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Chess - Int News

CHESS - Int News 03 Jul, 2023

GCL Chess News: Triveni Continental Kings clinch the title
Triveni Continental Kings overpower upGrad Mumba Masters in first Global Chess League finalSports Bulletin ReportDubai (UAE): The inaugural edition of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League reached its climax in the grand final which took place in Dubai. In a never-before-seen nail-biting ending to a chess event, the winner was decided through three stages of tie-breaks.After two rounds of rapid ending in a draw, and then another two rounds of blitz which also finished with draws, the Champion was decided in a series of sudden-death blitz games where the decisive outcome came in the fourth game.In a spectacular finish, Danish 19-year-old Grandmaster Jonas Bjerre brought victory to Triveni Continental Kings after defeating Uzbek 17-year-old prodigy Javokhir Sindarov in a suspenseful game.Bjerre - who was one of the most inexperienced players in the tournament and lost most of his games, delivered the crucial victory to his team when it mattered. After suffering a series of four losses to Sindarov, in a drawn-even endgame which the Uzbek player decided to force, Bjerre got the upper hand and won.“The last game was incredibly tense. It was really exciting. I’m still shivering”, said Bjerre whose journey in this tournament can be described as - from zero to hero.“Levon (team captain) told me - just fight, if you win this game, you will win the event”, Bjerre added.With this crucial victory, Bjerre not only clinched the title for his team but also won the $500,000 prize. The overall prize fund for the tournament was a stunning one million.The rapid matchesThe Champion was decided between the Triveni Continental Kings (led by one of the strongest world GMs, Levon Aronian) and upGrad Mumba Masters (steered by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the 2021 World Blitz Champion) in rapid, blitz and sudden-death matches.The finals consisted of two rapid matches and the winners had to take both of them. In case of a draw (each team winning one match), the winner would have been decided in a blitz match. As per regulations, the choice of colours was determined by a coin flip. Luck would have it that Triveni Continental Kings will play as White.In the first match, Triveni Continental Kings emerged victorious after turning around games on two boards, winning by 9:7. The key game of the match was played between Levon Aronian who defeated Maxime Vacheir-Lagrave in a sharp and complicated game. In the second match, upGrad staged a confident comeback. Dominating from the outset, they defeated Triveni with a result of 12:3.The tiebreaksWith both sides tied, the grand finale was heading for the 2-round blitz tiebreaks where players had three minutes each, with a two-second increment per move.In a blitz game, the pressure is on, and even the best can make costly errors in a flash. Still, among the 12 players in the finals, four were former world blitz champions - Mumba’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Grischuk, and Triveni’s Levon Aronian and Kateryna Lagno.Triveni Continental Kings played as White in the first blitz round. In a spectacular performance, the upGrad Mumba Masters dominated across the boards. With confident victories on boards three, five and six, Mumba Masters got the first blitz round in the bag early on. The other games ended with two draws (MVL and Lagno drew) while Yu Yangyi defeated Alexander Grischuk, helping Triveni avoid being completely crushed. The final result was 14:5 for Mumba.The tables had turned and it was now on Triveni to equalize. With Mumba playing with white pieces, it wasn’t going to be easy for either side.Tension was huge not just on the boards - the sister of Mumba’s Vidit Gujrathi was seen in the audience shaking from excitement, while most of the spectators were on the edge of their seats.In a thrilling blitz showdown, Triveni mounted a fierce comeback, seizing the victory from Mumba by 13:7 and turning the tide in their favour. With Mumba and Triveni each claiming a win, the ultimate champion was decided in a heart-pounding sudden-death match.The sudden death match was to be played on one board, not six. The board was selected by the drawing of the lots. As fate would have it, the first board selected was number five: it was a duel between Sara Khadem, who came in as a replacement for Triveni, and India’s Harika Dronavalli. Just before the game started, players of both teams entered the playing arena in a show of camaraderie and anticipation. The game between Khadem and Dronavalli was tough. White achieved an extra pawn but it was not enough for a winning advantage. As the game progressed, both sides pushed but, objectively, it should have ended in a draw. But Harika was pressing but with seconds on the clock, the game ended in a draw.The sudden death match continued. In the second drawing of the lots, board five was not included. The draw saw board two selected, where former world blitz Champion Alexander Grischuk went up against one of the world’s strongest players, Yu Yangyi.In a fiercely contested battle, Yu Yangyi managed to create a 2:1 pawn advantage in a gripping endgame. With victory in sight, Yu Yangyi pursued the win, but Grischuk was defying the odds and holding. Amidst the ticking clock and mounting pressure, Yu Yangyi had to settle for a draw just moments away from losing on time.In the next – third (1) - drawing of lots, with numbers five and two removed, occurred. Board four came up announcing a duel between 3-time world blitz champion Kateryna Lagno and India’s strongest woman player and the first woman to become Grandmaster, Koneru Humpy. In yet another suspenseful game, Koneru Humpy got the upper hand against Lagno and entered a winning position. In a desperate scramble, Lagno managed somehow to fight back and draw, to Koneru’s disbelief.Now, the fourth sudden death pair was to be determined and in the drawing of lots board number six was selected - it was up to the chess prodigies to take destiny into their own hands. This pairing strongly favoured upGrad Mumba Masters as Javokhir Sindarov won all four games against Triveni’s board six Jonas Bjerre.The game was sharp and saw Sindarov take the upper hand as in previous matches. However, Bjerre managed to hang on. In an even endgame, Sindarov decided to decline a draw and push. In the crucial moments, it backfired and Bjerre ended with the upper hand and won. As Sindarov looked in disbelief, the arena erupted with applause.Triveni Continental Kings - who hit the bottom at the start of the League and had setbacks with the team - in the end, clinched the title.A spectacular finish to the first edition of the Global Chess League.Scores for Rapid Matches:Match 1: Triveni Continental Kings Vs. upGrad Mumba Masters – 9:7Match 2: upGrad Mumba Masters Vs. Triveni Continental Kings – 12:3Players of the match awards:King of the match: Jonas BjerreQueen of the match: Kateryna LagnoKing of the series:GM Praggnanandhaa R. from SG Alpine WarriorsQueen of the series:GM Tan Zhongyi from Balan Alaskan Knights

