GCL Day 8: Ganges Grandmasters and Continental Kings win close battles

by Shahid Ahmed
6/29/2023 – One might expect relatively quiet rounds after a day full of excitement. Well, that just does not happen at the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League. In the first match, five out of six games ended decisively. Levon Aronian, Wei Yi and Sara Khadem scored crucial wins for their team, Triveni Continental Kings. Their 3-0 (10-9) victory over Chingari Gulf Titans ensured the team still has mathematical chances to win the event. Andrey Esipenko scored the crucial win for his team, Ganges Grandmasters. Thus, GG are once again atop the standings with 15/24. Tomorrow will be the penultimate day of the double round-robin stage. There will be four matches starting from 3 p.m. local time, 4:30 p.m. IST. | Photo: Maria Emelianova

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Esipenko and Khadem score decisive wins

Triveni Continental Kings - Chingari Gulf Titans: 3-0 (10-9)

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (CGT) scored the first win of the match against Yangyi Yu (TCK). Kateryna Lagno (TCK) drew against Alexandra Kosteniuk (CGT). Nihal Sarin (CGT) defeated Jonas Buhl Bjerre (TCK) for the second time at this event. Thus, TCK were in a situation where they needed to win the remaining three games to win the match. Wei Yi (TCK) and IM Sara Khadem (TCK) scored crucial victories over Daniil Dubov (CGT) and IM Polina Shuvalova (CGT) respectively to ensure their team's victory.

Yangyi Yu (TCK) took a little longer to continue his attack. He needed to go 20.Nb5 immediately instead of 20.Kf2, which provoked 20...g5. There followed 21.hxg5 hxg5 22.Nb5 gxf4 23.Rxc7+ Qxc7 24.Nxc7 Bd3 25.Rxh8 Bxe2 26.Kxe2 fxe3 and White resigned as he lost too much material.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (CGT) beat Yangyi Yu (TCK) in a rated game after a little over four years | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Wei Yi (TCK) beat Daniil Dubov (CGT) for the second time at this event | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Capturing the c7-pawn made things worse for White in a hurry, as 28...Rd2 29.Qg3 Rxa2 30.Kh2 Rdd2 gave Black a significant advantage. Nihal (CGT) checkmated his opponent Bjerre (TCK) in another ten moves.

Nihal Sarin (CGT) beat Jonas Buhl Bjerre (TCK) twice in a week — in 40 moves or fewer | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Aronian, the artist, played a nice knight sacrifice with 32.Nxf7! in an already advantageous position. 32...Qc7 33.Nh8 Qh2+ 34.Kf1 and White had no trouble converting his advantage into a win.

Levon Aronian (TCK) beat Jan-Krzysztof Duda (CGT) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Triveni Continental Kings - Chingari Gulf Titans: 3-0 (10-9)

Replay TCK vs CGT games

Levon Aronian, Wei Yi and Sara Khadem won for their team, the Triveni Continental Kings | Video: ChessBase India 

Balan Alaskan Knights - Ganges Grandmasters: 0-3 (7-8)

Teimour Radjabov (BAK) drew against Leinier Dominguez Perez (GG) as the first result of the match. Andrey Esipenko (GG) scored the first win for his team against Raunak Sadhwani (BAK). Ian Nepomniachtchi (BAK) had a slightly more eventful draw than his first encounter against Vishy Anand (GG) at this event. Nodirbek Abdusattorov (BAK) scored the sole win for his team, against Richard Rapport (GG). Thus, Esipenko's win proved crucial for his team's victory.

Andrey Esipenko (GG) converted his positional advantage — combined with an extra pawn — into a win comfortably.

Andrey Esipenko (GG) got the better of Raunak Sadhwani (BAK) twice in 53 moves or fewer | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

The only way Black could have recovered the lost pawn was 22...Nxc4. The game continued 22...Qxe3 23.fxe3 fxe4 24.Nxg7 Nd3 25.Ne6 Bc6 White eventually converted his advantage using correct technique.

Nodirbek Abdusattorov (BAK) scored a nice technical win over Richard Rapport (BAK) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Balan Alaskan Knights - Ganges Grandmasters: 0-3 (7-8)

Replay BAK vs GG games

Standings after Day 8

Ganges Grandmasters are back at the top again 15/24 | Photo: Official site

Day 9 matches

  • Chingari Gulf Titans vs upGrad Mumba Masters from 3 p.m. local time, 4:30 p.m. IST
  • SG Alpine Warriors vs Triveni Continental Kings from 4:30 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. IST
  • upGrad Mumba Masters vs Ganges Grandmasters from 5:45 p.m. local time, 7:15 p.m. IST
  • Triveni Continental Kings vs Balan Alaskan Knights 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.