Favorites Advance; Abdusattorov, Kramnik Eliminated

Favorites Advance; Abdusattorov, Kramnik Eliminated


An action-packed day that saw most of the favorites proceed through their round of 32 matchups took place on Saturday in the Chess.com Global Championship. GM Anish Giri was the standout and was able to win all three of his games with flair against GM Raunak Sadhwani, while GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Levon Aronian coasted past their opponents.

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi was able to clutch a win against GM Peter Svidler in a match that came down to the wire and narrowly avoided joining GMs Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Vladimir Kramnik, who were upset by GMs Pavel Ponkratov and Nihal Sarin respectively.

The round of 32 and 16 matches will continue over the next week. The winning players will be flown to Toronto, Canada, where they will compete for the top prize starting on November 2.

Giri jested that his “babysitting experience” was helpful for Saturday’s match as he took down the 15-year-old world-beater Sadhwani in just three games. High hopes were dashed for Sadhwani who was seen as one of Giri’s biggest contenders on his side of the draw.

Giri played some of the most impressive chess seen in the championship thus far en route to a 3-0 drubbing, including a bruising Sicilian Defense where he blasted open Sadhwani’s kingside with perfectly timed dual bishop sacrifices. GM Rafael Leitao has unpacked our game of the day.

Ding looked to be in trouble early against GM Andrey Esipenko who cleanly outplayed his opponent in the first game but was able to clap back in the third as the two steamed towards a 2-2 result. Needing to be split by an armageddon game, Ding embraced the chaos and emerged from the “deep dark forest” with a match win.

Although Ding won his round-of-16 encounter, the world rapid champion Abdusattorov was not as fortunate in his match against Ponkratov. The first four games were positional struggles, and the two traded blows until they also reach an armageddon decider. Ponkratov opted for the Vienna Game: Max Lange, Vienna Gambit and went for the throat. The game was a messy one but ultimately ended in favor of the underdog.

The anticipated match between Kramnik and Sarin did not disappoint. A picture of solidity, the two seamlessly liquidated complex positions into drawn ones. After two draws, the third game seemed to be heading for the same result before the former world champion made an inexplicable blunder on move 59. 

Kramnik was left shaking his head and let his time run down to zero.

Sarin was not a true underdog as he has already proven himself as one of the world’s best speed chess players. Photo: Nihal Sarin/Twitter.

Nakamura continued in his bid to become the inaugural Chess.com Global Champion with a 2.5-0.5 win against Czech GM David Navara. The victory was one of the most comfortable of the day, and the tournament’s top seed will feel confident heading into his round-16 match against GM Leinier Dominguez.

Aronian was also a class above his opponent of GM Maxim Matlakov and squeezed him in two consecutive endgames to take the match 3-1.

Three draws began one of the most exciting matchups of the day and by game four with few cracks appearing, Nepomniachtchi and Svidler satisfied the fans and agreed to a quick draw in order to settle the match in the most exciting way possible, armageddon.

Nepomniachtchi hopes to add two world titles to his belt over the next 12 months. He is pictured here with FM Mike Klein after his first world championship match last year. Photo: Chess.com.

Svidler surprised Nepomniachtchi early with the Great Snake, Adorjan Defense against the English Opening, a defense played just over 100 times in historical master games. At multiple points throughout the game, Svidler found himself with reasonable advantages but was unable to break through Nepomniachtchi’s staunch defense. With time dwindling and no increment to save him, Svidler desperately tried to secure a draw by threefold repetition but ran out of time. 

The match was a close save for Nepomniachtchi who will now face the winner of GMs Teimour Radjabov and Arjun Erigaisi in the round of 16.

Round of 32 Scoreboard

Round of 32 Bracket

The 2022 Chess.com Global Championship (CGC) is the first Chess.com global championship cycle open to all Chess.com verified players. Players compete in official Chess.com verified events for their share of the $1,100,000 prize fund and the Chess.com Global Champion title.

Chess legends, such as GMs Viswanathan Anand, Vasyl Ivanchuk, Vladimir Kramnik, and Veselin Topalov, compete against today’s best (online) players, including GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Ding Liren, Levon Aronian, and Jan-Krzysztof Duda, and more. 

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