Here's a New Year's treat from Chess.com - the first Death Match of 2014 is planned! GM Yury Shulman and GM Daniel Fridman will play three hours of blitz and bullet chess live at Chess.com/TV on Saturday, January 18 at noon Eastern (New York time), 9 a.m. Pacific.
The Death Match requires the players to play around 30 fast-paced games, ranging from five minutes in the first hour down to only one-minute bullet chess in the third hour. Players aren't even allowed to take a bathroom break in the attempt to win the larger share of the $1000 purse.
These players were seated into the January Death Match (#20), but every other month, any Chess.com member has a chance to qualify. Read about the plans for 2014 here and the rules here. Here's a list of the esteemed players who've already survived (or been killed) in past Death Matches!
GM Yury Shulman -- FIDE 2560. The king of geography trivia, Shulman is a past U.S. Champion and several times member of the U.S. National team. He helped the 2008 squad win a bronze medal at the Olympiad in Dresden, Germany, thanks to converting a last-round rook and pawn endgame in their 3.5-0.5 win over Ukraine. Watch the muted tournament hall celebration here.
GM Yury Shulman (USA)
He also played board three for the U.S. as they won the silver medal at the 2010 World Team Championships. Previously, he represented Belarus at several Olympiads in the 1990s, before moving to the U.S. to attend college on a chess scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas.
Shulman can name nearly every country in the world and its capital, as well as speak proficiently on topics as obscure as Bangladeshi cricket matches. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2648 and, after winning in 2008, finished runner-up in a few more U.S. Championships, missing several times in playoffs.
He lives in Chicago, where he founded the Yury Shulman International Chess School and also the non-profit Chess Without Borders.
Shulman is a longtime devotee of the French Defense, and in 2010 he nearly won a second U.S. Championship after beating another famous American chess player:
GM Daniel Fridman -- FIDE 2604. Like Shulman, Fridman is from a former Soviet country. The Latvian native moved to Germany several years ago, and has achieved similar success at Olympiads, although his glory has mostly been from individual rather than team honors. Fridman has twice won a bronze medal on bour four, the only two times he has played for Germany (in both 2008 and 2012, his performance rating was well north of 2700). He has another bronze medal in his trophy case, going all the way back to the 1992 World Youth Championship where he tied with non other than Peter Svidler.
GM Daniel Fridman (GER)
He has played plenty more team events, both in the Bundesliga and in the European Team Championship, where his undefeated score helped Germany win it all in 2011. Fridman's peak rating was 2670.
He also led the Latvian squad earlier in the decade, first representing them when he was only 20. It was in that same year (1996) that he won the Latvian National Championship. Like Shulman, 2008 was the year that he won the top honors of his adoptive country; Fridman was German Champion in 2008 (he won again in 2012).
Fridman faced a Bosboom special in 2012, and survived to tell the tale:
Be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, January 18, with pre-match interviews starting at noon Eastern, 9 a.m. Pacific. The action will be covered live on ChessTV, open to all members and hosted by IM Danny Rensch and other titled players.