Highlights from the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals in San Francisco 

Chess fans around the globe were excited to watch some of our game’s biggest stars competing in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals in San Francisco. The prestigious event took place on November 14-20, 2022. The format was a round-robin featuring eight elite chess competitors (GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, GM Arjun Erigaisi, GM Anish Giri, GM Liem Quang Le, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, GM Rameshbabu “Pragg” Praggnanandhaa and GM Wesley So). Each of the seven rounds consisted of four-game rapid (15 minutes with a 10-second increment) matches.

The San Francisco Bay Area is no stranger to top level chess. FM James Eade organized a famous super tournament tournament in San Francisco in 1995 and the “City by the Bay” has several active chess clubs including one that is the oldest continuously running chess club in the United States. However, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour brings a different kind of energy by treating chess as an e-sport and its rapid paced structure captured the interest of a new generation of chess fans who enjoy watching chess streamers. 

Coach Tortoise was live in San Francisco for the chess event of the year.

I had the pleasure of attending the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour in person at Shack15 in San Francisco and am currently writing a feature article on the event for the upcoming Winter Edition of the CalChess Journal. While working on my article, I began compiling a list of my favorite chess moments from the event. Of course, such a list will undoubtedly vary greatly depending on the individual tastes of the list creator and I am sure my list is especially unique because of my role as a professional chess coach in Northern California. So, I am sharing my personal favorite Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals highlights with the Daily Chess Musings community from this perspective as an educator. Think of it as an appetizer for the CalChess Journal’s complete coverage of the event from my perspective as a chess journalist attending a truly historic chess tournament for California.

FM James Eade talking with IM Tania Sachdev at the Meltawater Champions Chess Tour Finals in San Francisco.
7) Tactics, Tactics, Tactics…

r1b2rk1/ppp2pp1/3b1Bn1/7Q/q3p1N1/4P2P/PPP2PP1/R3KB1R w KQ – 6 18

Position after 17. …Qa4 – Erigaisi vs Praggnanandhaa Round 7.3 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals
Pragg took a break from his chess games to hang out with Chris Torres and James Eade at Shack15 in San Francisco.
6) Masterful Maneuvering

5r2/p2q1p1k/5Pp1/6r1/4QRp1/1Bp5/Pb2R1KP/8 b – – 4 41

Position after 41. Re2 – Liem vs Praggnanandhaa Round 3 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals
Everyone was all smiles at the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals in San Francisco, California.
5) Punishing a Crime

6k1/5pp1/2NQ1nn1/1pPp4/1P1P3p/4PP1q/4NK2/8 b – – 1 32

Position after 32. Ne2 – Praggnanandhaa vs So Round 4.3 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals
4) Costly Mistakes in the Endgame

8/k1K5/5p2/4p1p1/1P1pP1P1/8/8/8 b – – 2 57

Position after 57. Kc7 – Erigaisi vs Carlsen Round 2.1 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals
Behind the scenes viewpoint of Tania Sachdev interviewing Magnus Carlsen in San Francisco on November 18, 2022.
3) Mate in 3 Finish

4r2k/5p1q/2Q5/2p5/3b1B2/3p2RP/PP2r1PK/5R2 w – – 4 33

Position after 32. …Rce2 – Erigaisi vs Mamedyarov Round 4.4 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals
2) A Beautiful Combination to Win

8/p4np1/2p1k3/4r3/2P1p1PB/1P2K3/P3R3/8 w – – 1 36

Position after 35. …Nf7 – So vs Mamedyarov Round 5.1 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals
I enjoyed visiting with GM Wesley So and discussing a little California chess history.
1) Mate in 11!

2r2rk1/ppR5/1n1n4/3PNP2/3q3p/5Qp1/P5PP/1B3R1K w – – 2 28

Position after 27. … Rac8 – Duda vs Giri 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals
Just two Chess Dads hanging out in San Francisco.

See why I chose all of these memorable chess positions and watch them explained in the video below.

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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