GCL Day 4: SG Alpine Warriors survive MVL carnage, Pragg wins the decider

by Shahid Ahmed
6/25/2023 – One Berlin fell, the other one didn't. Magnus Carlsen's Berlin did not hold up against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. However, D Gukesh's Berlin proved to be strong enough to hold Alexander Grischuk to a draw. It was R Praggnanandhaa's win against Javokhir Sindarov which helped SG Alpine Warriors beat upGrad Mumba Masters. It was a win by a minimum margin 0-3 (7-8). Before that, upGrad Mumba Masters handed Ganges Grandmasters their first defeat of the event. Despite MVL losing to Vishy Anand, Grischuk and Harika Dronavalli's key victories ensured the fall of GG. Monday’s action kicks off at 5:30 p.m. local time, 7 p.m. IST. | Photo: Maria Emelianova

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Gulf Titans blaze Alaskan Knights

Being at the bottom of the table was not the only disadvantage Chingari Gulf Titans had at the start of the day — they had to play two consecutive matches, whereas Ganges Grandmasters are not scheduled to have a single double match in a day at this event. They suffered a 0-3 (6-11) loss against the current leaders, SG Alpine Warriors. However, they bounced immediately back in the next match by beating Balan Alaskan Knights 0-3 (3-15), the highest game point scored in a single match at this event so far. Now, that's the definition of a comeback.

Ganges Grandmasters - upGrad Mumba Masters: 0-3 (6-11)

The first result of the match occurred on the third board, a solid draw between Leinier Dominguez Perez (GG) and Vidit Gujrathi (uMM). Koneru Humpy (GG) missed a win against Yifan Hou (uMM). Harika Dronavalli (uMM) scored the first win of the match against Bella Khotenashvili (GG). Vishy Anand (GG) scored the sole win for the team, against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (uMM). Alexander Grischuk (uMM) won against Richard Rapport (GG) to gain some more valuable game points.

Vachier-Lagrave's (uMM) aggressive approach did not work out against Anand (GG). 25...Bd5? 26.c4 left more hanging pieces for Black than White. 26...Bxc4 27.Qc3! protecting the valuable bishop and controlling the crucial long diagonal. 27...Rd5 28.Bf6 fxg3 29.Re7 Qd6 30.Rg7+ Kh8 31.Rf7+ Kg8 White repeated moves a couple of times to gain time and then went 34.Be7 and won eventually. Perhaps Be7 while the rook was on g7 would have given White a quicker win. Nevertheless, a win is a win.

Vishy Anand repeated the exact same result with the white pieces as his last face-off against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, a little over a year ago at Norway Chess | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Humpy (uMM) didn't realize that she was winning against Yifan (GG). She decided to repeat moves with 31...Bh3 32.Bg2 Be6 33.Bf3 Bh3 34.Bg2 Be6 and draw the game. What did she miss?

Humpy (uMM) could have won against Yifan (GG) when she decided to repeat moves | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Ganges Grandmasters - upGrad Mumba Masters: 0-3 (6-11) | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Replay GG vs uMM games

Chingari Gulf Titans - SG Alpine Warriors: 0-3 (6-11)

SG Alpine Warriors won the toss and chose the black pieces. Jan-Krzysztof Duda (CGT) had a relatively calm draw against Magnus Carlsen (SGAW). The second result was also a draw between Daniil Dubov (CGT) and Arjun Erigaisi (SGAW). Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (CGT) scored the first win for the team against D Gukesh (SGAW). Nihal Sarin (CGT) blundered in an exciting encounter against R Praggnanandhaa (SGAW). GM Elisabeth Paehtz (SGAW) defeated IM Polina Shuvalova (CGT) for a good measure.

