Time trouble in Berlin

by Johannes Fischer
3/8/2023 – Those who love spectacle and drama got their money's worth on Day 2 of the Armageddon Championship Series in Berlin. Especially in the match between Andrew Tang (pictured) and Leinier Dominguez, which Tang won in Armageddon. At the end of the game he had one second left on the clock, while Dominguez had spent all his time. In the second match of the day Jose Martinez prevailed against Ray Robson. | Foto: World Chess

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The event goes over seven days and features a double elimination knock-out tournament. The players compete in matches with two blitz games (3+2). In the event of a tie, an Armageddon game follows (five minutes for White, four for Black, Black has to win). But the losers of the matches are not automatically eliminated from the tournament but continue in an elimination group. In the end, the winner of the elimination group plays the winner of the winner's group.

The prize fund is 50,000 euros. Both finalists qualify for the final tournament, which will take place in September in Berlin.

In the first quarter-final of the second day Jose Martinez played Ray Robson. The first game of the two-game match ended in a draw without much excitement, but in the second game Martinez, who had Black and was clearly worse after the opening, gradually managed to outplay Robson and to convert his advantage.



The match between Martinez and Robson was tense, but it paled compared to the second match of the day, in which Leinier Dominguez, with a rating of 2743 currently the world's number 14, played against Andrew Tang, aka "penguingm1", who is famous for his online blitz skills and who is considered to be the world's best hyperbullet player. After three increasingly dramatic games Tang finally won in Armageddon.

In the first game, Tang was clearly better, but found no way to convert an endgame with an extra pawn.

In the second Dominguez at one time was up no less than three pawns, but when the clock was ticking down he lost his extra pawns one by one, allowing Tang to escape into a draw.



So an Armageddon game and another battle of nerves had to decide the match. In the Armageddon game Tang had White and had to win. He was slightly better most of the game, but since Armageddon is played without increment, it all came down to a time trouble brawl in the end.

And that's what happened: pieces flew across the board, moves were no longer executed properly, both sides moved more or less on spec and probably not always strictly according to the rules, but in the end Tang was a little quicker and won on time with only one second left on the clock.



But the excitement quickly died down and in the interviews after the games, all four players appeared calm and composed - they seem to be enjoying the tournament.

Fiona Steil-Antoni interviews Andrew Tang


Fiona Steil-Antoni interviews Leinier Dominguez


Fiona Steil-Antoni interviews Ray Robson


Jose Martinez talks to Jovanka Houska and Simon Williams


Live video of Day 2






Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".