All good things must come to an end, and Chess.com Chief Chess Officer IM Danny Rensch saw his amazing run into the semifinals of the 2022 IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship conclude on Wednesday, as IM Eric Rosen became the first finalist of the tournament. It was a close match for the first two sections before Rosen dominated the bullet segment to advance.
The next IMSCC match is a quarterfinal between IM Polina Shuvalova and FM James Canty III. It begins on June 20 at 10 a.m. Pacific / 19:00 Central Europe.
Blitz 5+1: Rosen 3.5, Rensch 3.5
Even at the longest time control, Rosen gave Rensch a lot of early fits leading to time trouble for the #10 seed, but Rensch got a 1-1 split with a save in the second game. The back-and-forth nature of the match continued in the third game, but this time with Rosen in time trouble, and Rensch took a 2-1 match lead.
The next game was the first draw of the match. And it was not a quiet draw, but another game with several changes in the computer evaluation even before the mutual mad time scramble.
In the back half of the 5+1, each player put together their strongest efforts of the segment. First, Rosen tied the match in game five.
Rosen then took the lead but left just enough time for one more 5+1 game. Rensch responded with what Naroditsky considered his best game of the match to that point, using adjectives like “smooth” and “merciless.”
Blitz 3+1: Rosen 4.5, Rensch 3.5
The 3+1 started much like the 5+1, with Rosen putting Rensch into time trouble and winning their first game, but this time the second game went his way as well.
Just when it seemed Rensch would keep things close, he lost control of the next position and fell three points behind. Commentators agreed he needed the next game and even though it looked bad out of the opening, Rensch came back and kept things within two points.
Rensch then survived an attack and brought the match back to a one-point affair with less than 10 minutes to go in the 3+1 section.
Rosen won the next one to go back up by two with time for one more contest but allowed Nxd5 and it was still a one-point match with the bullet segment coming up.
Bullet 1+1: Rosen 9.5, Rensch 0.5
Bullet was expected to be Rosen’s strong point, but just how much he dominated the segment was impressive, allowing only a single draw in 10 games.
During the break, Naroditsky predicted Rensch might rush his openings in anticipation of time trouble and get in danger early. Indeed, with 10 seconds gone from his clock, Rensch erred out of the opening in the first game.
Rensch got several reprieves from Rosen to save a draw in the next game, but it would be his last fraction of a point in the match. He quickly lost the next game and then the one after that as the match situation began to deteriorate.
The unofficial end came when Rosen went to the Stafford Gambit, the dubious sacrifice he usually reserves for weaker opposition. Even then, the result was the same, and the lead grew to 13-7.
Less than eight minutes remained and there would be four more games before the match clock finally ran out.
All Games – Semifinal
The postgame interviews began with a little visual gag from Rensch who, when asked if he had tilted in the bullet simply ascribed his struggles to “sometimes when it rains, it pours.” Rosen gave Rensch credit in the earlier segments: “Danny I feel like just got the better of me in so many [blitz] games.”
Rosen definitely seems ready for the final, whoever he plays, alertly correcting Naroditsky at the end of the interview that the Shuvalova-Canty match is a quarterfinal. The winner of that encounter will play IM Lawerence Trent for the right to face Rosen in the final match.
IM Speed Chess Championship 2022 Bracket
The IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship (IMSCC) is an online tournament where some of the world’s strongest IMs and other invited players compete in a series of speed chess matches. Each match consists of a 5+1 blitz segment, a 3+1 blitz section, and a 1+1 bullet portion, and the player who scores the most points wins the match. In the event of a tie, players play a four-game 1+1 match to decide the winner. If the tie persists, an armageddon game with a bidding system decides the winner.