GCL Day 9: Aronian astounds Carlsen and Nepo, Triveni jump to third place

by Shahid Ahmed
6/30/2023 – Levon Aronian has beaten Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi in three consecutive must-win situations. Today he defeated Carlsen and Nepo in consecutive games. While the World no.1 allowed the two-time World Cup winner to score a quick 27-move victory, against Nepo he had to grind in the endgame and wait till the former world championship contender blundered. Triveni Continental Kings are now tied with Ganges Grandmasters on 15/27 points. SG Alpine Warriors also have the same match points. However, they still have two matches left. On an eventful day, upGrad Mumba Masters defeated GG 3-0 (10-4) without losing a single game. The last four matches of the double round-robin stage start tomorrow with SG Alpine Warriors vs Chingari Gulf Titans from 3 p.m. local time, 4:30 p.m. IST. | Photo: Maria Emelianova

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Favourites get fried by the Undeniables

Garry Kasparov said in his iconic way, "The chess world is a better place when Levon Aronian is playing well". And that is exactly what happened today. Here are a few quotes from an interview with Aronian after he defeated Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi consecutively. 

Levon Aronian on his team’s (Triveni Continental Kings) chances of making it to the finals:

"We have everything in our hands. We need to beat Ganges Grandmasters. I think that's a possibility. I won't really jump ahead of the train. All I can say is we are going to try our best and you know whatever happens, happens."

Aronian on how he will prepare for the last day of the double round-robin stage:

"Together with the team. Like all the other days."

The only two-time World Cup winner on the motivation for tomorrow:

"I think Yu Yangyi is motivating me a lot. He is crushing me every night in blitz with some ridiculous scores. That's extremely motivating... I cannot get a play against him. He is just too good. That is motivating me to try harder."

On facing Anand tomorrow:

"He is one of the most brilliant players, always an inspiration. I think in this tournament, I played terribly against him. So I will try to improve and not to repeat the mistakes I did against him."

On his team TCK climbing up from the bottom to the top three.

"It's not pressure at all. We are not supposed to be here at all. I mean, with our terrible play in the start, we got very very lucky. Now there is no pressure. We are just going to continue doing the same thing we are doing in the last three rounds, just enjoying, fighting. It's really not about the result. It's all about the efforts. If we show effort,  you know that's what counts for us as a team."

GM Koneru Humpy scored a crucial win for upGrad Mumba Masters, her teammate GM Harika Dronavalli is still the top woman performer 5.5/9 | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Chingari Gulf Titans - upGrad Mumba Masters: 3-0 (12-3)

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (CGT) drew against Alexander Grischuk (uMM). Daniil Dubov (CGT) scored the first win for his team against Vidit Gujrathi (uMM). IM Polina Shuvalova (CGT) scored the second win for her team over GM Harika Dronavalli (uMM). GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (CGT) scored another win for the team against GM Koneru Humpy (uMM). Thus, CGT had already won the match with two games to spare.

Once Vidit's (uMM) preparation ended, he blundered 16...Re8?? He needed to play it two moves ago. 17.Nxd7 Qxd7 18.Be4 gains an exchange as Rac8 runs into 19.Bf5 and Rab/d8 is met with 19.Bc6. Instead, Dubov (CGT) went for 17.cxd4 Be6 18.Rfe1 Bxd4 19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Rad1 e5 21.Qh5 h6 22.Qg6 Qf6 23.Rxd4 and Black resigned.

Daniil Dubov (CGT) defeated Vidit Gujrathi (uMM) with ease | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Alexandra Kosteniuk (CGT) made a huge turnaround from a lost position against Koneru Humpy (uMM) | Photo: Maria Emelianova

GM Harika Dronavalli (uMM) suffered her first loss of the event, against IM Polina Shuvalova (CGT) | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Chingari Gulf Titans kept their chances alive by scoring a massive win against upGrad Mumba Masters | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Chingari Gulf Titans - upGrad Mumba Masters: 3-0 (12-3) 

Replay CGT vs uMM games

SG Alpine Warriors - Triveni Continental Kings: 0-3 (8-10)

The first result of the match was a draw between GM Elisabeth Paehtz (SGAW) and IM Sara Khadem (TCK). Levon Aronian (TCK) scored the first win for his team, against Magnus Carlsen (SGAW). D Gukesh (SGAW) and R Praggnanandhaa (SGAW) defeated Yangyi Yu (TCK) and Jonas Buhl Bjerre (TCK) respectively. However, Wei Yi's (TCK) victory over Arjun Erigaisi (SGAW) decided the match in favour of TCK.

27.Qe7 forces the queen exchange and White would have been fine. Instead, the world no.1 blundered with 27.Bxd5?? and after ...Nxd5 he had to resign as there is no way to stop the ...Nc3 and ...Nb4 threats without incurring heavy material loss.

Magnus Carlsen's shocking blunder against Levon Aronian | Video: ChessBase India

Levon Aronian (TCK) defeated Magnus Carlsen (SGAW) for the first time in a rated game since October 2020 | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi made the ceremonial first move on Carlsen-Aronian's board in the presence of Bharath Singh Chauhan, Chairman of the FIDE Advisory Board | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Mahesh Bhupathi followed the Carlsen-Aronian action from White's Den | Photo: Maria Emelianova

D Gukesh (SGAW) launched a very nice attack on the kingside after his opponent Yangyi Yu (TCK) misplayed with 27...Kh7? 28.h4 Ne7 29.h5 Kh8 30.hxg6. Gukesh went on to convert his advantage comfortably.

