Last Week To Qualify Kicks Off With Wins For Chigaev, Esipenko


The final week to qualify for the Chess.com Global Championship Knockout Phase began with GMs Maksim Chigaev and Andrey Esipenko winning the 13th and 14th Play-ins. GM’s Pavel Ponkratov and Ray Robson also qualified by each winning second place respectively.

The last two rounds of the Play-in Phase start on Friday, August 5, at 5 am PT/14:00 CEST and 10 am PT/19:00 CEST. For titled players who would like to join in and play against legendary GMs such as Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand, be sure to get verified so you can play in the next event.


Play-in 13

Chigaev won clear first with an undefeated 7.5 points, starting with a 5-0 winning streak. In the penultimate round, he defeated GM Sergey Pavlov in 29 moves by pressing on his weakened kingside.

The highest performing non-GM was once again FM Marco Riehle, who finished fourth with seven points. He upset GM Yi Xu in round eight, gaining the advantage in a queenless middlegame and pressing for victory in 80 moves.

Ponkratov and GM Anton Demchenko finished second and third, also with 7.5 points. In their first playoff game, Demchenko was on the verge of winning a pawn in the ending when he made a mistake, and Ponkratov caught his king in a mating net.

In the second game, Demchenko struck back, gaining a rook and three pawns for a knight and a bishop, eventually breaking through with a mating attack.

In the armageddon tiebreaker, Ponkratov poked holes in Demchenko’s position on both sides of the board and brought a rook to the seventh rank to begin hunting down his opponent’s pawns. Demchenko fought back with his bishop pair, but Ponkratov eventually broke through on the kingside.

By advancing, Chigaev and Ponkratov earn the chance at a minimum of $5,000 in the knockout phase along with their respective Play-In prizes of $850 and $600. Demchenko earns $400 for third place.

Play-in #13 Swiss | Final Standings (Top 10)

Number Rk Fat Title Username Name Rating Score SB
1 7 GM Fandorine Maxim Chigaev 2593 7.5 41
2 12 GM Infernal_XaM Pavel Ponkratov 2552 7.5 40
3 6 GM Anton_Demchenko Anton Demchenko 2586 7.5 36.5
4 11 FM Marco Riehle Marco Riehle 2549 7 38
5 5 GM Billie Kimbah Maxim Matlakov 2603 7 37.25
6 10 GM shimastream Aleksandr Shimanov 2564 7 33.25
7 9 GM OparinGrigoriy Grigory Oparin 2551 7 30.5
8 76 FM Orest_Vovk Orest Vovk 2275 7 28.5
9 97 FM Tobias_Koelle Tobias Kölle 2539 6.5 32.75
10 19 Sattarov_Bobur Bobur Sattarov 2499 6.5 32.25

*Note a playoff occurs between second and third place for qualification into the Knockout Phase.

(Full final standings here.)

Play-in 14

Esipenko finished first, scoring 7.5 points and going undefeated. He defeated the previous tournament leader, GM José Ibarra, in the last round, fighting for many moves to take over the advantage in an equal ending.

Robson and GM Mikhail Antipov finished second and third, tying with 7.5 points. Robson won the first playoff game by trapping Antipov’s overzealous centralized rook.

The second playoff game was a must-win for Antipov. He spent most of his time trying to squeeze any winning chance out of the position, but ultimately, the two agreed to a draw in a rook ending, and Robson celebrated qualification with a fist pump in the air.

In the post-match interview, Robson talked about his recent improvement in online performances: “I’m feeling great. I’ve struggled in all these Rapid Chess Championships and CGCs so far. Although, the last couple weeks, I’ve been trying to focus more on it and do better. I feel like I am doing better.”

By advancing, Esipenko and Robson earn the chance at a minimum of $5,000 in the knockout phase along with their respective Play-In prizes of $850 and $600. Antipov earns $400 for third place.

Play-in #14 Swiss | Final Standings (Top 10)

Number Rk Fat Title Username Name Rating Score SB
1 2 GM Andreyka Andrey Esipenko 2649 7.5 45
2 15 GM spicycaterpillar Ray Robson 2581 7.5 36.75
3 15 GM Antipov_Mikhail_Al Mikhail Antipov 2549 7 40.5
4 5 GM vladislavkovalev Vladislav Kovalev 2620 7 38.5
5 3 GM LiemLe Liem Lee 2634 7 38.25
6 4 GM ChristopherYoo Christopher Woojin Yoo 2627 7 35
7 14 GM GroovyKettle Robby Kevlishvili 2552 7 33.5
8 12 GM Izoria123 Zviad Izoria 2573 7 33
9 17 GM jcibarra José Carlos Ibarra Jerez 2545 7 32
10 28 IM Coach poker Alexey Averyanov 2454 7 31.25

*Note a playoff occurs between second and third place for qualification into the Knockout Phase.

(full final standings here.)


The Chess.com Global Championship is a worldwide prize event open to all Chess.com verified players. The event has a $1,000,000 prize fund and brings together players from all around the world with chess legends like GMs Alexei Shirov, Vasyl Ivanchuk, Hou Yifan, and many more. The Play-in phase consists of 16 Swiss tournaments which will award the top-two players from each event with a share of the $60,000 prize fund and a spot in the CGC Knockouts.


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