CHESS - Int News 01 Jul, 2023

Chess News: An open race for the top in Global Chess League
After a spectacular performance, Triveni Continental Kings join the leadersSports Bulletin ReportDubai (UAE): After a spectacular performance on the ninth day of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League, team Triveni Continental Kings joined the top two squads on 15 match points. In a day which saw the favourites and tournament leaders suffer stunning defeats, team Triveni Continental Kings which had a challenging start to the league and had to replace a player mig-league managed to rise to the top. The race for the cup of the first Tech Mahindra Global Chess League is now wide open and heading for an exciting end.Up-Grad Mumba Masters vs Ganges Grandmasters (10:4)The Up-Grad Mumba Masters were looking for a comeback following a crushing defeat earlier in the day. They had to win the match with as many game points as possible, to rejoin in the race for the top. The tournament leaders, Ganges Grandmasters, had less pressure on them, especially after their immediate competitors, SG Alpine Warriors, lost in the previous match.Javokhir Sindarov got Mumba off to a good start, defeating Andrey Esipenko. Despite Sindarov allowing black to get into a better position, Esipenko undermined the threats from the two bishops pinning his king and in the end overlooked checkmate.Although a pawn up, former world champion Viswanathan Anand knew that the position in his game was drawn and there was no need to push it against the likes of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave so the two decided to call it a day.The match saw a huge upset on board four as former Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan went for a combination which completely overlooked the threat of checkmate from Konery Humpy. Despite her best efforts to find a way out, and with seconds on her clock, Hou Yifan resigned handing another three huge points to upGrad Mumba Masters.Vidit Gujrathi and Leinier Dominguez Perez drew after reaching an even rook endgame. The game between Harika Dronavalli and Bella Khotenashvili also ended in a draw where Black had more chances but white found a series of endless checks.Alexander Grischuk was in trouble against Richard Rapport – in a complicated endgame, he was trying to prevent black from advancing his h-pawn towards promotion. Having played the greater part of the endgame in extreme time trouble is commendable for Grichuk, and he held on and drew.Team up-Grad Mumba Masters won the match with 10:4. An important respite for them after two defeats.Triveni Continental Kings vs Balan Alaskan Knights (10:9)Buoyed by their success earlier in the day in defeating SG Alpine Warriors, the team of Triveni Continental Kings had a huge opportunity in front of them. If they beat the Balan Alaskan Knights, they would have joined the leaders of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League. With just three victories and five defeats, the team of Balan Alaskan Knights also needed to win.Triveni Continental Kings started with a lucky break as Sara Khadem defeated Nino Bastiashvili, after she overlooked a piece in an even endgame. Yu Yangyi and Nodirbek Abdusattorov drew their game where both sides managed to hold an even position throughout.The next game to finish was between Kateryna Lagno and Tan Zhongyi. In an even position, Lagno chose the wrong continuation, giving a huge initiative to Tan. Lagno gave up a rook for a bishop and a pawn, but her position was shattered and eventually lost.The sharpest game of the match was played between Teimour Radjabov and Wei Yi. Radjabov was defending well in a complicated position. At one point, Wei forced too much and blundered, but in time trouble Radjaov misplayed. Towards the end, White promoted another queen and the game was lost for Black.In his second win of the day, Levon Aronian defeated the two-time candidate for World Champion, Ian Nepomniachtchi. In an even endgame, Nepomniachtchi lost a pawn but was still in the game. However, in a critical moment, Nepomniachtchi made a huge blunder and ended up with a knight for a rook and completely lost. With this victory, Triveni Continental Kings secured victory in the match.Balan Alaskan Knights had the final victory of the match, as Jonas Bjerre suffered a loss to Raunak Sadhwani.

