Robson Wins Puzzle Battle World Championship In Thrilling Fashion
Ray Robson emerged victorious after a wild Puzzle Battle World Championship Final against an unlikely opponent.

Robson Wins Puzzle Battle World Championship In Thrilling Fashion‎

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On Sunday GM Ray Robson (@spicycaterpillardefeated untitled upstart Dimitrios Ladopoulos (@jimis989-7 in the finals of the first-ever Puzzle Battle World Championship. In a nail-biter that wasn't decided until the final battle, Robson trailed the affectionately-known "Jimis" out of the gate, going down by three puzzles in a match that both competitors must have known would leave little margin for error.

The action, which was broadcast live on ChessTV, was a highly anticipated encounter featuring the top-two Puzzle Battle players on the site, each of whom holds the current record of 63 puzzles solved in a single battle.

The statisticians at Chess.com considered Robson a slight favorite, and the tale-of-the-tape presented a juxtaposition of two very different solving styles, highlighted by Robson's smooth perfectionism clashing with Ladopoulos' violent, speedy wizardry that has seen him surpass 18,000 Puzzle Rush attempts since its release.

Ray Robson Puzzle Battle Finals
Robson was considered a slight favorite heading into the finals.

Heading into the final battle, Robson found himself down by two puzzles in the offset scoring, and with the two battlers sharing a nearly-identical average puzzles per battle from the beginning of the event, Robson needed a clutch performance to emerge victorious. However, he was up to the challenge and posted a stellar 52 on his final attempt to surpass the player who has become known as "The Greek Gift" on ChessTV:

Watch Puzzle Battle Final Round from Chess.com on www.twitch.tv.

After the match, Robson referenced his heightened nerves that coincided with this special moment: "I look at the score pretty often because usually I see it pass my opponent, but when you play Jimis, his score just keeps going, and you start getting nervous, thinking he might just keep solving every puzzle." The Greek puzzle-solving specialist was happy to be walking away with the thousands he made in prize money over the course of the tournament, "I guess the first thing I will need to purchase is a new computer as I am playing on an old laptop; in fact, it has no battery!"

With his win, Robson takes home his share of prize money, including over $2,500 for his finals performance alone and is crowned as Puzzle Battle World Champion.

Want to get into the action yourself? Battle with other users now and perhaps you will be playing for the world championship next year!

Final scores of the first ever Puzzle Battle World Championship Final were as follows:

Puzzle Battle World Championship Scores

More information on this year's PBWC can be found below:


Here's all the information you need to follow the Puzzle Battle World Championship (now completed):


How To Qualify

Puzzle Battle World Championship Qualification

This year's Puzzle Battle World Championship offers a unique opportunity to qualify for every member on Chess.com. Between November 22, 2019, and December 15, 2019, you can secure your position in one of two qualification tournaments by completing the following:

  1. Stream/Record A Successful 3 Minute Puzzle Rush With A Score Of 35 Or More: The streamed (or recorded) clip must include a full-screen capture and a webcam where the user is fully visible for the duration of the clip. The cursor must be visible on screen for the duration of the clip.
  2. Tweet the clip* at Chess.com using the hashtag #PuzzleBattle: Chess.com will certify your submission by messaging you privately on Twitter. The best submissions will be liked and retweeted by the official Chess.com account. Please give the social media team at least 24 hours to certify your tweet. Posts on Facebook are also acceptable, but you must tag Chess.com for the post to be eligible.
  3. Clean Fair Play Record: The user must have a clean Fair Play record to confirm a position in the qualification tournament. By submitting a clip, the user agrees to a full Fair Play scan on recent games. An email will be sent to the user from a Chess.com representative to confirm entry to the qualification tournament.

The qualifier will take place on December 20, 2019, and will be split into two groups to accommodate all players. To learn more about the qualifiers, click here

Please note that if you do qualify for the Puzzle Battle Qualification tournament, you will have to provide basic information to Chess.com, and will be available on camera for a live viewing audience for the duration of the event.

