Adhiban Gains Perfect Score for Team MGD1, Lee Wins Upset of the Season for Arch Bishops

Adhiban Gains Perfect Score for Team MGD1, Lee Wins Upset of the Season for Arch Bishops


On Friday, Team MGD1 gained their second victory in a row, defeating the California Unicorns in week three of the Pro Chess League. Though the match started out very close, GM Adhiban Baskaran‘s 4-0 performance combined with solid support from the rest of the team gave Team MGD1 a massive lead after just three rounds.

The Arch Bishops gained their first match victory of the season with every player scoring at least two points, including FM Alice Lee who won a huge upset vs. the Bears’ board one, GM Matthias Bluebaum

Week four starts on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, starting at 7:30 a.m. PT/16:30 CET. 

California Unicorns 6 – 10 Team MGD1

This match kicked off with all decisive games and a balanced 2-2 with the top two boards on each team defeating the bottom two. Contrastingly, round two swung the match heavily in Team MGD1’s favor as they gained a three-point lead, including an upset victory by GM Harika Dronavali vs. GM Illia Nyzhnyk, making a comeback in the endgame by breaking through by pushing her h-, f-, and e-pawns to create an unstoppable passer.

In round three, Team MGD1 reached eight points―just a half point away from match victory―with victories from Adhiban and GM Diptayan Ghosh. Adhiban’s winning streak amped up to 3-0 by hunting down GM Gukesh D.‘s weak pawns, one after another, in the minor piece ending. 

Meanwhile, Ghosh defeated WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor, dancing his queen between the long light- and dark-squared diagonals supported by his bishop pair to create dangerous mating threats around the white kingside.

On the Unicorns’ side, GM Christopher Yoo converted his powerful king attack into a winning rook and pawns vs. bishop and knight ending vs. Harika. This victory saved the American prodigy’s team, keeping them in the match for the last round. 

Round four was another fully decisive round and 2-2 tie, ensuring victory for Team MGD1. Though his team ultimately lost the match, Gukesh won an insightful game vs. fellow board one, GM Arjun Erigaisi, by perceptively trading into a winning knight ending. This is our Game of the Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao below.

Team MGD1 is now one win away from qualifying for the playoffs while the Unicorns will need to glide to victory next week to stay in contention. 

Berlin Bears 5.5 – 10.5 Saint Louis Arch Bishops

The three-time champion Arch Bishops on the verge of elimination came out swinging in this match, nearly sweeping the Bears with a 3.5-0.5 score in the first round.

The highlight of the match was the Arch Bishops’ board four, Lee, defeating Bluebaum. She loosened her opponent’s kingside and then created mating threats with her queen and minor pieces. The German grandmaster gave up pawns to defend his king, and Lee seamlessly converted her extra three pawns in the endgame. 

In round two, the Arch Bishops grew their lead with a victory by GM Fabiano Caruana vs. GM Michael Bezold, winning one weak pawn after after in the queenless middlegame. At this point, the entire team was still undefeated. 

Round three featured all decisive games, ultimately finishing as a 2-2 tie. GM Arik Braun served Caruana his first loss of the season by outmaneuvering him in the minor piece ending. 

Unfortunately for the Bears, this meant that every single player would have to win their game vs. their Arch Bishop counterparts in round four to reach a playoff. 

GM Nikolas Theodorou crashed through on Bezold’s kingside to score the only victory of the round, and Arch Bishops took the match with a convincing 5-point lead. 

After the match, Caruana shared his thoughts on the Arch Bishops’ chances moving forward: “We should have a chance against any team. Of course, we are going to be underdogs against some of them, but we have players on the team who can perform really well… Like today, we saw Alice. First, she beat Bluebaum in the first round.  That almost already secured the match for us, I think. Her performance was so good.”

Standings | Week 3

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 March and features top players like GMs Magnus Carlsen, Daniel Naroditsky, and Hikaru Nakamura.

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