Nepomniachtchi Wins Knockout: Rapid Chess Championship Week 12

Nepomniachtchi Wins Knockout: Rapid Chess Championship Week 12

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GM Ian Nepomniachtchi won week 12 of the 2022 Rapid Chess Championship presented by Coinbase, defeating GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov in the knockout final, after also finishing first in the Saturday Swiss.

GM Hikaru Nakamura finished in the semifinals along with GM Alexander Grischuk. GMs Vidit Gujrathi, Maxim Matlakov, Amin Tabatabaei, and Anish Giri made it to the quarterfinals. 

Participating in the event were 28 elite players from the FIDE top-100 list, top-10 women, and top-10 juniors in the world, alongside 10 wildcards. The event will continue next weekend, May 7-8, starting at 9 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 Rapid Chess Championship presented by Coinbase on You can also enjoy the show on Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on
Live broadcast of this weekend's tournament, hosted by GMs Robert Hess and Jeffery Xiong, IM Anna Rudolf, and FM Anna-Maja Kazarian.

The Rapid Chess Championship is a weekly tournament held by It is a nine-round Swiss event with a 10+0 time control held every Saturday, followed by a knockout event on Sunday between the top-eight finishers and a 10+2 time control. If players draw, they play another 3+2 game; if drawn, they play a 1+1 game; and if that is drawn, a single armageddon game is played.


Nepomniachtchi finished first in the Swiss with a key victory over Grischuk in round four. After a series of slow improving moves from each side, the position exploded into chaos with both players aiming every piece they could at the enemy king.

Despite also scoring 6/9 and having the same first tiebreak score as the winner, Nakamura finished second in the tournament on the second tiebreak (Buchholz Cut 1).

In his critical round-eight game against Matlakov, Nakamura utilized his knight pair more effectively than his opponent, especially when he found the surprising 43.Ne6!? to force simplification into a pawn-up ending.

Adbusattorov finished third. In his round-seven game against Nepo, he discovered a fantastic saving resource in a three-pawns-down rook ending.

Tabatabaei finished fourth, also tied with six points. In his fourth-round victory over GM Le Quang Liem, he played a drawish rook-and-pawn ending out for over 100 additional moves to run his opponent out of time!

Saturday Swiss | Final Standings (Top 20)

Number Rk Fed Title Username Name Rating Score SB
1 4 GM lachesisQ Ian Nepomniachtchi 2754 6 30.5
2 1 GM Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura 2844 6 30.5
3 13 GM ChessWarrior7197 Nodirbek Abdusattorov 2687 6 29
4 12 GM amintabatabaei Amin Tabatabaei 2694 6 26.75
5 7 GM Grischuk Alexander Grischuk 2696 5.5 25.75
6 18 GM BillieKimbah Maxim Matlakov 2636 5.5 24.5
7 10 GM viditchess Vidit Gujrathi 2699 5.5 23.25
8 2 GM AnishGiri Anish Giri 2748 5.5 21.5
9 17 GM champ2005 Raunak Sadhwani 2652 5.5 19
10 15 GM GHEEVAM2003 Arjun Erigaisi 2680 5.5 14.75
11 11 GM Bigfish1995 Vladimir Fedoseev 2661 5 15
12 14 GM dropstoneDP David Paravyan 2657 5 14.5
13 3 GM FairChess_on_YouTube Dmitry Andreikin 2738 4.5 20.75
14 28 GM Jumbo Rinat Jumabayev 2422 4.5 13.75
14 27 GM Elegance_Riks Harika Dronavalli 2506 4.5 13.75
16 20 GM OparinGrigoriy Grigoriy Oparin 2599 4 18
17 16 GM LiemLe Liem Le 2630 4 16
18 5 GM Duhless Daniil Dubov 2685 4 15
19 8 GM Jospem Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantara 2678 4 13.5
20 21 GM igorkovalenko Igor Kovalenko 2562 3.5 12.25
21 6 GM Colchonero64 Nikita Vitiugov 2560 3 10.75
22 23 GM Anton_Demchenko Anton Demchenko 2537 3 8.5
23 26 GM promen1999 Benjamin Gledura 2520 3.5 10
24 19 GM vladislavkovalev Vladislav Kovalev 2595 2 5.5
25 25 GM HansOnTwitch Hans Niemann 2513 1.5 2.25
26 24 GM Infernal_XaM Pavel Ponkratov 2538 1 2
27 22 GM Oleksandr_Bortnyk Oleksandr Bortnyk 2564 1 0
28 9 GM Andreikka Andrey Esipenko 2646 0 0

(Full final standings here.)


