Arjun vs Gukesh: Death Match 2.0

by Sagar Shah
11/3/2022 – This is something that everyone is looking forward to. Both the youngsters are very well matched. What is the format for the Death Match? In this article you get to know not only the format of the ChessBase India Death Match 2.0, but also all about the upcoming Comedians Over The Board (COTB) and the DreamHack Rapid and Blitz Tournament. The Death Match between the two remarkable prodigies takes place on Saturday, November 5th. Don't miss it.

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Chess at DreamHack, Hyderabad from 4th to 6th November 2022

The chess extravaganza will take place in the Hitex Exhibition Center in Hyderabad, Telangana. There's the DreamHack Rapid and Blitz with a total prize fund of Rs. one million (12,0000). And we have the ChessBase India Death Match 2.0 between Arjun Erigaisi and Gukesh. And the Comedians Over The Board with eight of the best chess playing stand-up comedians fighting out each other for the honours. In this article we want to reveal the format of all these three events. Let's begin with the Death Match:

The format of the Death match 2.0:

One of the things we want to do at the ChessBase India Originals Death Matches is to indulge the players in all different formats of chess. Keeping that in mind we have made sure that there is Blindfold chess, Chess960, No castling Chess, Rapid, Blitz and Bullet. It is the ultimate test of all the chess skills of a player. The Death Match 2.0 is between D. Gukesh and Arjun Erigaisi and this is what the format looks like:

Segment 1: Originals segment (80-90 mins)

Game 1 - Blindfold game : The players will not be able to see their board. They will call out the moves. There will be only one game in this round and will be played with the time control of 7 minutes + 5 seconds increment from move 1.

Game 2 - Ritz (Somewhere in between Rapid and Blitz time control) Game: A normal game of rapid with the time control 7 minutes + 2 seconds increment

Game 3 - No Castle Chess: The players will not be able to castle in the game. The violation will be penalized as an illegal move. There will be only one game in this round and will be played with the time control of 7 minutes + 2 seconds increment from move 1.

Game 4 - Chess 960: The players are given a random position from 960 combinations of starting positions in Fischer Random. There will be only one game in this round and will be played with the time control of 7 minutes + 2 seconds increment from move 1.

Points for Originals segment: Each game in this segment will have 3 points for the win, 1 for a draw and 0 for loss.

Segment 2 - Blitz segment (60 mins)

The players are given a total time of 60 minutes for this segment. There will be back to back games with the time control of 4 minutes + 2 seconds increment from move 1. In case the allotted time of 60 minutes is over, the ongoing game will be continued until it ends with a valid result. Most likely we will have six games in this segment. Each game in this segment will have 2 points for the win, 1 for a draw and 0 for loss.

Segment 3 - Bullet segment (30 mins)

The players are given a total time of 30 minutes for this round. There will be back to back games with the time control of 1 minutes + 2 seconds increment from move 1. In case the allotted time of 30 minutes gets over, the ongoing game will be continued until it ends with a valid result (Draw / Win / Loss). Most likely there will be 8 games in this segment. Each game in this segment will have 1 points for the win, 0.5 for a draw and 0 for loss.

Segment 4 : Armageddon (If needed)

If scores are tied after all the finishing all the rounds as mentioned above, the Armageddon will take place. White will have 5 minutes time and black will have 4 minutes time. The white player needs to win the game in order to win the Tournament. Draw is sufficient for a black player for winning the tournament.

Additional rules:

The colors will be decided by toss before the first game of the battle. In case of multiple games in a round, the players will have to play with alternating colors (e.g. if Gukesh plays white in Game - 1 of Round of Blitz 1, he will play with black pieces in Game 2 of Blitz 1 and so on). If the scores are tied and we go into an Armageddon then a toss will be done. The winner of the toss can decide, if he wants White or Black pieces.

No draw rule: No draw offers to be made. The person who offers a draw will be penalized with a loss.

Apart from the prize money of Rs.300,000 to the winner and Rs. 200,000 to the runner-up), this is the belt that the champion takes home

Interviews with the two contestants

On the live chess ratings Gukesh, 16 years old, is number 22 in the world, with a current rating of 2725.5. Arjun, 19 is number 25, with a current rating of 2722.6. I interviews both on Youtube for ChessBase India.

On August 28, 2022, the ChessBase India YouTube Channel reached one million subscribers. It's amazing to see how ChessBase India has become an integral part of so many people's lives!

Read a full report on this momentous achievement here. It contains videos with congratulations from all the top Indian players and talents, and sponsors and well-wishers in general.

ChessBase India YouTube Channel

Full information on the Comedians Over The Board (COTB) and the DreamHack Rapid and Blitz Tournament, including how to register and where to stay, is available here. 


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest chess news outlet in the country.
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Michael Jones Michael Jones 11/9/2022 02:52
I appreciate the sarcasm, Frederic, but yes, Armageddon is another silly term. Goodness knows who thought of it...
Frederic Frederic 11/4/2022 08:41
You guys are right: the name is inaccurate. It's just like the "sudden death" phase of games. That was used for centuries, and nobody actually died. And the grossly inaccurate "Armageddon" -- after hundreds of games the world still exists. Talk about misleading...
Michael Jones Michael Jones 11/4/2022 12:10
@gecian - Rightly or wrongly, chess has a reputation in some countries of being only for old blokes and/or nerdy kids. An initiative intended to popularise the game to a new audience is at least worth considering - although "Death Match" is a bit of a silly term for it. Vidit lost the first one and as far as I know he's still alive...
ranger64 ranger64 11/3/2022 09:34
I find this beyond ridiculous. While I understand that the players are professionals and must go where the money is, as a spectator I want no part of it. In one of the rounds they're playing 'Ritz'. I mean, seriously, where does marketing end and 'stupid' begin?
gecian gecian 11/3/2022 07:55
This sort of commercialization of chess is dubious. Chess is, and should remain, a royal game.
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