Global Chess League: Anand’s Ganges Grandmasters, Mumbai Masters win as franchise league kicks off


Dubai, June 23 (IANS) Former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Hou Yifan won their respective games as Ganges Grandmasters secured a huge victory against Chingari Gulf Titans on the opening day of the sport’s first franchise-based league, Global Chess League.

Mumbai Masters prevailed over Triveni Continental Kings 8-7 in a closely-fought encounter in the first match of the day on Thursday.

The day belonged to Ganges Grandmasters as they romped to a 10-4 triumph on match points over Chingari Gulf Titans thanks to Anand and Yifan, both of whom won their respective games.

The Ganges Grandmasters won the toss and earned the right to play with white pieces.

In another novelty, the entire team was playing with the same colour of pieces, unlike in standard chess events where both teams have an equal number of black and white boards. In the new circumstances, the side playing with white pieces has the initial advantage of the first move which might prove valuable for the outcome.

The legendary Indian Grandmaster and five-time world champion Vishy Anand used the advantage of playing with white and his vast experience to defeat Jan-Krzysztof Duda, the former winner of the World Cup.

Former women’s world champion Hou Yifan was the second to score for Ganges Grandmasters, defeating another former women’s world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk in a thrilling game.

Those two victories were the only decisive games of the match as the other four ended in a draw as the Ganges Grandmasters won the match 10-4. With an additional three match points for winning the match, the Ganges Grandmasters have had an excellent start and have capitalised hugely on their advantage of playing with white pieces.

Anand was happy after the match and excited about the prospects of the Global Chess League.

“My team started well and that’s great. We are in unchartered waters here. This is a new vibe for chess. We all came here curious to see what will happen and how this will play out and so far it is proving to be exciting and promises a lot,” said Anand.

Earlier, in the first match of the day, Triveni Continental Kings won the toss and played with white pieces.

Led by Levon Aronian, a super Grandmaster who has long been among the world’s best players, the Triveni Continental Kings played a steady match upGrad Mumba Masters. Despite the initiative of the first move, the Kings failed to capitalise on their advantage.

In a slightly better position and with more time, Levon Aronian misplayed and allowed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (another Icon player of the Global Chess League) to equalise and bring the game to a draw.

The Kings faced another setback when Chinese Grandmaster Yu Yangyi suffered a defeat at the hands of Russian heavyweight Alexander Grischuk, giving upGrad Mumba Masters an important advantage as a victory with black pieces counts as four points.

Despite Yu’s compatriot Wie Yi scoring a victory against India’s Vidit Gujrathi and earning three points, the Kings were still a point short.

Unfortunately for them, all three remaining games ended in draws in this six-boards-per-side match, the Mumba Masters thus securing a narrow 8-7 win. Apart from the eight points achieved in their games, the winning team was awarded another three points for winning the match.



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