*Note that maximum video clip length on Twitter is roughly 2 minutes long. To submit on Twitter, please attach a Youtube or Twitch link to your tweet!

To learn more about how to set-up a stream/recording with a webcam and capturing your browser window, watch this video tutorial from Chess.com eSports Producer Aran Graham:

Want to boost your number of Puzzle Rush attempts? Click here to learn more!

    Players

    The Puzzle Battle World Championship, starting on January 2, 2020, will feature sixteen players, four of whom will advance from the qualification tournaments. This year's event includes:

    • GM Ray Robson

    Ray Robson Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Hikaru Nakamura

    Hikaru Nakamura Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Alireza Firouzja

    Alireza Firouzja Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Daniel Naroditsky

    Naroditsky Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Le Quang Liem

    Le Quang Liem Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Vidit Gujrathi

    Vidit Gujrathi Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Nils Grandelius

    Nils Grandelius Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Peter Svidler

    Peter Svidler Puzzle Battle

    • GM Steven Zierk

    Zierk Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • IM Hans Niemann

    • IM Christopher Yoo

    Yoo Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • Dimitrios Ladopoulos

    Ladopoulos Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Vladimir Fedoseev

    Fedoseev Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Sam Sevian

    Sevian Puzzle Battle World Championship

    • GM Parham Maghsoodloo

    Parham Maghsoodloo Puzzle Battle

    Format

    To best determine the first-ever Puzzle Battle world champion, this year's Puzzle Battle World Championship will offer two different formats to test each player's ability to balance speed and accuracy: Heats and Head-to-Head Matches.

    Reaching The Bracket With Heats 

    Just like various track and swimming competitions, this year's Puzzle Battle World Championship will use heats to narrow the field from sixteen to an eight-player bracket. Once the sixteen player field is determined, the players will be seeded 1-16 by the event committee, using a myriad of factors, such as their personal best 3-minute Puzzle Rush score and Chess.com bullet rating. The players will be split evenly into four different pots of four players for the event's first round draw. The results of the draw will be released before January 2.

    Round 1 Grouping | January 2, 2020

    Pot Seeds
    Pot 1 1, 2, 3, 4
    Pot 2 5, 6, 7, 8
    Pot 3 9, 10, 11, 12
    Pot 4 13, 14, 15, 16

    Four groups of four players each will be drawn from the pots listed above. The draw of lots split the field into the following four Heats:

    • Heat 1 (January 2, 7 am PT)

    • Heat 2 (January 2, 9 am PT)

    • Heat 3 (January 2, 11 am PT)

    • Heat 4 (January 2, 1 pm PT)

    Within each group, each player will have six opportunities in Puzzle Battle (against someone in their group) to boost their cumulative score. The cumulative score is the sum of a player's three best scores of the six different attempts. 

    From each group, the winner will automatically qualify to the quarterfinals, while the fourth-place finisher is eliminated from the tournament. The second and third-place finishers will have to play in Round 2 for one final chance to qualify for the bracket. If needed, tiebreakers used for this stage of the event are the longest streak (within the six attempts) and percent accuracy (over each of the six attempts), If a further tiebreak needed, a sudden death Puzzle Battle will be run between the tied players. 

    While four players will directly qualify for the bracket, eight players will participate in Round 2 to qualify. The remaining players will be seeded 1-8 by their cumulative score in Round 1. If needed, tiebreakers are the longest streak (within the six attempts) and percent accuracy (over each of the six attempts), If players are still tied, their initial tournament seeding will be used. The players will be split evenly into two different groups of four players for the event's second round on January 3.

    Round 2 Grouping | January 3, 2020

    Heat Seeds
    Heat 5 1, 3, 5, 7
    Heat 6 2, 4, 6, 8

    Within each group, each player will now have seven opportunities in Puzzle Battle (against someone in their group) to boost their cumulative score. For this round, the cumulative score is the sum of a player's four best scores of the seven different attempts. Here are the Heats for Round 2:

    • Heat 5 (January 3, 7 AM PST)

    • Heat 6 (January 3, 9 AM PST)

    Each heat winner will automatically qualify for the quarterfinals. Over the remaining six players, the top two best non-qualifying scores will also advance to the quarterfinals. If needed, the tiebreaks are akin to the first round tiebreaks but based solely on second-round performance. At this point, the remaining four players are eliminated from the Puzzle Battle World Championship.

