MI Eric Rosen defeated MI Tania Sachdev in their Round of 16 of the 2022 I’M Not A GM Speed Chess Championship. Suffering just two losses in the entire game, the American streamer thrived in the 3+1 and 1+1 segments in particular, with an 11-game winning streak at one point.
The next round of 16 of the IMSCC, between IM Polina Shuvalova and IM David Pruess, begins on May 25 at 10 a.m. PT / 7 p.m. Central Europe.
Blitz 5|1: Rosen-Sachdev 5.5-1.5
The first segment of the match saw, in general, better checks from Rosen than his opponent. Sachdev was often able to create counterplay in multiple positions for the tie or more, but too many time issues allowed Rosen to take an early lead.
The most insightful part of the graph below has to be the total number of Sachdev games online. While she enjoys a higher FIDE Classic rating than Rosen, he showed better form in the online format on Tuesday.
The first match was in Rosen’s favor as he played the London System with White – a reliable weapon he would stick with for the majority of the match – and eventually won two pawns. Sachdev fought well, but just when she counterplayed enough for the tie, she blundered in time, a hair’s breadth from getting a rook and two rook and three draws. Whether it was nerfs or rusting over time, losses like this would repeat themselves throughout the game.
In game two, the three-time Commonwealth Women’s Chess Champion castled with the white pieces in Queen’s Gambit Declined (translating very quickly into Queen’s Gambit Accepted territory). At the end of the mid game, Rosen rolled his queen side pawns onto the board and the engine said 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. It would, however, be the only full point she would score until the penultimate game of the game.
Rosen returned to action and fought back with a four-game winning streak starting the next game. Rosen played extremely well, but he was also helped by frequent blunders when Sachdev ran out of time.
While, frankly, almost every game was decided by direct blunders, the next game was magnificent in its simplicity as Rosen converted a technical endgame. While the computer thought Black was generally in the game, White’s game was much easier and he was able to generate enough pressure for Black to crack at move 35.
After Rosen had a trick final in the next game, Hess said it best: “Even when she has a chance, she doesn’t have time to back it up.” Good play from Rosen and shaky play in time from Sachdev gave a four-point lead.
The last game of the segment seemed like an instructive demonstration by Rosen of how to play a good knight against a bad bishop and pressure a back pawn (on e6). Sachdev, however, managed his time better in this game and was able to hold the draw.
Saving this game would have been a great morale boost for Sachdev before the next game started. Although there was no clear turning point at any point in this game, this stoppage certainly gave Sachdev a break ahead of the faster games.
Blitz 3|1: Rosen-Sachdev 7-1
The 3+1 segment began with players continuing to rehearse their openings – Queen’s Gambit when Sachdev was white and the London System when Rosen was. Nonetheless, the American’s plays always seemed more active than Sachdev’s, whether he was playing Black or White.
Rosen won the first game, and although Sachdev scored two draws in the next two, Rosen was simply the one pressing each time.
One of the two draws was really nice, though, as Sachdev created enough counterplay for a miraculous draw by playing with two rooks against a queen and a bishop.
The next game was Rosen’s shortest win, a 16-shot figure that prompted Hess to conclude afterwards: “She hasn’t found her place in the black side of the London system.”
By the way, that was his win in Game 11, and he would win 12 of the next 13 games, with no draws.
Sachdev attempted to turn things around by employing a Catalan in the following game, a major departure from the White setups she had chosen earlier. But under serious time problems, playing with less than five seconds left, she dropped a track and the game just when commentators started to like her game.
An out of control winning streak continued for Rosen as he was sharper than ever and seemingly clinging to every mistake Sachdev made. With the next win, he took an 8-point lead.
Ultimately, Rosen put together a five-game winning streak to end this segment and took a 10-point lead in the game. For Sachdev, who usually ran into trouble when he ran out of time, the bullets segment would seem more daunting than ever.
Chip 1|1: Rosen-Sachdev 7-1
The first thing commentators noticed was the difference in bullet chess standings: 2367 for Tania versus 2840 for Rosen. With such a huge points deficit, the return was about as likely as a human landing on Mars, and this segment allowed Rosen to really show off.
The streak that began in Game 11 would not end until Game 22 overall. Rosen wasn’t playing perfectly, per se, but Sachdev didn’t take advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves. In the next clip, Rosen goofed (at least) a full piece at a fork, but Sachdev couldn’t find it, and although she was even better, he still won the game – a result that started to feel inevitable at some point, even though he had far worse positions.
“Time issues are not his friend,” Hess said after having another chance to win but running out of time.
In positions where he would likely step down in classical chess, Rosen has shown magic. “How does Eric do that?” Hess asked after Rosen swindled a win in what looked like a hopeless position.
Sachdev was able to win his second game of the game in game 22 after Rosen dropped a coin on a pin (and then the rest of his army), but it was a Pyrrhic victory against the backdrop of his massive and unassailable lead. .
In the post-match interview, Rosen agreed that the London system worked for him: “It’s been one of my favorite openings for a long time”, adding that he borrowed ideas from GM Gata Kamsky in a news line they entered.
Sachdev mentioned that Rosen became harder to deal with as the weather control accelerated, mentioning that she was “signalled everywhere”. Although she modestly highlighted her ‘adoption’ today, the chess Sachdev played were not reflected on the scoreboard and instead were an example of Rosen’s superior time management overall .
Rosen, who recently bubble binged and went from 2600 to 2800 in bullet, will face IM Levy Rozman in the quarterfinals. “I will try to get my revenge this time,” said today’s winner.
All matches – Round of 16
2022 IM Speed Chess Championship Bracket
The IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship (IMSCC) is an online event where some of the best IMs and other guest 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 is a tie, the players play a four-game 1+1 match to determine the winner. If the tie persists, an Armageddon game with a bidding system decides the winner.