One must wait a little longer to see a decisive game between Duda (CGT) and Carlsen (SGAW) | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

D Gukesh (SGAW) got a great opportunity to push for a win in the final seconds against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (CGT). 35.g6? needed ...d3 as 36.gxh7 could be replied by ...Kg7. 35...hxg6 allowed 36.fxg6+ opening the rook's path ...Kg7 37.Rg1 d3 38.Nf5+ Kg8 39.Bg5 and Bxg1? was the final mistake. 39...Rf2 40.Ng3 d2 or 40.Nh6+ Kg7 should be winning for Black. 40.Bf6 Rxh2+ and Black ran out of time. A tough loss for Gukesh after playing a good game.

Nihal (CGT) made a nice positional sacrifice: 31.Nge6! fxe6 32.Nxe6 Rf7 33.Nxg7 Kxg7 34.e4 Qb5 35.Qd6. White gained himself a great initiative against Praggnanandhaa (SGAW). 35...Qb6?? allowed White to regain the sacrificed piece 36.Bxf6+ Rxf6 37.Qxd7+ gave White a substantial advantage.

47.Rf2?? ended the game immediately for White after ...Rxf2+ because 50.Kxf2 runs into ...Qb2+, a fork that forces the queen exchange and the b2-pawn becomes unstoppable.

Praggnanandhaa won an exciting battle against Nihal in a battle of Indian prodigies | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Fans enjoying the exciting Gulf Titans vs Alpine Warriors battle | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Chingari Gulf Titans - SG Alpine Warriors: 0-3 (6-11) | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Replay CGT vs SGAW games

Balan Alaskan Knights - Chingari Gulf Titans: 0-3 (3-15)

Balan Alaskan Knights won the toss and chose the white pieces. Alexandra Kosteniuk (CGT) scored the first win for her team in 29 moves by promoting two queens against Zhongyi Tan (BAK). Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (CGT) scored his second consecutive win of the day, this time against another prodigy, 44th Chess Olympiad Gold medallist Nodirbek Abdusattorov (BAK). Nihal Sarin (CGT) defeated Raunak Sadhwani (BAK) to ensure a strong comeback after suffering a loss.

Kosteniuk (CGT) exchanged her a7-pawn for White's h2-pawn. She played 20...h5 and promoted it to a queen at h1 in another nine moves to win the game.

Abdusattorov (BAK) went wrong early in the opening with 11.cxd5?, allowing Mamedyarov (CGT) to play the fantastic 11...e5! and immediately gain the upper hand. Things started going downhill and White could not get back for the rest of the game.

Battle of the World Rapid champions: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated a second consecutive prodigy — Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

38...Rf6 would have been a comfortable win for Black. However, Nihal (CGT) made an incorrect exchange sacrifice: 38...Rxf3? 39.Rxe6 Qe2 40.Rxg6?? allowing Black to regain a decisive advantage with ...Kxh6. What Raunak (BAK) missed was 40.Qa1+ Kh7 41.Qd4 fxe6 42.Rd2 and White saves the day, as Peter Svidler showed in the analysis. Nihal bounced back from a loss, while Raunak suffered his fourth loss of the event.

Chingari Gulf Titans have already made a huge statement by scoring a thumping victory over Balan Alaskan Knights | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Chingari Gulf Titans sharing a light moment | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Nihal getting a pat on the back by captain GM Swapnil Dhopade and a handshake of acknowledgement by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Balan Alaskan Knights - Chingari Gulf Titans: 0-3 (3-15) | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Replay BAK vs CGT games

upGrad Mumba Masters - SG Alpine Warriors: 0-3 (7-8)

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (uMM) scored the first win against Magnus Carlsen (SGAW). R Praggnanandhaa (SGAW) scored the victory for his team against Javokhir Sindarov (uMM). Koneru Humpy (uMM) missed another win today against Irina Krush (SGAW). Vidit Gujrathi (uMM) also missed his win against Arjun Erigaisi (SGAW). It all came down to Gukesh (SGAW), who managed to hold the fort against Alexander Grischuk (uMM) to draw the game and ensure the team's victory.

Carlsen (SGAW) opted for the Berlin against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (uMM). However, he erred in a balanced rook endgame: 35...Rd2?? 36.Rxc3 and White went on to win the game in another six moves. 35...Rc6 would have continued the game and probably ended in a draw.

