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Szymanski Wins Chess.com's 35,000 Player Daily Championship

Szymanski Wins Chess.com's 35,000 Player Daily Championship

JackRodgers
| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

Poland's IM Marcin Szymanski won the final round of the 2023 Chess.com Daily Chess Championship by half a point in October ahead of the second-placed "DanilinDP," and IMs Kacper Drozdowski and Mark Timmermans.

This year's Championship brought in an astonishing 35,000 participants, making it one of the largest online chess tournaments ever held. Chess.com also promised a $5,000 prize fund which was awarded to participants who submitted the best video analysis, blogs, moves, and games throughout the event.

The 2024 Chess.com Daily Chess Championship will commence on January 1, 2024, and signups are already open. Remember to enter!

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You can catch up on the games from the 2023 Chess.com Daily Chess Championship on our Events Page.

When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2023, 35,000 players received notifications to play their first moves in Chess.com's most prestigious daily chess tournament. With players being split into groups of 12 for a double round-robin and only one player destined to progress from each pool, making every game vital.

With so many games running simultaneously, it didn't take long for some striking tactics to appear...

For some, the chance to be paired with a titled player was reason enough to join the tournament, and for the top players, winning would give them ultimate bragging rights and an exclusive trophy to be displayed on their Chess.com profile permanently. Several also took the time to analyze their games on YouTube and some won a share of the prize fund.

The tournament's top seed and last year's second-placed finisher, GM Andrei Belozerov, cruised through the first three rounds with a perfect score of 60/60 but was reminded of the brutal realities of a 35,000-strong event when he fell just short of qualification in round four.

Draws against the lower-ranked players in round four cost Belozerov his spot. Image: Chess.com.

Though Drozdowski finished ahead of him, Belozerov went out with a bang and scored a spectacular win against the IM, opting for an enterprising knight sacrifice on the white side of the Semi-Slav Defense: Anti-Meran, Anti-Moscow Gambit. 

The path to the podium was an arduous one and even the eventual winner Szymanski nearly crashed out after a 12-point tie alongside DanilinDP in round four. Despite losing his individual matchup with the anonymous talent 0.5-1.5, the tournament's regulations stipulated that both players would qualify for the final round.

A close shave for Szymanski... Image: Chess.com.

Szymanski believed that his win over NM Leonid Starozhilov was crucial to his progression and he would later state on his Chess.com blog: "There is no doubt that it was thanks to this game that I managed to advance to the final 5th round of the Championship." The game, which followed a book line in the French Defense for 13 moves, was an attacking masterpiece.

Of the 424,652 games played throughout the event, it was unsurprising to see Szymanski continue to pop up in the best moves list, his most memorable being a rambunctious queen sacrifice in round two. His own annotations can be read below.

In the end, the tournament was realistically decided by a single win and that was Szymanski's over Drozdowski. The Bogo-Indian Defense: Grunfeld Variation was the battleground for the clash between the two Polish IMs and though the center became locked in the middlegame, Syzmanski managed to win the exchange and the game.

Standings - Round Five

Rank Title Name Username 1 2 3 4 Score
1 IM Marcin Szymanski IM Tsubasa(2306) X ½½ 4
2 DanilinDP(2142) ½½ X ½½ ½1 3.5
3 IM Kacper Drozdowski IM Kacparov(2190) ½0 ½½ X 3
4 IM Mark Timmermans IM DeTimmerman(2489) ½0 ½0 X 1.5

(Full final standings here.)

After 10 months of play, the 2023 edition is over however entries to the 2024 event are now open. Sign up now to play daily games for the duration of the calendar year, with prizes awarded throughout each round. Titled players, Chess.com staff, and users of all skill levels are welcome to participate in the tournament.

The 2023 Chess.com Daily Chess Championship is one of Chess.com's longest-running open tournaments and this year's 1-day-per-move event had 35,000 participants. With $5,000 in prize money and boasting rights on the line, members had to finish first in their group to progress until one player remained.


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