Day three ; Global Chess League: Ganges Grandmasters reign supreme on day three of Global Chess League
Dubai, 24th June 2023 – After three days of play at the inaugural Tech Mahindra Global Chess League, the team of Ganges Grandmasters is at the top, having won all three matches they played.
With 9 match points out of three matches, Ganges Grandmasters have a significant lead. They are chased by Triveni Continental Kings, who are on six match points and have the same number of game points as GG (32) but have played four matches. SG Alpine Warriors are also on six match points but have 23 game points.
upGrad Mumba Masters have four match points, Balan Alaskan Knights have three but they are the second team in the Global Chess League to have played four matches.
Chingari Gulf Titans have a tough challenge ahead. They are at the bottom of the board, with just one match point, having failed to win any of the matches.
Here follows a detailed look at the final two matches of the third day of the Global Chess League.
M9: upGrad Mumba Masters vs Chingari Gulf Titans (6-6)
Chingari Gulf Titans entered this match as the only team without a victory in the Global Chess League after the first two days. Commencing with black pieces, the task was slightly more difficult for them as they did not have the initiative of the first move.
While the teams exhibited equal strength on the top three boards at the outset of the round, the bottom three boards were leaning towards upGrad Mumba Masters: India’s top woman player Humpy Koneru managed to take the initiative against the former World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk following a slip. India’s second top-rated woman player Harika Dronavalli was pressuring Polina Shuvalova and Javokhir Sindarov got an edge against Nihal Sarin.
As the games on the top boards ended in a draw, drama unfolded on the final board where the tables turned on Sindarov following a mistake, entering in a completely lost position. However, Nihal Sarin made a blunder in a completely winning position and allowed Sindarov to make a lucky escape with a draw.
Following a draw on board five between Shuvalova and Dronavalli, the outcome of the match for both sides was hanging on the game between Humpy Koneru and Alexandra Kosteniuk which turned out to be a long struggle.
Koneru dropped the advantage she had and allowed Kosteniuk to gain a strong hold on her position and equalise. The two transitioned into an endgame where white had a rook and black had just a bishop. Despite the rook being a stronger piece, with precise play the side with the bishop can easily hold a draw. Still, Koneru didn’t want to give up and forced Kosteniuk to defend a very uncomfortable position. She knew that a victory would secure her team another important three points. After a few more unsuccessful attempts by Koneru to break black, the game ended in a draw following 117 moves.
“Playing 117 moves is long but the message is that you should keep on fighting until the end. I was also aware that all other games ended in a draw so I wanted to help my team get an edge”, said Humpy Konery after her epic game.
This is the first match of the Global Chess League where all games ended in draws and the result was 6:6. As per the rules of the Global Chess League, both teams were awarded one match point each. A first for Chingari Gulf Titans.
M10: Balan Alaskan Knights vs Triveni Continental Kings (8:10)
This was the last match of the day. In a surprise twist, after winning the coin toss the team of Triveni Continental Kings decided to play with Black. They were obviously banking on a belief that they stand a better chance of winning the match if they score on one black board (and get four points) and hold on to the others.
It was a pretty tough match at the beginning as for a long time neither side had the edge. Balan Alaskan Knights’ Wei Yi was the first one to make some progress but quickly dropped it as he allowed Teimour Radjabov to get back into the game. On board four Kings’ Kateryna Lagno got into trouble against Tan Zhongyi early on from the opening. However, in the course of the game, Tan could not find the right way forward and after exchanging many pieces on the board a draw was agreed. A missed opportunity for the Knights.
The game on board one between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Levon Aronian was the second to finish, ending in a draw. In a largely peaceful encounter, neither side gave the other more chances.
The four remaining boards were all heading towards a decisive outcome: Wei Yi managed to regain his advantage and score an important victory against Teimour Radjabov, bringing his team the first four points. Then, immediately after, Jonas Buhl Bjere scored his first victory in the tournament, defeating Indian GM Raunak Sadhwani and getting another four points for the Kings thus securing their victory in the match!
Even if they lost the remaining two games, the match was in the bag for the Knights. And exactly that happened: Yu Yangyi lost to Abdusattorov while Nana Dzagnidze was defeated by Georgian compatriot Nino Batsiashvili.
The Triveni Continental Knights won the match in the end, with 10:8. A huge boost for the team as this is their first victory following four matches.
Day round-up – 24 June 2023
Triveni Continental Kings 7 – 8 SG Alpine Warriors
Queen of the match – Irina Krush
King of the match – Praggnanandhaa R
Ganges Grandmasters 11 – 6 Balan Alaskan Knights
Queen of the match – Tan Zhongyi
King of the match – Leinier Domínguez Pérez
upGrad Mumba Masters 6-6 Chingari Gulf Titans
Queen of the match – Alexandra Kosteniuk
King of the match – Javokhir Sindarov
Balan Alaskan Knights 8-10 Triveni Continental Kings
Queen of the match – Nino Batsiashvili
King of the match – Jonas Buhl Bjerre