Vidit (uMM) was on the verge of winning against Arjun (SGAW): 32.Qd4+ Qxd4 33.exd4 Rf5 34.f3 h5 and White should have won this ideally. However, less time on the clock and pressure got to him. The win was not elementary, and Arjun is not someone who will crumble easily.

Vidit Gujrathi and Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

22...Nxc4?? was a blunder by Krush (SGAW) which invited 23.Nf6+! gxf6 24.Qg4+ Bg7 25.Bxf6 Qc5+ 26.Kh2??. Now Humpy (uMM) needed to find 26.Re3!, which would have ended the game in the next few moves.

Just when it seemed like Sindarov (uMM) - Praggnanandhaa (SGAW) battle was going to end up in a draw, the 44th Olympiad Gold medallist blundered 38.Rg4??. Find out the winning continuation for Black which was executed in the game.

R Praggnanandhaa is delivering a stellar performance of 13/15 | Photo: Maria Emelianova

upGrad Mumba Masters - SG Alpine Warriors: 0-3 (7-8) | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Replay uMM vs SGAW games

Yuzvendra Chahal meets Vishy Anand for the first time! | Video: ChessBase India

Yuzvendra Chahal watches Magnus Carlsen Play | Video: ChessBase India

Magnus Carlsen is happy to see his team win | Video: ChessBase India

A Wholesome moment when Yuzi meets Vidit! | Video: ChessBase India

"Chess is my First Love" - Yuzi Chahal | Video: ChessBase India

Standings after Day 4

SG Alpine Warriors moved to the top of the table 12/15 | Photo: Official site

Day 5 matches

  • Ganges Grandmasters vs Triveni Continental Kings from 5:30 p.m. local time, 7 p.m. IST
  • Balan Alaskan Knights vs SG Alpine Warriors from 7 p.m. local time, 8:30 p.m. IST

What is the Scoring System?

Each team will have six players and a manager, who will be competing on six boards which will be played simultaneously. While each board will be called a game, all six combined boards will be termed one match. Once the board order is decided, it cannot be altered after drawing lots while deciding the run order of play. And in each match, all the players of one team will play with the same colour.

A game won with Black pieces will result in 4 Game Points (GP) to the winning player. A victory for a player with White pieces will see them win 3 GP. A draw will be rewarded with 1 GP, and a defeat gets the player 0 GP. Each players’ GP will contribute to the Team’s total Match Points (MP).

With regards to the calculations on Match Points (MP), a Team which scores more GP than their opposition will be rewarded with a bonus of 3 MP. If both the Teams are level on GP, they will be awarded 1 MP each. However, if a team scores lesser GP than the opposing team, they won’t get any MP for that Match.

Scoring System for Game Points (GP)

4 GP (3+1) 

A player wins the Game with Black Pieces 

3 GP 

A player wins the Game with White Pieces 

1 GP 


0 GP 


Scoring System for Match Points (MP)

3  MP 

The team that scores more Game Points 

1  MP 

If both teams are level on Game Points 

0  MP 

The team that scores lesser Game Points than  the opponent 

The Final will be played over best-of-2 matches. There will be a drawing of lots to determine which Team is White in Match 1, this team will then be black in Match 2. The team who wins more matches will be the Champion. In the event of a tie:

• There will be a playoff blitz fixture, which will be a best-of-2 match. The team that was white in Match 1 and black in Match 2 will play white in Match 3 and black in Match 4. The time limit for each game will be all moves in 3 minutes plus 2 seconds. The Team that wins the most matches in the fixture will be the Champion.

• If the Teams remain tied, there shall be a drawing of lots to determine a board from 1 to 6. The player from each Team on this board will then participate in a sudden-death blitz game. The time limit for this game will be 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move. The player from the Team who was white in Matches 1 and 3, will play white in this game.

• If the sudden death blitz game is drawn, then the procedure is repeated except that the colour of the player from each team alternates from the colour the team had in the preceding sudden death blitz game.

• If the tie remains unbroken, the above procedure is repeated until a sudden death blitz game has a winner.


Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.