Chidobe Awuzie gets revenge on Amari Cooper to win the 2022 BlitzChamps

Chess.com’s BlitzChamps ended Sunday when Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie was crowned the inaugural winner of the event which sought to discover the best chess player in the NFL.

The final saw longtime locker room chess rivals Awuzie and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper, face off in a rematch from Saturday’s group stage, but this time it was Awuzie who exacted revenge on his opponent to win $25,000 for his charity after a 2-0 win.

Live stream from BlitzChamps, hosted by IM Danny Rensch and former NFL player and mathematician John Urschel.

Awuzie’s path to the final was impressive and he had to defeat semi-finalist and up-and-coming hall of famer, Larry Fitzgeraldwhile Cooper became the first in the event to defeat the last-minute ringside, the retired cornerback Will Davis, 1.5-0.5.

The parenthesis of consolation corresponds between Arik Armstead and Kayvon Thibodeaux, unfortunately, could not take place due to a personal matter that Armstead had to attend to. The players agreed to split the $22,500 consolation prize equally between their charities despite the game not taking place.


Semi-final 1: Cooper-Davis 1.5-0.5

The semi-final match between Cooper and Davis began with an almighty scare for the best player in Saturday’s group stage. Davis, who surprised viewers yesterday with his ingenuity, tricked Cooper with a timely intermezzo which left him a knight. Although he had to return it later, the retired NFL star found himself with two pawns in a final and pushed for a win. Cooper, however, kept his cool and showed resilience to find perpetual failure after 44 moves.

With everything to play for in Game 2, Cooper used his secret weapon: the Stafford Gambit. Recent I’M Not A GM Speed ​​Chess Championship winner Eric Rosen reportedly smiled from his throne as the wide receiver began a classic kingside flank attack. Commentator Rensch noted that if Cooper won, they would “never hear the end of it” from Rosen and while we haven’t seen a Tweet from the chess star yet, it’s probably just that. a matter of time.

The opening was quite a rollercoaster ride and the rating bar swung between win and lose, but it was Cooper who ultimately took a bite and tightened the noose, winning the match 1.5- 0.5.

Semi-final 2: Awuzie-Fitzgerald 2-0

The second semi-final saw NFL legend Fitzgerald crash headfirst into an inspired Awuzie who was on a mission to advance to the finals and get revenge on his nemesis Cooper. The opener of the match was an 18-shot masterclass from the cornerback who ironically pushed his opponent’s king into the back corner of the board. His execution of a lower ranked checkmate deserved to become a Chess.com daily puzzle.

Fitzgerald did his best to bounce back in the second game, but could not match the precision with which Awuzie played in a seemingly equal endgame of queen, rook and pawn. Clearly a confident player, Awuzie memeed the final moments of the match, pre-moving his entire queen and rook checkmate streak and stepping back to see it unfold.

Final: Awuzie-Cooper 2-0

The highly anticipated rematch between Awuzie and Cooper has finally arrived and after yesterday’s proceedings, it was nothing short of a grudge match. Both players came out of the blocks, showing their intention to win at all costs. Cooper managed to build a promising position after castling next to the queen, but went down like a lead ball after a one-hit error, leaving Awuzie in the box seat.

Taking a 1-0 lead in the final regulation game, the biggest danger for Awuzie was complacency, having already proven he had nerves of steel. His experience on the big stage undoubtedly helped him show up and play his best game of chess in the final game. Cooper tried to throw the kitchen sink at his opponent, but it was like playing against a brick wall.

Claiming a 2-0 victory in the Finals, Awuzie was heralded as the first BlitzChamp and dubbed by his rival the best chess player in the NFL. As the result was confirmed, Awuzie couldn’t help but provide one more entertaining moment by announcing “call me Thanos,” a pop culture reference that commentator Rensch would have liked.

Tournament runner-up Cooper spoke candidly about his chess goals and in particular how he wants “to see people enjoy watching chess and being part of the chess community” and mentioned that flash tournaments and quick are “a great way to do it. .”

Rankings, results and prizes

For winning the BlitzChamps event, Awuzie took home $25,000 for his charity, Awuzie Kickstep Foundation, while Cooper got $22,500 for his selected charity, The Barnyard. The remaining full prize fund and allocations are described below.

BlitzChamps was an event where NFL stars competed in a series of quick games to prove who had the best moves! The event took place on July 9 and 10. Players competed for a share of the $100,000 prize for their favorite charity, not to mention bragging rights.

All eyes are now on Chess.com Global Championship qualifying phase begins July 11, from 5 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. CEST. With a record prize of $1,000,000 up for grabs, this is one event not to be missed.


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