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Russian Chess Grandmaster “Falls Asleep” Before the Big Game, Loses to USA’s Hikaru Nakamura

Published 02/06/2022, 2:10 PM EST

4 min read

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A chess player must have a fast mind, but often it’s a curse, as you couldn’t get enough sleep. Well, it seems that the Russian Grand Master Andrey Esipenko’s mind is quite fast or he might be a little tired from all the preparation, as he appeared to be sleeping before his match against the American Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura in the FIDE Grand Prix 2022.


It was a game played in round 2 of the FIDE Grand Prix 2022 currently happening in Berlin, Germany. Though the Russian Grand Master look relaxed in the picture before the match, he lost the game to Hikaru.


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Hikaru back in classical chess

The American Grand Master Hikaru, who is returning to classical chess after a long time, started the game with an English opening. It was a very interesting game where Hikaru had a stronghold right from the beginning. Though Esipenko is a remarkable player, who defeated world champion, Magnus Carlsen, in the 2021 Tata Steel tournament, he couldn’t do much against Hikaru.

At the end, the American Grand Master had one very strong pawn island, while Esipenko’s pawn structure was very poor. On Move 46, the Russian Grand Master resigned from the game and Hikaru got his first victory in the tournament.


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Hikaru hasn’t played classical chess since the US championship in 2020. He is very popular in the Rapid and Blitz format and is the world’s number one chess streamer on Twitch, but lately, he was away from classical chess for quite a while.


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Seeing the American Grand Master back on the classical chessboard is quite satisfying. If all goes well for him, he might be the next challenger against the world number one Magnus Carlsen in the world chess championship.


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FIDE Grand Prix 2022

The FIDE Grand Prix comprises three chess tournaments that will be played in Berlin and Belgrade from 3 February to 4 April 2022. It is one of the most important tournaments in the chess calendar because the top two players of the FIDE Grand Prix will qualify for the Candidates Tournament 2022 happening in Madrid, Spain in June later this year.


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As per the chain of the cycle, the Candidates Tournament will decide the challenger for the world chess championship. Therefore, FIDE Grand Prix could be seen as the first step to a world chess champion.

Who do you think will be the next challenger against Magnus Carlsen in the world chess championship?



Saurav Panwar

625 articles

Saurav Panwar is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. A postgraduate in Media and Communication Studies, he shares a profound love for creative direction and filmmaking. Saurav is also an avid reader and a literature devotee whose fandom spreads from classics to sci-fi, non-fiction, plays, comics, and much more.