GCL Day 5: Vishy strikes Aronian, Ganges Grandmasters score gargantuan win

by Shahid Ahmed
6/26/2023 – Vishy Anand continues to lead by example. Once again he won the battle of the 'Icons', this time against Levon Aronian (TCK). While his three points were confirmed, his teammates Leinier Domingueze, Hou Yifan and Bella Khotenashvili scored emphatic wins to ensure that their team scored the biggest victory of the event in terms of game points: 14-2. Balan Alaskan Knights overcame their 3-15 loss as they beat the top team, SG Alpine Warriors, by the minimum margin 3-0 (10-9). Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Tan Zhongyi and Nino Batsiashvili's wins rendered R Praggnanandhaa and Magnus Carlsen's individual triumphs ineffective as they only added game points, while BAK won the match. The action on Tuesday kicks off at 5:30 p.m. local time, 7 p.m. IST. | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

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Balan Alaskan Knights bounce back with a statement victory over SG Alpine Warriors

The worst time to face Magnus Carlsen is after he loses a game. Whoever is next is simply going to be a prey for the world no.1. That is what happened to Ian Nepomniachtchi. Carlsen arrived at the board with determination. It looked like Nepo put the Norwegian in trouble early in the game, but the latter has always swum against the current. This time he liquidated the position into an equal endgame — and we all know how he built a career by grinding and converting equal endgames into a win.

His teammate and the only other player to score a win was Praggnanandhaa. However, two Black wins were not enough either, as Arjun Erigaisi scored the only other point, a draw for the team. With four more matches to go, it is far from over.

Ganges Grandmasters - Triveni Continental Kings: 3-0 (14-2)

Ganges Grandmasters won the toss and chose the white pieces. The first result was a draw between Richard Rapport (GG) and Yu Yangyi (TCK). Bella Khotenashvili (GG) scored the win for her team against her compatriot Nana Dzagnidze (TCK). World no.1 woman Hou Yifan (GG) defeated Kateryna Lagno (TCK). Leinier Dominguez (GG) scored the third win of the match against Wei Yi (TCK), ensuring that the Ganges Grandmasters had won the match with two games to spare. This win brought GG back to the top of the points table with 12/15.

Aronian (TCK) blundered his h-pawn when he went 26...h5?? as 27.gxh5 does not allow Black to recapture with ...Bxh5 due to 28.Qd5 fork, dropping a piece. Black was forced to play 27...Bh7 and Anand (GG) eventually went on to convert his advantage into a win comfortably.

Vishy Anand unstoppable | Video: ChessBase India

Vishy Anand leads Ganges Grandmasters to the biggest victory of the event so far | Video: ChessBase India

Leinier Dominguez probably could have won his game a little earlier against Wei Yi | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

GM Khotenashvili (GG) made a nice finish in an already winning position against GM Dzagnidze (TCK).

Bella Khotenashvili (GG) scored her third win of the event | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Ganges Grandmasters scored the biggest win of the event in terms of game points (14-2) with the white pieces | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Ganges Grandmasters - Triveni Continental Kings: 3-0 (14-2) | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Replay GG vs TCK games

Balan Alaskan Knights - SG Alpine Warriors: 3-0 (10-9)

The rematch phase of the tournament begins. Nino Batsiashvili (BAK) scored the first win for her team against Elisabeth Paehtz (SGAW). Teimour Radjabov (BAK) drew against Arjun Erigaisi (SGAW). Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Tan Zhongyi's wins secured a team victory for BAK. Magnus Carlsen defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi. However, that did not help SGAW to even out the deficit.

Carlsen (SGAW) is known for winning countless endgames which are relatively equal. This one was no different. 32.Bxg7? won't work due to ...Nf5+. So the game continued 33.Bb2 Rb3 34.Ra7 Rxh2 35.Rxa5 h5 36.Ra6 Bd6 37.Bb5 Ke7 and 38.Bc4? is considered to be the mistake by the computer as ...g5 gave Black a decisive advantage. The endgame eventually liquidated into a rook and pawn vs queen endgame.

Defending this game with the white pieces against Carlsen is no easy task. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that there are not a lot of players who can survive this against the world's highest-ranked player.

Magnus Carlsen (SGAW) was determined to win this game | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Paehtz (SGAW) blundered 21...hxg5?? 22.Nd7+- Qd8 23.Re8+ Qxe8 24.Nxf6+ and White gained Black's queen for only his two knights.

Nino Batsiashvili (BAK) was not going to let her advantage slip by, unlike in her first battle against Elisabeth Paehtz (SGAW) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Abdusattorov (BAK) and Gukesh (SGAW) had another exciting game. 32.Rc1 Qxe2 33.Rxe2 Nb5 34.Be5 Bd6 35.Bf6 Rf8 36.a4 cxb2?? 37.Rxc7+ and things completely changed in White's favor. 36...bxa3 would have kept Black in the game. White won the game in another dozen moves.

Abdusattorov-Gukesh battles are always thrillers | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Raunak (BAK) went wrong with 45.Rg2?? in the final moments of the endgame. He allowed his opponent Praggnanandhaa (SGAW) to invade with his rook: 45...Re1 46.Qd2 Re4 47.Kh2 Qc4. White didn't have much to do as his pawns were overstretched, and the king was overexposed. Pragg picked up his fourth consecutive win with the black pieces, and Raunak suffered his fifth loss at the event.

Praggnanandhaa continues his excellent form at this event | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Balan Alaskan Knights got the better of SG Alpine Warriors in their rematch | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Balan Alaskan Knights - SG Alpine Warriors: 3-0 (10-9) | Photo: Tech Mahindra Global Chess League

Replay BAK vs SGAW games

Standings after Day 5

Ganges Grandmasters is back at the top 12/15 | Photo: Official site

Day 6 matches

  • Ganges Grandmasters vs Chingari Gulf Titans from 5:30 p.m. local time, 7 p.m. IST
  • upGrad Mumba Masters vs Continental Kings 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.