IM Eric Rosen defeated IM Tania Sachdev in the round of 16 of the 2022 I’m Not A GM Speed Chess Championship. The American streamer suffered just two losses in the entire game, particularly thriving in the 3+1 and 1+1 segments, with one Winning streak of 11 games at one point.
The next round of 16 of the IMSCC, between IM Polina Shuvalova and IM David Pruess, starts on May 25 at 10:00 am PT / 7:00 pm Central European.
Blitz 5|1: Rosen-Sachdev 5:5-1:5
In the first segment of the game, Rosen generally showed better chess than his opponent. Sachdev was often able to counter in multiple positions for equalization or more, but too many slips in time trouble allowed Rosen to take an early lead.
Certainly the most revealing part of the chart below is Sachdev’s total number of online games. While she boasts a higher FIDE Classics rating than Rosen, he showed better form Tuesday in online format.
The first game went as Rosen had imagined, as he played the London system with White – a tried and tested weapon he would stick with for most of the game – and eventually won two pawns. Sachdev put up a great fight, but just as she drummed up enough counterplay to equalize, she ran into time trouble just a hair’s breadth away from drawing with rook and two against rook and three. Whether due to nerves or stalemate, losses like these would be repeated throughout the game.
In the second game, the three-time Commonwealth women’s chess champion castled with the white pieces in the Queen’s Gambit Declined (translated very quickly into accepted Queen’s Gambit territory). In the late middlegame, Rosen rolled his queenside pawns across the board and the engine declared that he would win for a while, but with both players playing on the raise he made a mistake and allowed Sachdev to level the score. However, that would be the only full point she would score until the game’s penultimate game.
Rosen returned to action and retaliated with a four-game winning streak starting in the next game. Rosen played extremely well, but he was also helped by frequent mistakes when Sachdev was short on time.
While, to be honest, almost all games were decided by direct errors, the following game was beautiful in its simplicity as Rosen converted a technical endgame. While the computer thought Black was generally in play, White’s play was much easier and it was able to generate enough pressure for Black to crack on move 35.
After Rosen primed a rook ending in the following game, Hess put it best: “Even if she has chances, she doesn’t have the clock to secure them.” Good play from Rosen and shaky play in time trouble from Sachdev led to a four-point lead.
The final game of the segment looked like an instructive demonstration from Rosen of playing with a good knight against a bad bishop and pressuring a backward pawn (on e6). Sachdev, on the other hand, managed her 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 stage begins. While there was never a clear turning point in this game, that save certainly gave Sachdev a breather from the faster games.
Blitz 3|1: Rosen-Sachdev 7-1
The 3+1 segment began with players continuing to repeat their openings – Queen’s Gambit when Sachdev was white and the London System when Rosen was white. Despite this, the American’s pieces always seemed to be more active than Sachdev’s, whether he played black or white.
Rosen won the first game, and although Sachdev managed to draw twice in the next two games, Rosen was simply the one to push every time.
One of the two draws was really nice, however, as Sachdev created enough counterplay for a miraculous draw with two rooks against queen and bishop.
The ensuing game was Rosen’s briefest win, a 16-move miniature that later led Hess to conclude, “She didn’t find a foothold on the black side of the London system.”
That was his win in Game 11, by the way, and he would win 12 of the next 13 games – with zero draws.
Sachdev tried to turn things around by using a Catalan in the following game, a big departure from the White line-ups she had previously chosen. But amid serious timing problems, playing with less than five seconds, she dropped a piece and the game just as commentators were starting to like her game.
A runaway winning streak continued for Rosen as he was sharper than ever and seemingly latched on to every mistake Sachdev made. With the subsequent victory, he gained an 8-point lead.
Ultimately, Rosen went on a five-game winning streak to end that segment and took a 10-point lead in the match. For Sachdev, who usually got into trouble when time was short, the bullet segment seemed scarier than ever.
Ball 1|1: Rosen-Sachdev 7-1
The first thing that commentators noticed was the Elo difference in bullet chess: 2367 for Tania vs. 2840 for Rosen. With such a huge points deficit, the comeback 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 only ended in Game 22 overall. Rosen wasn’t perfect per se, but Sachdev didn’t take the chances when they came. In the clip below, Rosen stumbled quite a bit into a fork (at least), but Sachdev didn’t find it, and while she was still better, he still won the game – a result that felt inevitable at some point, even if he was in much worse positions had.
“Time trouble is not her friend,” said Hess after she had another chance to win but was running out of time.
In positions where he would probably give up in classical chess, Rosen showed some magic. “How does Eric do that?” asked Hess after Rosen caught a win in a hopeless position.
Sachdev was able to win their second game of the game in Game 22 after Rosen dropped a piece onto a flag (and then the rest of his army), but it was a Pyrrhic victory given his massive and unassailable lead.
In the post-match interview, Rosen agreed that the London system worked 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 recent line they participated in, borrowed.
Sachdev mentioned that as the time control went up, it became harder to face off against Rosen and mentioned that she “got tagged all over the place”. Although she modestly highlighted her “adoption” today, the chess played by Sachdev was not reflected on the scoreboard, but rather was an example of Rosen’s overall superior time management.
Rosen, who has been having bullet binges lately and has gone up from 2600 to 2800 in bullet rating, will play IM Levy Rozman in the quarterfinals. “This time I’ll try to take my revenge,” said today’s winner.
All matches – Round of 16
Bracket of IM Speed Chess Championship 2022
The IM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship (IMSCC) is an online event that pits some of the strongest IMs and other invited players against each other in a series of rapid 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. In the event of a tie, players play a four-game 1+1 match to determine the winner. If the tie persists, a game of Armageddon using a bidding system will decide the winner.