Day six; Global Chess League: Chingari Gulf Titans & upGrad Mumba Masters score crucial victories
Dubai, 27th June 2023 – The Tech Mahindra Global Chess League delivered another round of gripping clashes as the Chingari Gulf Titans triumphed over the event leaders, Ganges Grandmasters, with a score of 9:7. In another intense battle, the upGrad Mumba Masters emerged victorious against the Triveni Continental Kings, securing the win on the final two boards.
Despite the defeat, Ganges Grandmasters continue to lead in the Global Chess League, while upGrad Mumba Masters moved one place up and are now third.
Chingari Gulf Titans vs Ganges Grandmasters (9:7)
The Chingari Gulf Titans clashed with the Ganges Grandmasters in their second encounter of the Global Chess League round-robin. In the previous match, the Ganges Grandmasters had played as white and emerged victorious after winning the coin toss. This time, it was their turn to play with the black pieces.
The Ganges Grandmasters entered the match as the slight favourites – they confidently won the first duel with the Titans with 10:4 and have also dominated the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League. In contrast, the Titans were struggling and were under pressure to raise through the standings from the bottom of the scoreboard.
Being in the position of pressing hard in chess means avoiding calm or drawish lines. It’s never easy to be in that position but at the highest level of chess, this can be extremely dangerous when facing the very best grandmasters in the world. Still, the Titans had to try.
As both sides pushed hard, complicated positions transpired on each board.
The first break for the Titans came on board five: Polina Shuvalova created a better position against Bella Khotenashvilli. In a complicated position, Khotenashvilli made an error in time trouble and handed over the game to Shuvalova and, eventually, lost on time. Soon afterwards two top world heavyweights Richard Rapport and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov decided to draw.
In a chaotic game between Daniil Dubov and Leinier Dominguez, where both sides exchanged advantages, Dubov emerged victorious after time trouble, securing four critical points for the Titans. Nihal Sarin drew with Andrey Esipenko despite having the upper hand for the greater part of the game.
Vishy Anand of Ganges Grandmasters gave his team a respite when he beat icon player and board one Jan-Kryzsztof Duda, but that wasn’t enough for a victory. Despite her efforts, former World Champion Hou Yifan of Ganges Grandmasters was not successful in defeating Alexandra Kosteniuk, the game ended with a draw.
With 9:7, the Titans scored a crucial victory which lifts them from the bottom of the scoreboard. Despite the loss, the Ganges Grandmasters retained their lead in the Global Chess League.
upGrad Mumba Masters vs Triveni Continental Kings (10:4)
In their previous encounter with the Kings, the upGrad Mumba Masters emerged victorious while playing with the black pieces, this time, they played as White. Despite starting the Global Chess League with a win, the Mumba Masters have faced a challenging journey so far – currently standing on 50%, with two victories, two losses, and one draw.
On the other hand, the Triveni Continental Kings have encountered difficulties in the Global Chess League. Although composed of exceptional players and guided by the well-known GM Loek van Wely, the team has experienced setbacks. Prior to this match, it was revealed that Nana Dzagnidze had withdrawn from the tournament due to personal reasons and would not be returning for the rest of this edition of the Global Chess League. Stepping in to fill her shoes is another formidable player, Sara Khadem—one of the world’s top female players.
Both sides were evenly matched for the greatest time in the match. The only one to gain more initiative from the outset was upGrad Mumba Masters’ Harika Dronavalli who was slightly better than Sara Khadem.
As the players were nearing time trouble, things on the boards began to change quickly. Mumba’s Javokhir Sindarov opted for a pawn advance on the kingside which proved to be ill-prepared. His opponent – another prodigy – Jonas Buhl Bjerre leapt at the opportunity and soon got into a very strong position. As they were having less time on their clocks, both players started to err, exchanging advantages with one another and keeping the game open until the end.
By the time Koneru Humpy agreed on a draw with Kateryna Lagno, her compatriot and Mumba teammate Harika Dronavalli was completely winning against Khadem. In the meantime, team Mumba got another strong pin – as Alexander Grischuk was winning against Triveni’s Yu Yangyi. However, it wasn’t a walk in the park: Triveni’s Yu Yangyi is a great defender and as he was better on time, he soon managed to unsettle Grischuk as the famed Russian player threw away his advantage.
As tension mounted across the boards, team leaders and icon players Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian decided to settle for a draw. Shortly after, Vidit Gurjathi and Wei Yi also agreed to a draw, bringing a sense of calm to the match. Grischuk lost momentum and had to accept a draw against Grandmaster Yu.
The fate of the match hinged on the final two boards: Harika Dronavalli defeated Sara Khadem. In an unfortunate turn for the Kings, Jonas Bjerre misplayed his position, allowing Sindarov to seize the advantage and secure a win.
Continuing their unlucky streak, the Kings suffered another loss as the upGrad Mumba Masters emerged triumphant with a final score of 10:4.
Match results – 27 June 2023
Chingari Gulf Titans 9-7 Ganges Grandmasters
Queen of the match – Polina Shuvalova
King of the match – Daniil Dubov
upGrad Mumba Masters 10-4 Triveni Continental Kings
Queen of the match – Harika Dronavalli
King of the match – Javokhir Sindarov