Tigers Sweep Bulldogs 4-0, Advance To Playoffs; Blitz Wins Battle On Board 4


The fourth week of the 2023 Pro Chess League began with victories by the Shanghai Tigers and Blitz over the Croatia Bulldogs and Brazil Capybaras, respectively. After shedding badly in spherical one (0.5-3.5), the Tigers bared their fangs and dominated the remainder of the match. Blitz, however, confronted a a lot nearer match that was determined within the blitz tiebreaks.

Whereas GMs Wei Yi and Xu Yi earned probably the most factors for the Tigers, not a single participant on their workforce scored under 50 % of their particular person video games. 

The rivalry on board 4 within the different match, between IM Mahel Boyer and FM Julia Alboredo, was crucial to the general victory. Whereas the latter triumphed heroically in a must-win sport to ship the match to tiebreaks, the previous gained his first sport there—and it was the ultimate win his workforce wanted to remove the Capybaras from the season.

The Canada Chessbrahs will play the Levitov Chess Wizards within the first match, whereas the California Unicorns will face the Backyard State Passers within the second, on Thursday, March 9, 2023, starting at 7:30 a.m. PT/16:30 CET. 

The primary two matches of week 4 within the PCL coincided with Worldwide Ladies’s Day. A number of ladies gamers had been indispensable for his or her groups’ successes within the following matches, as readers will see within the report.

Croatia Bulldogs 6 – 10 Shanghai Tigers

The Bulldogs added IM Irene Sukandar as an emergency alternative to their lineup after the deadline on Sunday. As a penalty, they confronted a slight handicap: the common score of their lineup needed to be under 2525 (as a substitute of 2550). 

This did not appear to have an effect on their play, nonetheless, because the Bulldogs might hardly have began the match higher than they did.

The Bulldogs gained crushingly in spherical one and took a humongous lead within the match rating. With one draw, they gained all three different video games: 3.5-0.5. 

Final-minute addition Sukandar was the hero in that early spherical as she defeated the opposing board one, super-GM Wei. Able the place she appeared to be succumbing to a ferocious assault by the highly effective Chinese language grandmaster, he made a pure transfer that turned out to be a shedding blunder. 

Simply as Hess was about to touch upon how troublesome the transfer could be to seek out, Sukandar performed it. She went on to win the sport with an unforgiving counterattack. 

Savielly Tartakower‘s phrase is usually utilized in chess: “Nobody ever gained a sport by resigning.” Dealing with an uphill battle, the Tigers mustered their power and confirmed their claws in subsequent rounds.

The “eye of the tiger” was on full show in spherical two because the Tigers did the seemingly unattainable. With a 4-0 clear sweep, they took the lead in a match when simply night the rating appeared like a Herculean problem.

The most important upset of this spherical was IM Lou Yiping‘s victory with the black items over GM Vasif Durarbayli; he swallowed a chunk sacrifice within the Ruy Lopez and lived to inform the story.

In the identical spherical, GM Mustafa Yilmaz might have been the sufferer of the most important swindle within the match. He had a successful assault in opposition to Xi, however the latter discovered a tactical useful resource that not solely drew however gained the sport. This prompted Canty to exclaim: “This man is the luckiest man alive!” 

The Chinese language workforce gained spherical three too. Going into spherical 4, the Tigers led 7-5, a 180-degree flip from the narrative the Bulldogs had set in spherical one.

The Tigers gained the match within the very first two video games of the ultimate spherical. Wei, taking part in Black, defeated Yilmaz on board one in simply 27 strikes—in an endgame. White performed the harmless but shedding transfer, 25.Bb5 attacking a rook, and resigned simply two strikes later.

Seeing he wanted only a half-point, Lou (who was successful) made a draw with Sukandar. The Tigers clinched the match with two video games nonetheless ongoing.

The Shanghai workforce strikes on to the Playoffs. The Bulldogs, however, are one match loss away from elimination.

Blitz 10.5 – 9.5 Brazil Capybaras

Crew Blitz lived as much as its title on Wednesday because it performed its third blitz tiebreaks out of 4 matches. They appear to have a predilection for residing on the sting, and it served them properly this time; it’s their second victory in tiebreaks, with one loss.

GM Luis Paulo Supi upset GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave within the very first spherical. Impressively, he outplayed the French super-grandmaster within the Najdorf Sicilian, a gap during which the latter is arguably the world’s main professional.

The star transfer was actually 23.b4, an aesthetic pawn sacrifice that forcibly rips open the queenside. After successful materials within the middle of the board, the Brazilian grandmaster then switched his consideration to the one aspect of the board he hadn’t but attacked—on the king—and gained the sport.

Though they misplaced the primary spherical 1-3, Blitz introduced the match to a one-point margin after successful the second. In spherical three, Vachier-Lagrave escaped a misplaced place in opposition to GM Vladislav Artemiev, a key think about ending the spherical in a 2-2 even rating.

Going into the ultimate spherical, the momentum was on the aspect of the Blitz. They appeared on the verge of victory with out tiebreaks as Vachier-Lagrave defeated GM Sandro Mareco and GM Kateryna Lagno took down Supi. 

The latter sport was capped off with a pleasant, intuitive piece sacrifice—spectacular as a result of it didn’t result in a compelled checkmate however quite a protracted assault. Her bishop zipped throughout the chessboard like a lightning bolt, and the knights adopted behind to ship an irresistible infiltration. 

GM Rafael Leitao covers this as our Sport of the Day, annotated under.

Boyer appeared cruising to victory in opposition to Alboredo on board 4, and successful this sport would have secured match victory. As we’ve seen even amongst super-grandmasters this season, nonetheless, successful positions don’t win themselves.

Alboredo, understanding she was shedding, discovered her one alternative to set sensible issues, and one pure however faulty transfer by the French worldwide grasp despatched the analysis bar from all-Black to all-White in a heartbeat.

The Brazilian grasp might hardly include her pleasure as she saved her workforce from elimination—no less than till the tiebreaks.

It got here right down to the blitz tiebreaks. Board one made a draw. In the meantime, Vachier-Lagrave took down Mareco on board two, and Supi had his revenge in opposition to Lagno on board three. However the closing sport got here right down to board 4. 

Able the place Alboredo had the initiative, she performed a flowery transfer that had a tactical flaw. After her transfer, 21…Nxe5?, can you discover the right and successful response?

White to play and win materials.

Blitz strikes on to week 5, their final likelihood to qualify for the Playoffs. A victory subsequent week would imply qualification, whereas a loss would end in elimination.

The Capybaras, sadly, exit the season having gained $4,000 for making it this far.

Standings | Week 4

The Professional Chess League (PCL) is the number-one on-line world chess league for groups from everywhere in the world. The occasion options 16 groups taking part in fast video games for his or her piece of the $150,000 prize fund.

The principle occasion will proceed all through March and options prime gamers like GMs Magnus Carlsen, Daniel Naroditsky, and Hikaru Nakamura.

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