Yogis 4-0 Turnaround Stuns Chessbrahs, Capybaras Crush Cobras

Yogis 4-0 Turnaround Stuns Chessbrahs, Capybaras Crush Cobras


The Indian Yogis and the Brazil Capybaras emerged victorious from their matches in the Pro Chess League on Tuesday after a day of grueling chess and an epic boilover.

Staring down the barrel of a 5.5-6.5 deficit, the Yogis clutched up with a 4-0 final round drubbing over the Canada Chessbrahs where GM Vidit Gujrathi overcame World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen after the latter missed a checkmate in three.

Looking to recover from a tough loss in week one, the Capybaras fielded a powerful new-look team that was able to defeat the Charlotte Cobras 8.5-3.5. GMs Vladislav Artemiev and Jose Martinez were both able to score 3/3 for the Capybaras, the team never looking in doubt after a strong start.

The PCL will continue on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, at 7.30 a.m. PT/16:30 CET, when the Norway Gnomes take on the Levitov Wizards and the Garden State Passers face the Spanish Maniac Shrimps.

Canada Chessbrahs 6.5 – 9.5 Indian Yogis

Following their successful outing in week one, the Chessbrahs fielded an identical team in week two and, due to outrating the Yogis on the top two boards, would have felt bullish about their chances to move to the top of the PCL leaderboard. The Yogis named a team with an average age of 21, hoping to utilize their prodigies to take points from the popular Chessbrahs.

The GM Aman Hambleton-led Chessbrahs started with a bang and won their first round 2.5-1.5 and second with a 3-1 score. GM Razvan Preotu once again proved to be a valuable asset after winning his opening games against GMs Raunak Sadhwani and Vidit respectively.

Preotu’s game against Vidit was particularly brutal, and a queen sacrifice was a fitting way to end the Indian board-one’s undefeated run in the tournament thus far.

GM Aryan Tari also started strongly and defeated IM Vaishali Rameshbabu in round two after taking advantage of a superior pawn structure and deftly converting a rook and bishop endgame.

Now within reach of a match win with a round to spare, the Chessbrahs set out to gain the three points required to secure the win. Despite Carlsen making a statement with a 21-move miniature on board one with the black pieces against Sadhwani, the Yogis managed to flip the momentum and win 3-1.

Vidit’s win over Tari was crucial for the Yogis and came after the Indian GM found an aesthetic knight-forking pattern to win his Norwegian opponent’s queen.

Pumped with adrenaline following a round-three victory, the Yogis rode the wave of momentum heading into the fourth round and bamboozled the Chessbrahs with a remarkable 4-0 score that pushed them to a match-winning 9.5-6.5.

Vidit was outstanding for the Yogis in week two. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess.

Vaishali put on a masterclass to overcome FM Jennifer Yu‘s Petrov Defense and checkmated her in just 27 moves while IM Aronyak Ghosh and Sadhwani comfortably defeated Preotu and Tari respectively. The most stunning result of the day was Vidit’s winΒ with Black over Carlsen. In a landmark first victory over the world champion, Vidit benefitted from his opponent missing checkmate in three and exploited a tactical oversight by Carlsen.

GM Rafael Leitao analyzes the 58-move rollercoaster of a game.

After turning the match around in what Sachdev described as the “upset of all upsets,” Vidit stated: “We fought very hard, and I think the cherry on top for me was for sure to defeat Magnus.”

Brazil Capybaras 8.5 – 3.5 Charlotte Cobras

Having suffered a disappointing loss at the hands of the Yogis in week one, the Capybaras bounced back with renewed energy and a lineup featuring three players on debut. Martinez, who played on board two last week, was pushed down a board by Artemiev and GM Sandro Mareco, with the team rounded out by FM Julia Alboredo on board four.

The Cobras were similarly bolstered by GM Grigoriy Oparin, who joined GMs Daniel Naroditsky, Brandon Jacobson, and FM Gabriela Antova for an average rating of 2523.

With rating mismatches dictating the results on boards one and four, the middle boards were always going to be likely to decide which team would gain an early lead. Clearly, the Capybaras meant business on Tuesday and stormed to a 3-1 victory in the first round, courtesy of wins from Artemiev, Mareco, and Martinez. Martinez’s win over Naroditsky was the most exciting of the round and featured an opportunistic attack on the American’s king.

The Capybaras drove salt into the wounds of the Cobras in the second round with another 3-1 win, this time knocking over the Cobra’s board-one, Oparin. Artemiev also flexed his tactical awareness and defeated Jacobson on the white side of the King’s Indian Attack. On board two, Mareco’s Queen’s Gambit was simply too good for Antova and after a resignation on move 29, the Argentinian fist-pumped the air as the Capybaras extended their lead.

With the scores standing at 6-2 in favor of the Capybaras, just 2.5 points were needed in the third round, and the Brazilian team was able to achieve exactly what was required. While Jacobson’s win over Alboredo canceled out Martinez’s over Antova, a draw between Oparin and Mareco left all the attention on Naroditsky’s game against Artemiev. Securing a win appeared futile for the American content creator as he entered a drawn knight versus three pawns ending; however, a devastating blunder, 75.Ng5?? left his opponent with a winning position.

Tuesday’s results mean that the Yogis have ascended to the top of the PCL leaderboard, being the only team to have played, and won, both of their matches so far. Meanwhile, the Cobras will needΒ  to turn their luck around quickly to avoid being cut from the league after three weeks.

The Pro Chess League (PCL) is the number-one online global chess league for teams from all over the world. The event features 16 teams playing rapid games for their piece of the $150,000 prize fund.

The main event will continue throughout February and March and features top players like GMs Magnus Carlsen, Daniel Naroditsky, and Hikaru Nakamura.

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