Ray Robson Dominates Puzzle Battle World Championship Again
General Manager Ray Robson won the 2022 Puzzle Battle World Championship which ended on Sunday.
In doing so, the 27-year-old grandmaster from Saint-Louis defended his title, which he has held since the 2020 championship, and landed a prize of $ 4,500 for both sides of the event.
The championship had 16 participants and several stages (read the basics of the championship here).
Once the participants were identified, the first part of the event, the Puzzle Rush Royale, began.
In this part, the players were divided into groups of four participants to determine which players would advance to the quarter-finals. Each group participated in a three-minute Puzzle Rush for 60 minutes to determine the highest score. The player with the highest score automatically qualifies for the next stage. The player with the fewest points of the four was eliminated, and the second and third best players faced off in a five-game puzzle to determine who also advanced.
Group A consisted of CEOs Robson and Daniel Naroditsky, as well as MI Christopher Noe and FM Tanitoluwa Adewumi.
Over the hour, Robson won the group with the best score of 59 points, while Noe, who scored just 47, was eliminated. In the tie-breaker between Naroditsky and Adewumi, the popular streamer proved stronger despite being late for the entire mini-match and took the next step.
The second group included GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, MI Le Tuan Minh, FM Dimitrios Ladopoulos (the famous puzzle solver and competitor of the past two years) and CM David Zhurbinsky, who qualified via Chess Played Quick.
Ladopoulos won the group with a best result of 51, while the eliminated player was surprisingly Mamedyarov, who finished last with 43. The Vietnamese online chess star won the mini-match and moved on to the next stage.
The third group (all CEOs) included CEOs Jeffery Xiong, Hikaru Nakamura, Krikor Mekhitarian and Andrew Tang. The plot took a turn: Xiong led with a score of 52, followed closely by Nakamura and Tang at 51 and 50 respectively. However, on their very last attempt, when time was already up, Nakamura and Tang scored 53 points, propelling Xiong to third place.
Because the top scorer would automatically qualify, these two had to compete in another Puzzle Rush round. The famous streamer won, forcing Tang to compete with Xiong for second place. However, Tang’s opponent turned out to be stronger and qualified for the next stage.
Finally, in group D, represented by GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Raunak Sadhwani, as well as MI Christopher Yoo and FM Sravan Renjith, the young American MI was the fastest and the most tactical by obtaining a better score 54. MVL did the best in the tiebreaker and also placed in the top eight.
The next day, January 8, the players started the quarter-finals. From that point on, they were supposed to play 15 head-to-head Puzzle Rush matches, where, most importantly, it wasn’t the highest result, but the average of all attempts that would determine the winner. This is very important, because consistency would now be critical: a bad result would compromise several excellent runs.
The matches were incredibly exciting and close. For example, after 10 out of 15 rushes in the first match between Yoo and Minh, the average scores were 45.2 and 45.3, respectively. Just an extra point or two from a single Rush would do it or destroy it! After the final, they were tied with 46.6! The three Puzzle Rushes tie-breakers saw two draws and a win for Yoo, who advanced to the semi-finals. What an incredible plot!
In the next match, Nakamura was a bit more precise than Naroditsky, beating him with an average score of 47.3 to 45.8.
The next match was between one of the world’s best players, MVL, and puzzle-solving expert Ladopoulos. Surprisingly, the latter scored a very convincing victory with a whopping 48.8 average while MVL only got 46.1.
Last but not least, in the remaining match where defending champion Robson faced Xiong, the former was faster and more precise while achieving the highest average score of all players, namely 50.1 (!) , against 48.9 for the opponent, which would have been enough to win any other game, but not the one against Robson.
Then the players moved on to the semi-finals.
The first was between Nakamura and Ladopoulos. The Greek player showed that mastery lies in consistency, reiterating his result: 48.8. The popular streamer got just 46.8 and saw his opponent advance to the final.
In the other semi-final match, Robson surpassed his previous performance and eliminated Yoo with an incredible average of 50.3 against 46.6 by his opponent.
The time for the final had arrived. With a new record of 50.8, Robson clinched his third title in a row more than two points ahead of Ladopoulos, who averaged 48.7.
Interestingly, we can see that the top finishers displayed not only fantastic speed and precision, but also very remarkable consistency. Just look at their results: the Greek player almost repeated the same result three times, while the St. Louis Webster University graduate continued to score new all-time highs, always staying above the bar. 50 points. On top of that, surprisingly, the final match was between the same players for the third year in a row!
In the post-match interview with commentators, Naroditsky and NM James Canty, Robson commented on what he felt was different this year compared to previous competitions.
He said: âThis year I obviously knew Dimitrios would be my main competition. However, the biggest difference was that I thought Jeffery was also just as dangerous this year, just because I had played both in the game a bit. during the previous weeks Championship. So this year I had to play both. But I guess it was good to have played against Jeffery in the quarterfinals so I was able to know where my level was before this final match. “
I thought Jeffery was also just as dangerous this year, just because I had played a bit against both in the weeks leading up to this championship. to know where my level was before this final match.
Here are the results of each match.