The eight players who qualified for the Olympic Esports Series 2023 Finals after winning three matches in Thursday and Friday’s qualifiers: GM Shanto Sargsyan, Sambel Ter Sahakian, Oleksandr Bortnik, Alexei Sarana, Bassem Amin, Maksim Tsigaev, Ngoc Truong Song Nguyen and Alexander Rachmanov.
The biggest comeback of any round was that of Ter-Sahakyan, who won three in a row on demand to overtake Sarana in the Round 1 match. Only two of his players, Armenia’s GM Ter-Sahakyan and Sargsyan, won his three-round streak and had no match losses.
17-year-old IM Emin Ohanyan had one match to go before losing to Chigaev in the final round. Therefore, all eight winners of the qualifiers were grandmasters.
The OES Finals will be held in Singapore. June 23 (date undecided).
look what happened
Tens of thousands of players were narrowed down to 16 in the penultimate stage of the Olympic esports series. His 14 qualified players from the trials joined his two invited players (Amin and his GM Jose Martínez) to battle it out in qualifying for his eight spots in the Finals.
This phase featured an ‘Elimination Switzerland’ tournament with the same format as the 2023 Pro Chess League. Each encounter is a 4-game match, with the higher seed playing white first and the colors alternating between games. Players who lose 3 games are eliminated.
The first two rounds were played on day one and the final three rounds were finished on day two.
Bortnyk was the first to win the game and pulled off an impressive win. 34. Checkmate starting with Ng5+ His sequence continues with natural moves, but the quiet King move at the end (despite the piece being down) is as elegant as it is simple.
The Ukrainian grandmaster finished the first day with a perfect score, winning both of his first two matches. He then took another win on his second day and comfortably qualified for the finals.
Also, the most exciting and miraculous comeback of Round 1 was Ter-Sahakyan’s against Sarana. After losing his first two games of the match, on demand he needed to win two games just to force an Armageddon tiebreak.
He won the next game with a white piece and then the Armageddon game with a white piece to secure the match. 3 wins on demand – no more comebacks in this format.
In the end, both players convincingly qualified for the final. Ter-Sahakyan won three games undefeated, but Sarana never lost another match after this one.
Sarana’s road to glory has been successful, but not without its hiccups. The biggest blunder of the tournament came on day two against Chigayev. After Chigaev dangles the rook with one move, Sarana wrecks her own queen with the next.
In a game between two Grandmasters, one player fails the Rook and the next move the opponent fails the Queen! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/fhpqw75MMW
— Chesscom Live (@ Chesscom Live) May 5, 2023
But he fixed the ship. Sarana managed to win the next game, securing the match despite a creative (but unhealthy) Queen sacrifice by Chigaev.
This win qualified Sarana for the final. Despite losing this game, Chigaev beat his IM Yahli Sokolovsky to qualify for the final.
Perhaps the most compelling endgame of the tournament was Sokolovski vs. Sargsian in the second round. It’s rare to be able to bring out the Grandmaster after wrecking a Queen.
The Israeli IM was able to hold a fortress against the Queen at Luke, even though it objectively shouldn’t have worked. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi shows us how he beat GM Anish Giri in the 2020-21 FIDE Candidates Tournament. They had the same endgame (here he was analyzed by GM Dejan Bojkov) but shifted one file to the left.
I’ve also included a second method that uses triangulation and zugzwang to win.
Despite missing a win here, Sargsian posted a perfect match score of 3-0 over the two days.
The only match to advance to the Armageddon tiebreak was Rachmanov vs. Santos. With his four decisive games (each won by white) tied, Rachmanov scored another point for white to win the match at Armageddon.
However, his cleanest victory came in Game 2. GM Rafael Leitao breaks down today’s game with some good news.
GM Aleksandr Szymanov had arguably the most heartbreaking event. He recorded his 2-0 on the first day and needed his one win in his second to advance. It wasn’t meant to be and he lost all three of his matches. largely A game of chess is never enough.
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