In the Nepomniachtchi vs. Giri quarterfinal, Nepomniachtchi gained a considerable space advantage out of the Italian Game. After a lengthy period of maneuvering, especially improving his knights to the key central squares c5 and d5, Nepomniachtchi played the pawn breakthrough 32.c4. This break left Giri’s queenside hard to defend, and he soon lost his a6-pawn. Nepomniachtchi pressed his material and time advantages in the endgame until Giri blundered a knight fork.

The Tabatabaei vs. Grischuk quarterfinal was a closely fought match, with very few mistakes and eval-bar swings throughout their four games.

In the rapid game, Tabatabaei gained an extra pawn. However, Grischuk’s knight on the d5-outpost was far stronger than his opponent’s bishop which was blocked and tied down on a1. With an unexpected tactical blow, Grischuk simplified into a drawn rook-and-pawn ending.

The blitz playoff was a Ruy Lopez Open Variation that transitioned into a two bishops vs. bishop and knight ending with equal material. Both players played slow and carefully, eventually agreeing to a draw.

In the bullet playoff, Tabatabaei overlooked a momentary blunder by Grischuk. After this missed opportunity, the game simplified to a same-color-bishop ending with no way to break through, soon leading to a draw.

Tabatabaei chose the black pieces with draw odds in the armageddon. The game traded into an equal ending with Grischuk having a slight time edge in the sudden death time control, and the Russian player soon won Tabatabaei’s a-pawn to win the game with an unstoppable passer.

The Nakamura vs. Vidit quarterfinal featured fascinating opening preparation by Vidit followed by a series of precise moves to gain two strong central pawns, including a passed d-pawn. Nakamura put up a formidable defense, preparing for Vidit’s central pawns to attempt to advance down the board. Vidit made an inaccurate move, pushing his d-pawn too early, and Nakamura seized control of the game, blockading the passed pawn and beginning to advance his own queenside passers.

In Abdusattorov vs. Matlakov, Abdusattorov managed to pull a checkmating attack virtually out of nowhere as his knight broke through in the center and his rook broke through on the h-file.

In the Nepomniachtchi vs. Grischuk semifinal match, Nepo gained a more comfortable endgame position with control of the center and pressure on Grischuk’s isolated a- and c-pawns.

The Nakamura vs. Abdusattorov rapid game simplified into a rook and bishop vs. rook and knight ending with only pawns left on the kingside, eventually leading to a draw.

In the blitz tiebreak, Abdusattorov gained the upper hand by pressuring Nakamura’s f7-pawn from all sides of the board, soon winning it. After he gained Nakamura’s e5-pawn too, he was able to convert the bishop vs. knight ending.

The Nepomniachtchi vs. Abdusattorov final was an amazing fight. In the queenless middlegame, Abdusattorov found himself in trouble with many minor pieces that appeared active but were actually quite loose, serving only defensive purposes.

Though down an exchange in the ending, Abdusattorov set up a surprising fortress, forcing Nepomniachtchi to trade another pair of pawns. With only two pawns left for each player on the board, Abdusattorov looked to be nearing a draw when he blundered his bishop.

Nepomniachtchi had a fairly smooth journey to victory, winning all three of his knockout rapid games. In his winner's interview, Nepomniachtchi commented on the joys of an opponent blundering: “When your opponent blunders a piece, it’s very satisfying, not only on the amateur level, but basically every time.”

“When your opponent blunders a piece, it’s very satisfying, not only on the amateur level, but basically every time.”

—GM Ian Nepomniachtchi

He also responded to the question: how much do players look at their opponents on camera during the games?

Standings, Results, Prizes

The winner of the Swiss tournament is Nepomniachtchi, and the winner of the knockout tournament is Nakamura. Below are the full standings and prizes of the knockout:

Sunday Knockout | Final Standings

# Fed Player Place Prize
1 Ian Nepomniachtchi Winner $7,500
2 Nodirbek Abdusattorov Finalist $3,500
3-4 Hikaru Nakamura Semifinalist $2,500
3-4 Alexander Grischuk Semifinalist $2,500
5-8 Vidit Gujrathi Quarterfinalist $1,000
5-8 Maxim Matlakov Quarterfinalist $1,000
5-8 Amin Tabatabaei Quarterfinalist $1,000
5-8 Anish Giri Quarterfinalist $1,000

rapid chess championship week 12 standings

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