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Rosen Beats Sachdev With 11-Game Streak: 2022 IMSCC, Round Of 16

Rosen Beats Sachdev With 11-Game Streak: 2022 IMSCC, Round Of 16

AnthonyLevin
| 18 | Chess Event Coverage

IM Eric Rosen defeated IM Tania Sachdev in their round of 16 match in the 2022 I'M Not A GM Speed Chess Championship. Suffering only two losses in the entire match, the American streamer flourished in the 3+1 and 1+1 segments especially, with an 11-game winning streak at one point.

The next round of 16 match in the IMSCC, between IM Polina Shuvalova vs. IM David Pruess, begins on May 25 at 10 a.m. PT / 19:00 Central European.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 I'M Not A GM Speed Chess Championship on Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube.com/ChesscomLive. The games can also be followed from our Events Page.

Live broadcast of the match, hosted by GM Robert Hess and WIM Anna-Maja Kazarian.


Blitz 5|1: Rosen-Sachdev 5.5-1.5

The first segment of the match saw, in general, better chess from Rosen than his opponent. Sachdev was often able to drum up counterplay in several positions for equality or more, but too many slips in time trouble allowed Rosen to take an early lead.

The most insightful part of the graphic below must be the total number of Sachdev's games online. While she boasts a higher FIDE classical rating than Rosen, he showed better form in the online format on Tuesday. 

The first game went Rosen's way as he played the London System with White—a trusty weapon he'd stick with for the majority of the match—and ultimately won two pawns. Sachdev put up a great fight, but just when she drummed up enough counterplay for equality, she blundered in time trouble, a hair's length away from achieving a rook and two vs. rook and three draw. Whether due to nerves or rustiness in time scrambles, losses like this would repeat again throughout the match.

In the second game, the three-time Commonwealth Women's Chess Champion castled queenside with the white pieces in the Queen's Gambit Declined (transposing to Queen's Gambit Accepted territory very quickly). In the late middlegame, Rosen rolled his queenside pawns down the board and the engine declared he was winning for a while, but with both players playing on the increment, he blundered a piece and allowed Sachdev to even the score. This would, however, be the only full point she'd score until the penultimate game of the match. 

Rosen snapped back into action and retaliated with a four-game winning streak starting with the next game. Rosen did play extremely well, but he was also assisted by frequent blunders when Sachdev was low on time. 

While, frankly, almost all of the games were decided by direct blunders, the following game was beautiful in its simplicity as Rosen converted a technical endgame. While the computer thought Black was generally in the game, White's play was much easier and he was able to generate enough pressure for Black to crack on move 35. 

After Rosen grounded out a rook endgame in the following game, Hess stated it best: "Even when she has chances, she doesn't have the clock to back it up." Good play by Rosen and shaky play in time trouble by Sachdev resulted in a four-point lead. 

The last game of the segment looked like it was going to be an instructive demonstration by Rosen in how to play with a good knight vs. bad bishop and pressuring a backward pawn (on e6). Sachdev, however, managed her time better in this game and was able to hold the draw. 

Saving this game would have been a great morale booster for Sachdev before the start of the next portion. While there was no clear turning point at any point during this match, this save certainly gave Sachdev a breather before the faster games.

Blitz 3|1: Rosen-Sachdev 7-1

The 3+1 segment started with the players continuing to repeat their openings—Queen's Gambit when Sachdev was White and the London System when Rosen was. Nevertheless, the American's pieces always seemed to be more active than Sachdev's, regardless of whether he was playing Black or White. 

Rosen won the first game, and despite Sachdev scoring two draws in the next two, Rosen was simply the one pressing every single time.

One of the two draws was really nice, however, as Sachdev created enough counterplay for a miraculous draw when playing with two rooks against a queen and bishop.

The following game was the shortest win by Rosen, a 16-move miniature that prompted Hess to conclude afterward: "She has not found her footing in the black side of the London System." 

That was his game-11 win, by the way, and he would win 12 out of the next 13 games—with zero draws.

Sachdev tried to switch things up by employing a Catalan in the following game, a major departure from the white setups she went for earlier. But under severe time trouble, playing with under five seconds left, she dropped a piece and the game right when the commentators started to like her play.

An out-of-control winning streak continued for Rosen as he was sharper than ever and latched onto seemingly every blunder Sachdev made. With the following win, he gained an 8-point lead.

Ultimately, Rosen put up a five-game winning streak to finish this segment and took a 10-point lead in the match. For Sachdev, who generally ran into trouble when short on time, the bullet segment would seem more daunting than ever.

Bullet 1|1: Rosen-Sachdev 7-1

The first thing the commentators noticed was the rating difference in bullet chess: 2367 for Tania vs. 2840 for Rosen. With such an enormous deficit in points, the comeback was about as likely as a human landing on Mars, and this segment allowed Rosen to really show off. 

The streak that started in game 11 wouldn't end until the 22nd game overall. Rosen was not playing perfectly, per se, but Sachdev did not capitalize on the opportunities when they arose. In the following clip, Rosen blundered (at least) a full piece to a fork, but Sachdev didn't find it, and although she was still better, he still went on to win the game—a result that started to feel inevitable at some point, even if he had much worse positions.  

"Time trouble is not her friend," said Hess after she had yet another opportunity to win but ran out of time.

In positions where he'd probably resign in classical chess, Rosen showed some magic. "How does Eric do this?" asked Hess after Rosen swindled a win in what looked like a hopeless position.

Sachdev was able to win her second game of the match in game 22 after Rosen dropped a piece to a pin (and then the rest of his army), but it was a pyrrhic victory in the context of his massive and unassailable lead.

In the post-match interview, Rosen agreed that the London System worked out for him: "It's been a favorite opening of mine for a long time," adding that he borrowed ideas from GM Gata Kamsky in a topical line they were entering.

Sachdev mentioned that Rosen became harder to compete against as the time control quickened, mentioning that she "was getting flagged everywhere." Despite modestly highlighting her "adoption" today, the chess that Sachdev played was not reflected on the scoreboard and rather, was an example of Rosen's superior time management overall.

Rosen, who has been going on "bullet binges" lately and has risen from 2600-2800 in bullet rating, will play IM Levy Rozman in the quarterfinals. "I'll try to get my revenge this time around," said today's winner.

All Games - Round of 16

IM Speed Chess Championship 2022 Bracket

The IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship (IMSCC) is an online event where some of the 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 segment, and a 1+1 bullet segment, with the player who scores the most points winning the match. If there's 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.


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AnthonyLevin
NM Anthony Levin

NM Anthony Levin caught the chess bug at the "late" age of 18 and never turned back. He earned his national master title in 2021, actually the night before his first day of work at Chess.com.

Anthony, who also earned his Master's in teaching English in 2018, taught English and chess in New York schools for five years and strives to make chess content accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages. At Chess.com, he writes news articles and manages social media for chess24.

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