    Battling For The Championship

    Starting on January 4, 2020, the Puzzle Battle World Championship will enter the playoffs, where players will face off directly in head-to-head matches. Players will be seeded accordingly:

    • Seeds 1-4: Group Winners from Round 1, seeded by Round 1 score (Round 1 tiebreaks used if needed)
    • Seeds 5-8: Four players from Round 2, seeded by Round 2 score (Round 2 tiebreaks used if needed)

    In this phase of the event, players will play Puzzle Battle against their opponent directly for points.  Points awarded in any round are determined by the point differential in that round (If Player A scores 33 and Player B scores 30, Player A earns 3 points), with the maximum amount of points awarded in any round limited to 10. The head-to-head match will last 10 rounds to determine the winner of each match. 

    If a match is tied after 10 rounds, the players enter Sudden Death Puzzle Battle and will continue to face off until a winner is determined (a player cannot advance on a tie).

    This head-to-head format will be used for the duration of the Puzzle battle World Championship quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.

    To round out the quarterfinals, Firouzja will face off against Yoo Sunday, January 5 at 6 a.m. PST and Vachier-Lagrave will battle Ladapoulos at 12:30 p.m. PST with live coverage taking place on Chess.com/TV for both matches.

    Here is the championship bracket after the conclusion of the four quarterfinals matches:

    The highlight of the round occurred when IM Christopher Yoo upset GM Alireza Firouzja in the quarterfinals. The semifinals will now feature three qualifier winners.

    Schedule

    The Puzzle Battle World Championship will be broadcast live on Chess.com/tv from January 2-5, 2020. The broadcast archives will be published on Youtube and Chess.com/videos. Viewers can also watch the battles on Chess.com/puzzles/battle.

    Phase Date
    Qualifier Application Period November 22-December 15, 2019
    Qualifier Tournament December 20, 2019
    Round 1: Heats January 2, 2020
    Round 2: Heats January 3, 2020
    Playoffs: Quarterfinals January 4 an 5, 2020
    Playoffs: Semifinals and Finals January 11 and 12, 2020

    Prizes

    Puzzle Battle World Championship Prizes

    The Puzzle Battle World Championship offers $11,000 in prizes across different phases of the tournament.

    • Qualifier Tournament:
      • $300 ($150 for each tournament winner)
      • $100 ($50 for the third and fourth qualifier seeds)
    • Round 1: $2000 ($500 for each Heat winner)
    • Round 2: $300 ($150 for each Heat winner)
    • Quarterfinals: $2,400
      • Winner: $300 and advance to semifinals
      • $300 per match split by winning percentage
      • Total Prizes per match: $600
      • Players will receive a minimum of $150 for playing in the quarterfinal round.
    • Semifinals: $3,000
      • Winner: $750 and advance to final
      • $750 per match split by winning percentage
      • Total Prizes per match: $1,500
    • Finals: $3,000
      • Winner: $1500 and Puzzle Battle World Championship title
      • $1500 per match split by winning percentage
      • Total Prizes per match: $3,000

    Puzzle Battle

    Puzzle Battle is one of the newest features on Chess.com, and allows players to directly compete in Puzzle Rush live. In this new version of Puzzle Rush, you can play against a single opponent and face the same sequence of puzzles in a three-minute Rush to see whose tactics are sharper! As you participate, you get a Puzzle Battle rating that will be useful in pairing you with good opponents.

    Puzzle Battle

    Currently, Puzzle Rush and Puzzle Battle is unlimited for Chess.com's Diamond and Platinum members. Gold Members are limited to five Puzzle Rushes and five Puzzle Battles a day. Basic members are able to attempt each game mode once per day. Want to boost your chance to qualify? Check out our membership options here.

    To learn more about Seasons and Puzzle Battle Ratings, click here. To get a head start on the competition, start training today! 

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