Global Chess League: Ganges Grandmasters Dominate The Top

Ganges Grandmasters' dominant 11-6 win over Balan Alaskan Knights continued their unbeaten streak, making them the only team with the feat.

Anand vs. Nepomniachtchi ended in a draw.

The Ganges Grandmasters secured their third win on the trot to maintain their dominance at the top after day three of the Global Chess League in Dubai on Saturday. (More Chess News)

Playing white, Ganges Grandmasters defeated Balan Alaskan Knights 11-6 in a battle between the two leaders on the scoreboard.

Right from the outset, it was clear that the Ganges Grandmasters were not ready to relinquish their hold on the tournament.

Board one witnessed a swift draw between Viswanathan Anand and Ian Nepomniachtchi, where the leader of the Balan Alaskan Knights made 30 moves without even spending a minute.

On board six, GG’s Andrey Esipenko took the initiative early on against Raunak Sadhwani and won.

Soon, team Balan Alaskan Knights found themselves in trouble as they were losing on more boards. 

The only string of hope for them was in the Chinese matchup on board four.

In a game between two former women’s World Champions, Ganges Grandmasters’ Hou Yifan was losing badly to Tan Zhongyi playing as Black, making an important comeback for the Knights. 

However, at the same time, Ganges’ Leinier Dominguez Perez and Richard Rapport had a significant advantage in their games.

While Perez converted his position into a victory, Rapport blundered his winning advantage in time trouble, allowing his opponent Abdusattorov to escape with a draw. 

Despite an impressive rook sacrifice, Balan Alaskan Knights’ Bella Khotenashvili lost to her Georgian compatriot Nino Batsiashvili which was very disappointing.

With a commanding score of 11 game points to 6, the Ganges Grandmasters secured yet another triumphant victory, solidifying their position at the top of the leaderboard and earning three valuable match points.

In another battle, Triveni Continental Kings went down to SG Alpine Warriors 7-8.

The most anticipated encounter took place on board one with a faceoff between two icon players, world heavyweight Levon Aronian (as White) and the highest-rated chess player, Magnus Carlsen. 

Both sides put up a fierce fight and Carlsen ended up defending an uncomfortable position with a minute on his clock against Aronian’s eighth.

Aronian tried but Magnus, the best endgame player in the world, was confident and held his opponent to a draw. 

As two other games ended in a draw the score was 3:3. The first break came when GM Yu defeated Gukesh with white, scoring important three Game Points for the Kings.

The tables turned on the Kings when Indian Praggnanandhaa beat Jonas Bjerre scoring four Game Points and erasing the advantage created by Yu.

Everything was hanging on the game between Irina Krush (SG Alpine Warriors) and Kateryna Lagno.

Despite Krush creating a dominating position, both sides were in serious time trouble. The fact that Lagno is a three-time world champion in Blitz came in handy as she managed to keep her nerve and get a draw. 

"Wins with Black are so valuable (as they bring four instead of three points which White gets for victory), which makes the whole thing more exciting," Carlsen said.

"People are still trying to find the optimal strategy here and we’re seeing some interesting decisions that you don’t see in team chess”.