CHESS - Int News 30 Jun, 2023

Chess News: Ganges Grandmasters reclaims lead in Global League
Sports Bulletin ReportDubai (UAE):-The Triveni Continental Kings secured a hard-fought victory with a score of 10-9 against the Chingari Gulf Titans in a tense round-eight match of the league, led by a crucial win from substitute player Sara Khadem.Ganges Grandmasters made an important comeback after two losses, defeating Balan Alaskan Knights with 8:7, in a tense match decided by a game which lasted 114 moves.Chingari Gulf Titans vs Triveni Continental Kings (9:10)Both the Titans and the Kings started round eight at the bottom of the scoreboard, struggling in the league. Both teams had won two matches each, but the Titans had an additional match draw, giving them a total of seven match points, one more than the Kings.The previous match between these two teams ended in a draw. This was one of the last chances for the Kings team to turn their fortune around and they had to do it with black pieces. After about thirty minutes of play with mostly balanced positions, the tide started to turn.First Titans’ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated Yu Yangyi as Black, after the Chinese Grandmaster made an error in the middlegame and had to exchange his queen, entering a completely lost position. Then, Nihal Sarin defeated Jonas Buhl Bjerre after White made a mistake in the endgame, bringing the Titans’ advantage to eight points.It seemed like the Kings were once again heading towards a difficult situation. However, fortune smiled upon them as Levon Aronian seized his advantage against Duda and confidently brought his opponent to defeat. After a mistake in the early stages of the middlegame by Kings’ Dubov, Wei Yi got the initiative and eventually ended up with as many as four free pawns on the queenside, and won the game.Alexandra Kosteniuk and Kateryna Lagno drew their game, bringing the score to 9:7 in favour of the Chingari Gulf Titans. The fate of the match rested on the game between Sara Khadem and Polina Shuvalova. The Kings needed a win to secure the match, while a draw would be sufficient for the Titans.Luckily for the Kings, Sara Khadem (who came in as a replacement for Nana Dzagnidze who left the event for personal reasons) scored a confident – and, as it turned out - crucial victory, bringing the result to 10:9 for the Kings. A well-deserved triumph for the Triveni team.“We just told ourselves that we haven’t been playing well. We should win every single match but let’s go match by match”, said team leader Levon Aronian in the post-game interview. Still, a tough path lies ahead for both teams.Balan Alaskan Knights Vs Ganges Grandmasters (8:7)Ganges Grandmasters were dominating the League from the outset but then suffered two consecutive defeats, leaving them on 12 match points and in second place. For the result, but also for their psychological stability, Ganges Grandmasters had to make a comeback.The team of Balan Alaskan Knights started the round in the middle of the standings, on six match points. With a two-match winning streak behind them, and playing with white pieces, in this match they had to push themselves further.The first to finish was a game between Teimour Radjabov and Leinier Dominguez who reached a drawn endgame and decided to call it a day.In a match where both sides held their own for a long time, the positions gradually started to look more favourable for Balan Alaskan Knights, but the team of Ganges Grandmasters were fighting back on all boards.Viswanathan Anand got into a somewhat uncomfortable situation on board one against Ian Nepomniachtchi. The two-time candidate for World Champion managed to create two free pawns on the queenside but then came a pawn exchange where White ended a pawn up. Still, it was even and in the end the game ended in a draw.In the duel of prodigies, Andrey Esipenko gained more initiative and had a rook for a knight against Raunak Sadhwani. The player from the BAK’s team was managing to hold the position but it was becoming more difficult, especially as Esipenko created a passed pawn on the queenside. In time trouble, Sadhwani could not keep on holding and the game went to team Ganges.Hou Yifan and Tan Zhongyi also drew their game. Things in the match were going the way which favoured team Ganges as they were in the lead with 7:3.Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Balan Alaskan Knights played a sharp game with Richard Rapport. He ended with two pawns up but, somehow, Rapport was resisting. In the end, Abdusattorov managed to make a breakthrough and win, securing three important points for BAK. Now the result was 7:6, still favouring Ganges Grandmasters.For the second time in the day, the outcome of the match depended on the last game being played. BAK’s Nino Batsiashvili took the early initiative against her compatriot from Georgia, Bella Khotenashvili. Despite having a better position, she dropped her advantage. The tense game ended in an even position. However, both kept on playing – Nino had to win for her team to take the match while a draw was enough for Khotenashvili and Ganges Grandmasters. A series of positional maneuvers took place on the board as Nino was trying to force a victory. Despite her efforts, Khotenashvili did not give way and the game was drawn.Result (Match 21):Triveni Continental Kings 10-9 Chingari Gulf TitansQueen of the match – Sara KhademKing of the match – Levon AronianResult (Match 22):Balan Alaskan Knights 7-8 Ganges GrandmastersQueen of the match – Nino BatsiashviliKing of the match – Nodirbek Abdusattorov

