GCL: A day of upsets as Carlsen suffers shock defeat

IMAGE: Former India tennis star, Mahesh Bhupathi visited the event and made a ceremonial first move in the match between SG Alpine Warriors and Triveni Continental Kings. Photograph: GCL Media

Day nine of the Global Chess League (GCL) started with the favourites suffering surprising defeats.

The team of Chingari Gulf Titans stunned Mumba Masters by 12:3, while SG Alpine Warriors were upstaged by Triveni Continental Kings. World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen lost to Levon Aronian for the second time in this event, following a huge blunder.

India tennis star, Mahesh Bhupathi, a long-time friend of Vishwanathan Anand, visited the event and made a ceremonial first move in the match between SG Alpine Warriors and Triveni Continental Kings.


Chingari Gulf Titans vs Mumba Masters (12:3)

The Mumba Masters were the slight favourites. The team led by Maxime-Vachier Lagrave was always around the top but slipped in the final days. Chingari Gulf Titans were on the bottom of the board and struggling. Still, they had the advantage of white pieces.

The first good sign for Chingari occurred early on as Vidit Gujrathi made a blunder giving a dominant position to Dubov who soon converted this into a victory, after just 23 moves. Before that game ended, two heavyweights, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Alexander Grischuk, drew their game. By this point, the result was 4:1 for the Titans.

More bad news followed for team Mumba as Alexandra Kosteniuk and Polina Shuvalova defeated their opponents, bringing another six points to the Titans. With the score 10:1, the Tinas had the match in the bag as, even if Mumba scored a victory on the remaining two boards, that would not change the result. Despite the best efforts by team Mumba, the remaining two games ended in draws.

With a result of 12:3, Chingari Gulf Titans have staged a huge upset, wrecking the hopes of Mumba Masters reaching the finals.

SG Alpine Warriors vs Triveni Continental Kings (8:10)

This was the second match to end in a huge upset as Triveni Continental Kings – who played with black pieces – defeated one of the top teams in the league, SG Alpine Warriors, knocking them off course to reach the finals.

In their second match of the league, Magnus Carlsen again lost to Levon Aronian! After opening with the unusual move 1.b3, Carlsen gained more special initiative but in a relatively stable position made a blunder leading directly into a defeat. He laughed it off but was clearly unhappy.

Warriors’ Gukesh D managed to take the initiative against Yu Yangyi. The Chinese Grandmaster found himself in a lot of trouble trying to fend off checkmate. Despite avoiding mate, his position was lost and he resigned. Triveni Continental Kings quickly hit back with a victory on board three where Wei Yi outplayed Arjun Erigaisi in a queen and rook endgame.

In a duel between Praggnanandhaa R and Jonas Bjerre, the talented player from India managed to win what was a completely lost position. After misplaying in the middlegame, Praggnanandhaa defended the best he could and in a queen and rook endgame managed to take over the advantage and win. Praggnanandhaa continues his amazing performance in the league with seven wins and two draws.

Elisabeth Paehtz and Sara Khadem drew relatively quickly in 36 moves, as did Irina Krush and Kateryna Lagno.

Match results

Chingari Gulf Titans 12-3 Mumba Masters

Queen of the match – Polina Shuvalova

King of the match – Daniil Dubov

SG Alpine Warriors 8-10 Triveni Continental Kings

Queen of the match – Elisabeth Pahtz

King of the match – Gukesh D.

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