Judit Polgar is NOT happy about Firouzja's 268-game bullet marathon

Chess legend Judit Polgar didn't hold back as she laid into young gun Alireza Firouzja for his overnight bullet marathon before today's crucial FIDE Candidates game.

Firouzja, the 19-year-old tipped as a future World Champion, was spotted burning the midnight oil by playing a total of 268 super-fast games over five hours instead of getting some rest before facing tournament leader Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Speaking on the chess24 stream as the game got under way, Polgar said: "That's quite serious. I mean, what kind of preparation is that? The thing is that it doesn't always turn out so badly the next day, but I just think it is not the right attitude in the long run.

Alireza Firouzja has had a rough tournament so far | photo: Stev Bonhage, FIDE

Alireza Firouzja has had a rough tournament so far | photo: Stev Bonhage, FIDE

"I understand he made a horrible game yesterday [against Nakamura] but you have to play all the tournament, try your best, collect some points still, and not throw in the towel."

GM Jan Gustafsson agreed, pointing out that turning up exhausted before playing the tournament leader "doesn't only affect him, it affects others".

But Gustafsson did give the teenager some slack, saying: "He's young, let him play some hyper-bullet!"

Firouzja, in his debut Candidates event, has had a tough tournament and lost yesterday against Hikaru Nakamura.

Polgar and Gustafsson both pondered whether that was the reason - that Firouzja stayed up late playing the American GM Daniel Naroditsky because he wanted to avoid being "on tilt".

However, predictably, the sight of an elite GM playing into the early hours in the middle of the Candidates sent social media into a frenzy. Even World Champion Magnus Carlsen pitched in with a wry comment.

GM Anish Giri also had something to say about Firouzja and Naroditsky's bullet binge.

Firouzja started his Lichess marathon at 12.45am Madrid time before finally logging off at 5.45am. His Round 11 encounter with Nepomniachtchi was due to start at 3pm.

Firouzja may have looked sleepy when he started playing today, but if he wins it would be a real eye-opener.



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