a rook endgame, with far trickier winning prospects given the time control.
A general rule is not to trade queens when you have the safer king!
Kashlinskaya hung around long enough for her opponent to get into time trouble and Yip eventually flagged, leaving commentators Naroditsky and Rozman stunned, with the former announcing: “That is one of those mistakes that comes from not experiencing enough tragic losses in these types of endgames.”
Yip never quite recovered from the game and went on to lose the final three games of the segment.
Bullet 1|1: Kashlinskaya-Yip 5.5-2.5
Despite a 6.5 deficit heading into the bullet phase, the one thing Yip had going for her is that 2022 has so far been a year of outrageous comebacks that have taken place in almost all of Chess.com’s events.
It was not to be for Yip on Thursday though and the match became too far out of reach after Kashlinskaya won the first two 1+1 games, the second of which included a knockout blow.
Kashlinskaya is no stranger to high-pressure time controls in matches and has been a thorn in many players’ sides in in the last three editions of the IMSCC. In 2020, Kashlinskaya very nearly won the event, making her way to the final against Youtuber IM John Bartholemew and falling three points short of the title.
Snazzy finish from Alina Kashlinskaya as she takes the lead against @fins0905!
Tune it to #speedchess on https://t.co/d7eYWvnVMF! pic.twitter.com/vZ96Do9hBI
— Chess.com (@chesscom) May 23, 2020
Kashlinskaya’s best-attacking game of the match came in the 21st duel where she sacrificed a pawn and a bishop to pierce Yip’s kingside. The blistering assault and subsequent king rout sent a strong message to Trent, who soon after became her quarterfinal opponent.
The current U.S. women’s champion well-known for demolishing attacks, which she was able to showcase in last year’s championship but was slightly off-color in Thursday’s match, missing her chances when they arose. This was summed up well when Yip missed a simple queen trapping in the 22nd game which she later went on to lose.
After 23 games Kashlinskaya stood tall with an authoritative score of 16-7, rivalling Rozman’s first-round 19-4 victory against WGM Nemo Zhou.
Both players appeared in the post-match interview where Kashlinskaya expressed that the match had been “a nice fight” whereas Yip indicated that she had assembled good positions only to “let them get away” at some point, citing her time management as a major point of difference.
All Games – Round of 16
IM Speed Chess Championship 2022 Bracket
The IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship (IMSCC) is an online event where some of the strongest IMs and other invited players compete in a series of speed chess matches. Each match consists of a 5+1 blitz segment, a 3+1 blitz segment, and a 1+1 bullet segment, with the player who scores the most points winning the match. If there’s a tie, players play a four-game 1+1 match to decide the winner. If the tie persists, an armageddon game with a bidding system decides the winner.