Day ten; Global Chess League: Triveni Continental Kings to face upGrad Mumba Masters in the finals of the Global Chess League
Dubai, 1st July 2023 – It was yet another day of huge upsets at the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League as all the event favourites lost their final matches. In a shocking outcome, two of the teams which dominated the Global Chess League from the beginning – Ganges Grandmasters and SG Alpine Warriors – were knocked out of the race for the top two places in the finals.
Instead, it will be Triveni Continental Kings and upGrad Mumba Masters who will fight out for the coveted crown in the finals of the first edition of Tech Mahindra Global Chess League.
Triveni’s journey to the top was the most unlikely. Despite setbacks and a rocky start, they made a triumphant comeback with four consecutive wins. Meanwhile, upGrad Mumba Masters consistently hovered near the top but struggled in the latter part of the event. Nonetheless, they rallied in the final two rounds, eliminating the tournament leaders, Ganges Grandmasters and SG Alpine Warriors. They also had a stroke of luck on their side—had Chingari defeated Balan Alaskan Knights in the last match, they would have been the ones reaching the finals. Nevertheless, fortune favours the bold, and the outcome feels well-deserved.
Everything is now set for the finals of the first edition of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League which takes place on Sunday, July 2nd, at 5:30 PM local time in Dubai.
SG Alpine Warriors vs upGrad Mumba Masters (2:18)
Following a loss in the previous round earlier in the day, the team of SG Alpine Warriors needed to win this match to secure first place. With the advantage of the first move, they needed to push hard.
However, things started to go more in the direction favouring Mumba Masters thanks to the top two Indian women players in the team. On board five, Harika Dronavalli dominated Elisabeth Paehtz and then treated a mate in three. On board four Humpy Koneru was significantly better against Irina Krush and was the first one to win, scoring important four points for upGrad Mumba Masters. The storm on these boards was just an announcement of the tsunami which was about to hit SG Alpine Warriors and sweep them off their feet.
On the prodigy board, Mumba’s Javokhir Sindarov managed to stop Praggnanandhaa – the top-performing player in the league – and hold him to a draw, with black pieces.
In the meantime, Magnus Carlsen drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrove, despite having a slight advantage. Just as Carlsen was getting up, Harika Dronavalli converted her advantage against Paehtz which meant that upGrad Mumba Masters have won the match. The World No.1 player could not hide his disappointment once he realised what just happened.
Even worse for the Warriors, the upGrad Mumba Masters were not done. Once he saw that the match is effectively lost, Gukesh resigned to Alexander Grischuk having ended up in a significantly weaker position, thus handing over another four points to Mumba. The last game to finish was on board five where Vidit Gujrathi converted his advantage against Arjun Erigaisi, and secured the most convincing victory any team in the Global Chess League has achieved so far: 18:2, propelling upGrad Mumba Masters to the top of the scoreboard.
The SG Alpine Warriors had two chances and lost both of them. A shocking end to what was a great performance of the Warriors’ team. The upGrad Mumba Masters were now on the brink of entering the finals, but all depended on the outcome of the next match: If the Chingari Gulf Titans win the next match with at least a seven-game points difference, they would be the ones in the finals. If they win with a smaller margin, draw or lose, the Mumbas are through.
Chingari Gulf Titans vs Balan Alaskan Knights (4:12)
The Chingari Gulf Titans had destiny in their own hands and were playing with white pieces. They were ahead of the Balan Alaskan Knights and needed to win. However, the omens of the day were more in favour of the underdogs, judging by the outcome of previous matches.
The first game to finish was on the icon boards, between Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Ian Nepomniachtchi. The game was largely calm and followed well-known theoretical waters, finishing in an even endgame.
However, on board two Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had a huge advantage over the 2021 World Rapid Champion, Nodirbek Abdusattorov.
In the meantime, the second game finished: Daniil Dubov and Teimour Radjabov drew. In a Four Knights Game, the two quickly exchanged pieces on the board and headed for a drawn rook endgame where neither side had any chances. While things were even on board four, boards five and six were more in favour of Chingari. On board four, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Tan Zhongyi were locked up in a queen’s endgame with four pawns each.
Then the tables started to turn on Chingari: In a completely dominating position, Mamedyarov made an error and ended up significantly weaker. Mamedyarov completely lost confidence and in the end, lost.
As Nihal Sarin and Raunak Sadhwani drew their game, Chingari’s Polina Shuvalova lost to BAK’s Nino Batsiashvili. Approaching the endgame, Shuvalova made a mistake and gave an exchange up to Black, finishing in a completely lost position. This was a second board victory for Balan Alaskan Knights which gave them a lead of 11:3.
The game between Kosteniuk and Tan dragged on and ended in a draw. Either way, the outcome would not have changed anything.
A heartbreaking end for Chingari as Balan Alaskan Knights sign out with a victory, ultimately making upGrad Mumba Masters the second finalist for the first edition of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League.
Round-ups Match results – 1 July 2023
SG Alpine Warriors 7-8 Chingari Gulf Titans
Queen of the match – Irina Krush
King of the match – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Triveni Continental Kings 11-6 Ganges Grandmasters
Queen of the match – Sara Khadem
King of the match – Wei Yi
SG Alpine Warriors 2-18 upGrad Mumba Masters
Queen of the match – Koneru Humpy
King of the match – Vidit Gujrathi
Chingari Gulf Titans 4-12 Balan Alaskan Knights
Queen of the match – Nino Batsiashvili
King of the match – Nodirbek Abdusattorov