Anand Gains 4th Victory, But Team Duda Defeats Leaders

Anand Gains 4th Victory, But Team Duda Defeats Leaders

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GM Viswanathan Anand scored yet another victory, defeating GM Jan-Krysztof Duda, but it wasn’t enough for the Ganges Grandmasters, who lost a nailbiter to the Chingari Gulf Titans on day six of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League 2023

With wins from GM Daniil Dubov and IM Polina Shuvalova and a crucial draw by GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, the Titans have risen from last place into fourth. 

Due to missed opportunities on the higher boards, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave‘s Upgrad Mumba Masters were deadlocked vs. GM Levon Aronian‘s Triveni Continental Kings until the last minutes of the round when GM Harika Dronavalli and GM Javokhir Sindarov carried their team to victory. 

The action will continue on June 28, starting at 6.30 a.m. ET/15:30 CEST.

How to watch?

You can follow the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League 2023 on our events page here. The event is being streamed on numerous TV channels, as well as on the GCL’s YouTube Channel

Round Six  


Ganges Grandmasters 7-9 Chingari Gulf Titans

The Chingari Gulf Titans entered the round with much to prove, looking for vengeance against the Ganges Grandmasters, who defeated them in round one. In addition, the Titans held hopes to launch themselves out of last place while taking down the clear first-place Grandmasters. 

Anand is looking like himself in his prime. The 15th world champion has four victories on the top board. None of his rivals are anywhere close. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Anand gained the advantage vs. Duda with a clever maneuver to land his knight on the potent ‘octopus’ square of d3.  

The knight’s journey to glory:

Duda sacrificed an exchange to eliminate the meddlesome knight, but Anand’s remaining rooks dominated the endgame. Anand is now 2-0 vs. Duda in the league. 

Though GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov exhibited some aggressive potential when he set up Reti’s rifle (a queen on a1 behind a fianchettoed bishop on b2), the Azerbaijani grandmaster soon switched gears and traded away a slew of pieces, drawing with GM Richard Rapport on board two. 

Dubov created a rare remix of a popular position in the Scotch Game, offering an unexpected pawn sacrifice to leave the well-traveled road vs. GM Leinier Dominguez.

In the middlegame, the 27-year-old grandmaster stormed his e- and f-pawns at Black’s kingside, cracking it open and unleashing a whirlwind of attacking play. With just seconds on his clock, Dominguez defended with amazing verve and accuracy, holding off Dubov’s every threat. Just when it seemed that the American grandmaster would escape alive, his flag fell. 

After the game, Dubov shared his feelings about playing the white pieces: 

“You have to gamble with White. You have to win some games. 

“Some of the positions I don’t like actually. At one point, I looked at the board and realized: I have to give it my all and probably lose one more game.

“Even if I’m given the chance at a draw, I will never take it, clearly.”

Even if I’m given the chance at a draw, I will never take it, clearly.

—Daniil Dubov

Despite GM Nihal Sarin’s uber-aggressive intentions on the prodigy board―unleashing the notoriously risky King’s Gambit―his dynamic duel vs. GM Andrey Esipenko ultimately settled into a perpetual check. 

Shuvalova snatched an extra pawn and then a free knight after GM Bela Khotenashvili overlooked a double attack in time pressure.  

As the round neared its end with Dominguez’s flag falling and Anand’s win with Black, everything fell on the shoulders of GM Hou Yifan and Kosteniuk as the last game to finish. With a draw or win, Kosteniuk could seal a Titans victory while Hou faced a must-win position to save her team.  

Hou opted for an offbeat opening setup, allowing White uncontested control of the center in order to press on Kosteniuk’s weak points on the flanks. With early development of her queen, Hou set up a devious trap that Kosteniuk overlooked. Commentator GM Peter Svidler explains the shocking way that Kosteniuk could’ve evaded Hou’s trap.

As these two longtime rivals and fellow women’s world champions fought out a complicated endgame, all of the other players from both teams watched side-by-side as the fate of the match hung in the balance.

In the nick of time, Kosteniuk found a resourceful defense to give up her rook for the last of Hou’s pawns, finishing the game to a round of applause. 

Kosteniuk holds the balance in another chapter of her rivalry vs. Hou. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

It was official: the Chingari Gulf Titans, previously in last place, upset the first-place Ganges Grandmasters, boosting themselves into fourth place. 

Upgrad Mumba Masters 10-4 Triveni Continental Kings

Despite the ultimate score, this match was close until the last games finished. 

On the icon board, Vachier-Lagrave put a feisty twist on the Ruy Lopez with an early g4 and then the d4 center break without the customary c3 first. As the center opened with Aronian’s king still in it, the American grandmaster took a substantial think and then blitzed out the most accurate version to equalize. 

Surprised at the board yet able to equalize without trouble, Aronian must’ve eaten his Wheaties before the round today. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

After a tornado of pawn captures in the center, GM Humpy Koneru emerged with an extra one, but GM Kateryna Lagno had sufficient activity to hold the ending. 

In the heat of battle, GM Alexander Grischuk discovered a brilliant tactical sequence to win material vs. GM Yu Yangyi. Take a guess at his idea in the puzzle below.

White to move. 

However, the game became the masterpiece that never was when Grischuk blundered in the ending, allowing his outside passer to be traded away and ultimately drawing. As commentator Samay Raina described: “It’s like building the most beautiful skyscraper and then faltering on the final story.” 

GM Vidit Santosh pressed a slight edge in an ending vs. GM Wei Yi. Though most of the game was balanced, Vidit overlooked one critical opportunity to play for the win. Can you find it? 

White to move.

Despite a couple of close calls, the match was still tied with all draws as the final two games raged on. 

It was the prodigy board that tipped the scales. GM Jonas Bjerre opted for the Najdorf Sicilian, which soon exploded into a wild all-board slugfest as the young grandmasters created threats against each other’s kings. In the end, Sindarov prevailed, surrounding the black monarch with his strongest pieces and claiming the first victory of the match. 

This thrilling battle of the prodigies is our Game of the Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao.

IM Sara Khadem is a fresh face for the Kings, joining this round to replace GM Nana Dzagnidze, who has been granted exemption from the rest of the season for personal reasons. Khadem has chosen to compete despite recently receiving heavy news.

With perceptive strategic play, GM Harika Dronavalli reached a superior ending vs. Khadem, eventually winning a pawn and converting the rook endgame. 

Vidit congratulates his teammate, Harika, on her critical victory. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

With this victory, the Mumba Masters claimed the match, going undefeated in every game. 

Global Chess League Standings After Day 6










# Team Played Wins   Losses Draws Game Pts Match Pts
1 Ganges Grandmasters 6 4 2 0 59 12
2 SG Alpine Warriors 6 4 2 0 51 12
3 UpGrad Mumba Masters 6 3 2 1 47 10
4 Chingari Gulf Titans 6 2 3 1 47 7
5 Balan Alaskan Knights 6 2 4 0 48 6
6 Triveni Continental Kings 5 2 3 1 34 6

Tech Mahindra Global Chess League 2023 consists of a preliminary group stage and a final contested by the top two teams. In each match, members of the same team play with the same color. All games are in the 15+10 time control.


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