World Chess League: Ganges Grandmasters maintain a dominant streak on the third day
DUBAI, June 24 (IANS) The Ganges Grandmasters maintained their streak of dominance as they kicked off day three of the World Chess League (GCL) with another impressive victory, here on Saturday.
Ganges Grandmasters is the only team in the World Chess League with three wins from all three matches.
This was a duel between two teams in the middle of the scoreboard looking to push to the top. After the first two rounds, they both had three match points each and 15 game points. The coin toss decided that the Triveni Continental Kings would play in white. The team took the lead early on.
The most anticipated encounter took place aboard one with a confrontation between two iconic players, world heavyweight Levon Aronian (as White) and top rated chess player, Magnus Carlsen.
The two teams put up a fierce battle and Carlsen ended up defending an uncomfortable situation with a minute left on the clock against Aronian’s eighth. Aronian tried but Magnus, the best endgame player in the world, was confident and stopped his opponent for a draw.
With two more games ending in a tie, the score was 3:3. The first break came when GM Yu beat Gökç in white, scoring three important points for the Kings. The tables turned on the Kings when India’s Praggnanandhaa beat Jonas Bjerre by scoring four game points and erasing the advantage created by Yu.
Everything was on hold in the match between Irina Krush (SG Alpine Warriors) and Katerina Lagno. Although the Krush created a dominant position, both sides were in serious time trouble. The fact that Lagno is a three-time Blitz World Champion was helpful as she was able to hold her nerve and get a draw.
The final score of the match was 7: 8 in game points for the SG Alpine Warriors, giving them three more points for the decisive match.
In the post-game interview, Carlsen noted that “wins with the Lions have a lot of value” (as you score four points instead of the three that White gets for a win), which makes the whole thing even more exciting.
“People are still trying to find the optimal strategy here and we see some interesting decisions that you don’t see in team chess,” he said.
The match ended with Triveni Continental Kings 7- 8 SG Alpine Warriors.
Ganges Grandmasters vs. Balan Alaskan Knights
This was a meeting between the two leaders on the scoreboard. The match started with an interesting lead as Magnus Carlsen’s father, Henrik Carlsen, tossed the coin to determine the colours. His heart favored the masters of the Ganges and they chose to play with White.
From the start, it was clear that the Ganges Grandmasters weren’t willing to give up their control of the tournament.
The first board saw a quick tie between Viswanathan Anand and Ian Nepomnyashchi, with the leader of the Alaskan Knights Balan making 30 moves without even missing a minute! At the same time, things were heating up on board six between two prodigies: JG’s Andriy Espenko took an early lead against Raunak Sadhwani and won. The Balan Alaskan Knights soon found themselves in trouble as they were losing on more boards.
The only hope for them was the Chinese quadruple match. In a match between two former women’s world champions, Ganges Grandmasters’ Hui Yifan was losing heavily to Tan Zhongyi as Black, setting up an important comeback for the knights. However, at the same time, Gang’s Linir Domínguez Perez and Richard Routher had a huge advantage in their games.
While Pérez converted his win into a victory, Rapport missed out on the winning advantage in trouble time, allowing rival Abdustarov to escape with a draw.
Despite the impressive sacrifice, Plan Alaska Knights’ Bela Kotinashvili lost to fellow Georgian Nino Patsiashvili, which was very disappointing. With 11 game points scored against 6, the Ganges Grandmasters achieved another triumphant victory, cementing their position at the top of the leaderboard and earning three valuable match points.
The match ended with the Ganges Grandmasters 11-6 Balan Alaskan Knights.