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Ray Robson Wins Puzzle Battle World Championship

Ray Robson Wins Puzzle Battle World Championship

PeterDoggers
| 50 | Chess.com News

GM Ray Robson won the Puzzle Battle World Championship on Friday. The 26-year-old U.S. grandmaster clinched the $8,000 first prize in an eight-player, winner-takes-all elimination bracket where players faced each other in three-minute Puzzle Battle.

Robson (@spicycaterpillar on Chess.com) defeated the non-titled, Greek puzzle specialist Dimitrios Ladopoulos (@jimis98) in the final that consisted of 10 rounds of Puzzle Battle. It was a repeat of last year's final, also won by Robson.

In the quarterfinals and semifinals, Robson had beaten GM Eric Hansen and GM Hikaru Nakamura with impressive 50-0 and 45-0 scores, meaning he didn't lose a single individual battle. While his opponents were sometimes faster, Robson made fewer mistakes as he showed almost computer-accurate solving ability.


The live broadcast of the 2021 Puzzle Battle World Championship.

"It feels really good," said Robson in the interview after the final. "I felt a lot of pressure coming to this event. I didn't really know what the bracket was gonna be, who was gonna be playing, until just the other day. When I saw that jimis was really my main competition, it seemed like we were destined to meet in the final, so I was waiting for this match for a little while. I was pretty nervous. I think we both were. I think it was tough for both of us to play in this final."

Both Robson and Ladopoulos are considered to be absolute specialists in solving puzzles on Chess.com. While some people make an effort to memorize big numbers of specific puzzles, according to Robson that's not the case for the two finalists—their secret is to simply practice a lot.

Puzzle Battle Championship scored points
The leaderboard in top scores with Robson and Ladopoulos getting to the high 60s.

Robson and Ladopoulos got their highest scores in the final round.

The Puzzle Battle World Championship was played on the last day of Chess.com's Puzzle Week, a series of five days of different puzzle-related events that had a combined $23,000 prize fund. Teams were involved in Puzzle Rush (five minutes, three minutes, and Survival) as well as Puzzle Battle.

Below are the results for each day.

Day 1: Invited streamers played five-minute Puzzle Rush.

Rank Player Name Chess.com Username Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
1 Hikaru Nakamura (TSM) @gmhikaruontwitch 55 53 54
2 Alireza Firouzja @Firouzja2003 54 55 54
3 Daniel Naroditsky @DanielNaroditsky 54 53 0
4 Andrew Tang @penguingm1 53 49 0
5 Aman Hambleton @KNVB 46 45 44
6 Alexandra Kosteniuk @ChessQueen 43 42 46
7 Eric Rosen @imrosen 43 44 38
8 Anna-Maja Kazarian @annamaja7 37 44 33
9 Lile Koridze @lilekoridze 43 42 40
10 Krikor Mekhitarian @GMKrikor 42 41 41
11 Anna Cramling @annacramling 37 34 36
12 Rebecca Selkirk @HashtagChessTwitch 30 32 28

Day 2: Invited streamers competed in pairs and played Survival Mode Puzzle Rush.

Rank Player 1 Player 2 Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
1 Hikaru Nakamura (TSM) Levy Rozman 63 73 74
2 Tatev Abrahamyan Eric Rosen 56 60 70
3 Daniel Rensch Aman Hambleton 61 66 57
4 Alireza Firouzja Mohammadreza Firouzja 0 0 65
5 Andrew Tang Agent-JL 60 51 54
6 Anna-Maja Kazarian Naycir 32 53 60
7 Alexandra Kosteniuk Rebecca Selkirk 54 48 58
8 Nemo (CLG) Alessia Santeramo 54 55 50
9 Dina Belenkaya Lile Koridze 53 55 50
10 VelcroDot Anna Cramling 38 51 55
11 Sebastien Maze Kevin Bordi 0 54 0
12 Anna Rudolf QTCinderella 37 43 0

Day 3: 16 invited streamers played Puzzle Battle in a single-elimination bracket. GM Alireza Firouzja won this event.

Day 4: Invited streamers played three-minute Puzzle Rush.

Rank Player Name Chess.com Username Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
1 Hikaru Nakamura (TSM) @gmhikaruontwitch 50 49 50
2 Alireza Firouzja @Firouzja2003 30 50 49
3 Daniel Naroditsky @DanielNaroditsky 0 47 49
4 Andrew Tang (C9) @penguingm1 48 48 46
5 Alexandra Kosteniuk @ChessQueen 39 40 40
6 Anna-Maja Kazarian @annamaja7 38 40 35
7 Eric Rosen @imrosen 0 0 38
8 James Canty III @gmcanty 33 37 35
9 Krikor Mekhitarian @GMKrikor 34 36 0
10 Anna Cramling @annacramling 33 31 30
11 Wouter Bik @Bikfoot 27 29 31
12 Nemo (CLG) @Nemsko 0 30 19
13 Rebecca Selkirk @HashtagChessTwitch 26 30 28
14 Angelika Valkova @angelikacan 24 28 28


You can find all of Chess.com's puzzle features, such as regular Puzzles, Puzzle Rush, and Puzzle Battle, at Chess.com/puzzles.

PeterDoggers
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by Chess.com in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!


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