CHESS - Int News 24 Jun, 2023

Chess News: Ganges Grandmasters crush SG Alpine Warriors in GCL
Ganges Grandmasters earn 11 game points, SG Alpine Warriors make 6 game pointsSports Bulletin ReportDubai (UAE):-The second half of the second day of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League witnessed the great Vishy Anand face off against Magnus Carlsen when SG Alpine Warriors went up against Ganges Grandmasters. The SG Alpine Warriors were playing their second match of the day, winning the coin toss, they opted to play with the white pieces.Match 5 Final Score: Ganges Grandmasters 11 (Game Points) – SG Alpine Warriors 6 (Game Points)All eyes were on board one where – for the first time in years – Magnus Carlsen was up against Vishy Anand, the man he beat in 2013 to claim the title of world champion for the first time.Carlsen seized the initiative early in the game. He soon achieved an extra pawn and more initiative, leading to a better position. The former world champion Vishy Anand was in a tough sport – defending a poor position he gradually fell into time trouble. After an exchange of heavy pieces, Carlsen ended up in a significantly better position. In the end, Anand had to resign to his old foe.In the post-game interview, Carlsen and Anand shared their thoughts and impressions on the game and what it means to play one another. “There’s always a special touch when we play”, said Anand. “It was good to play Vishy but right now I am more concerned about my team”, Carlsen added. And he was right. Luckily for the Ganges Grandmasters, they bounced back.Carlsen's attention proved well-placed as the Ganges Grandmasters made a remarkable comeback, securing victories on boards two and five. Richard Rapport convincingly defeated GM Gukesh, while Bela Khotenashvili triumphed over Elisabeth Paehtz. With the remaining three games ending in draws, despite their loss on board one, the Ganges Grandmasters crushed the SG Alpine Warriors with a final score of 11 to 6. 

CHESS - Int News 02 Jun, 2023

Chess News: World Champion Magnus Carlsen to Join GCL
Sports Bulletin ReportDubai (UAE):-The World Rapid Chess champion Magnus Carlsen is glad to joing forthcoming prestigious Global Chess League (GCL), which is going to be held in Dubai, Unites Arab Emirates (UAE) from June 21 to July 2, 2023. The six teams, the inaugural edition will be held at the Dubai Chess & Culture Club in association with the Dubai Sports Council.The GCL will see each of the six franchises play a total of 10 matches in a double round-robin format, with the winner of each match being decided in a best-of-six board scoring system played simultaneously. The top two teams will qualify for the final and be crowned the World Champion Franchise Team. Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen said:“It is an exciting prospect for me to be a part of GCL. This will be something new. Personally I very much enjoy team events and the team spirit within the group. I am looking forward to meeting the other players in the team, and competing with and against the exciting young generation of Indian players. One of the really good things about this tournament is that men and women can compete against each other at the same stage. My family has always been very supportive without ever pushing me, and for that, I’m very grateful. The year we travelled together when I was 13, earning my Grandmaster norms, will always be a fond memory.”