Nepomniachtchi Can’t Stop Winning, Clinches 2022 RCC Title

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi proved to be invincible, clinching the Grand Final of the 2022 Rapid Chess Championship presented by Coinbase on Sunday. He defeated GM Dmitry Andreikin, who had an incredible run, overcoming GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So to win the Losers Bracket. 

How to watch?


Losers Semifinal

Although Andreikin attempted to press with the white pieces, So initiated a combination that led to many exchanges, and the players soon drew in an opposite-color bishop ending. 

In the next game, Andreikin started his attack with a sneaky maneuver, redirecting his resources to aim at So’s slightly weakened kingside.

As the Losers Semifinal progressed, Nakamura waited in the wings for his second chance at the title after losing in the Winners Final on Saturday. 

Losers Final

Nakamura and Andreikin fought with everything they had for the chance to challenge Nepomniachtchi in the Grand Final. Although their first game was a draw, it was a thrilling duel until the very last seconds. 

In the second game, the players traded queens early in the opening. In the queenless middlegame, Andreikin played a positional masterpiece to gradually grow his slight advantage into a significant one while holding off all of his opponent’s attempts to create play of his own. 

As commentator Hess observed on the broadcast, “[Andreikin] has such great full-board awareness. He has done a tremendous job at giving Hikaru zero counterplay.”

Grand Final

It was a surprise that the qualifying season’s leader, Nakamura, didn’t make it to the Grand Final. Yet, a matchup between the world championship challenger and Andreikin, who seemed to improve with each RCC he competed in this season, also felt quite fitting.

In a hard-fought, highly-tactical first game, the position looked to be settling down to an even endgame when Andreikin lost a pawn while on the verge of running out of time. After this inaccuracy, Nepomniachtchi displayed pristine technique to secure victory. 

In the second game, in a must-win situation with the black pieces, Andreikin attempted to win at all costs, even refusing a draw offer in a worse position. However, he was unable to gain any advantage against Nepomniachtchi’s solid, practical play. In fact, he pressed too a little far and lost tactically. 

In the post-match interview, Nepomniachtchi shared his thoughts about Andreikin’s performance: “First of all, kudos to Dmitry … it’s quite sad that probably after having such a tough schedule, he wasn’t really as fresh against me … Just completely outstanding, and once again, I’m really sorry he couldn’t make his best in our match.”

Final Standings


 

All Games | Day 4

The Rapid Chess Championship Finals is Chess.com’s biggest and most elite rapid tournament. It is a 16-player knockout event with a 10+2 time control. If players draw, a single armageddon game with a bidding system determines the winner. The total prize fund of the RCC is $650,000, with a $150,000 prize for the finals alone.


The Rapid Chess Championship is brought to you by Coinbase. Whether you’re looking to make your first crypto purchase or you’re an experienced trader, Coinbase has you covered. Earn crypto by learning about crypto with Coinbase Earn, explore DeFi and web3 with Coinbase Wallet, get exclusive rewards when you spend with Coinbase Card, and much more. Learn more at coinbase.com/chess and get $10 in bitcoin when you sign up and verify your account.


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