IM V Pranav won the Qualifier 2 Swiss stage of the 2022 Fischer Random World Championship on Monday, making him the only non-GM to advance to the knockout in either qualifier.
GMs Alexey Sarana, Vladislav Kovalev, Vincent Keymer, David Navara, and Matthias Bluebaum finished second to sixth with 6.5. GMs Alexander Donchenko and Daniel Naroditsky claimed the last two knockout qualification spots, finishing seventh and eighth with six points.
Participating in the event were 70 competitors—open to all FIDE titled players and national masters. The qualifier continues with the knockout phase quarterfinals and semifinals on August 30, starting at 9 a.m. PT / 18:00 CEST.
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Pranav finished in clear first with seven points, going undefeated. He sacrificed the exchange and a pawn to create an unstoppable attack on the dark squares against IM Denis Lazavik to start his tournament with four wins in a row.
This streak also included a victory over popular commentator, Naroditsky, in round three. Can you find Pranav’s tactical finish to the game?
Despite this loss, Naroditsky did go on to qualify himself. He scored 2.5 out of his last three games to finish eighth, including a win vs. GM David Paravyan where he fought back from being down a pawn.
Sarana finished second with 6.5, defeating GM Gawain Jones in a mere 17 moves.
Donchenko was the only qualifier to have all decisive games, including two must-win victories in a row to finish. In the penultimate round, Donchenko outmaneuvered GM Aleksandr Lenderman, gradually turning a cramped position into one with an overwhelming amount of activity.
Qualifier 2 Swiss | Final Standings (Top 20)
(Full final standings here.)
The Fischer Random World Championship, brought to you by the Government of Iceland and the City of Reykjavik, gathers top players worldwide to compete in a series of classical Fischer Random games for their share of the $400,000 prize fund and the title of FIDE Fischer Random World Champion. Fischer Random (also known as Chess960) is a chess variant where all standard chess rules are the same, except for the starting position of the pieces, which can be in one of 960 semi-random setups. Heavily endorsed by the 11th world champion GM Bobby Fischer, the variant sidesteps opening preparation to highlight players’ true understanding of chess.