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.
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.
7) Tactics, Tactics, Tactics…
r1b2rk1/ppp2pp1/3b1Bn1/7Q/q3p1N1/4P2P/PPP2PP1/R3KB1R w KQ – 6 18
6) Masterful Maneuvering
5r2/p2q1p1k/5Pp1/6r1/4QRp1/1Bp5/Pb2R1KP/8 b – – 4 41
5) Punishing a Crime
6k1/5pp1/2NQ1nn1/1pPp4/1P1P3p/4PP1q/4NK2/8 b – – 1 32
4) Costly Mistakes in the Endgame
8/k1K5/5p2/4p1p1/1P1pP1P1/8/8/8 b – – 2 57
3) Mate in 3 Finish
4r2k/5p1q/2Q5/2p5/3b1B2/3p2RP/PP2r1PK/5R2 w – – 4 33
2) A Beautiful Combination to Win
8/p4np1/2p1k3/4r3/2P1p1PB/1P2K3/P3R3/8 w – – 1 36
1) Mate in 11!
2r2rk1/ppR5/1n1n4/3PNP2/3q3p/5Qp1/P5PP/1B3R1K w – – 2 28