D Gukesh (SGAW) scored his first win of the event, against Yangyi Yu (TCK) | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Wei Yi (TCK) scored a crucial win for his team against Arjun Erigaisi (SGAW) | Photo: Maria Emelianova

20.e3 Qxg5 21.0-0-0 Qg4 22.exd4 Re2 23.Qa5 and here Jonas Buhl Bjerre (TCK) had a great opportunity to end Praggnanandhaa's (SGAW) unbeaten streak at this event. He missed it and played 23...cxd4. 23...Rxf4 24.gxf4 Qxf4+ 25.Kb1 Rxb2+ 26.Kxb2 Qxd4+ was completely winning for Black. All other variations only would have delayed the win for Black. Pragg used his second chance and went on to win the prolonged endgame.

Magnus watches Pragg's game after losing against Aronian | Video: ChessBase India

Triveni Continental Kings avenged their earlier loss at this event against SG Alpine Warriors | Photo: Maria Emelianova

SG Alpine Warriors - Triveni Continental Kings: 0-3 (8-10)

Replay SGAW vs TCK games

Magnus Carlsen arrives with team SG Alpine Warriors | Video: ChessBase India

upGrad Mumba Masters - Ganges Grandmasters: 3-0 (10-4)

Javokhir Sindarov (uMM) scored the first win of the match on the 'Prodigy board' against Andrey Esipenko (GG). Koneru Humpy (uMM) scored a convincing victory over Yifan Hou (GG).

Vidit Gujrathi (uMM) bounced back with a draw against Leinier Dominguez Perez (GG) | Photo: Maria Emelianova

In an already dwindling position, Yifan (GG) blundered 26...Ng3?? Humpy (uMM) gobbled it up with 27.Qxg3 and this time she converted her decisive advantage against the highest-rated woman player in the world.

Koneru Humpy (uMM) did not let her advantage slip by against Yifan Hou (GG) this time around | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Andrey Esipenko (GG) shockingly made a one-move checkmate blunder against Javokhir Sindarov (uMM) | Photo: Maria Emelianova

upGrad Mumba Masters made a strong comeback to beat Ganges Grandmasters without incurring a single game loss! | Photo: Maria Emelianova

upGrad Mumba Masters - Ganges Grandmasters: 3-0 (10-4)

Replay uMM vs GG games

Triveni Continental Kings - Balan Alaskan Knights: 3-0 (10-9)

IM Sara Khadem (TCK) scored the first win of the match against GM Nino Batsiashvili (BAK) when the latter blundered her bishop in the balanced rook and minor piece endgame. Yangyi Yu (TCK) drew against Nodirbek Abdusattorov (BAK). Zhongyi Tan (BAK) scored a win against Kateryna Lagno (TCK). Wei Yi (TCK) defeated Teimour Radjabov (BAK) to put his team in the lead again. Levon Aronian (TCK) once again scored a victory on the 'Icon board', against Ian Nepomniachtchi (BAK), thus ensuring TCK's victory. Raunak Sadhwani (BAK) defeated Jonas Buhl Bjerre (TCK) from a difficult position.

Levon Aronian (TCK) before his win against Ian Nepomniachtchi (BAK) | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Sometimes in time trouble you have to play moves which are difficult to calculate. 36.Ne6!? is an interesting sacrifice by Wei Yi (TCK), which was not easy for his opponent Teimour Radjabov (BAK) to refute practically. 36...Qb4 was the right way to continue. However, the game continued 36...Qxb5 37.fxg6 fxe6 38.Qh3 Rf4 39.Rc2 e5 40.Qh7+ Kf8 41.Qh8+ Ke7 42.Qxg7+ Kd8 43.Qh8+ Be8 44.g7 Qa4?? 45.g8Q Qe4+ 46.Rg2 Kc7 47.Qhh7+ and Black resigned. 44...Rd4 was Black's last resort to save the game.

Wei Yi (TCK) completed a hat-trick of wins at this event | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Kateryna Lagno (TCK) - Zhongyi Tan (BAK): 0-4 | Photo: Maria Emelianova

IM Sara Khadem (TCK) scored a big win over GM Nino Batsiashvili (BAK) | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Raunak Sadhwani (BAK) persevered in a lost endgame against Jonas Buhl Bjerre (TCK) to turn things around and win the game eventually.

Raunak Sadhwani (BAK) made a huge turnaround against Jonas Buhl Bjerre (TCK) to score his second win of the event | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Triveni Continental Kings is certainly back in business with a high team spirit led by GM Loek van Wely (NED) and Levon Aronian | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Balan Alaskan Knights have no way left to fight for a spot in the finals | Photo: Maria Emelianova

Triveni Continental Kings - Balan Alaskan Knights: 3-0 (10-9)

Replay TCK vs BAK games

Standings after Day 9

Triveni Continental Kings have tied the score with Ganges Grandmasters 15/27 | Photo: Live stream

Day 9 matches

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