Jan-Krzysztof Dubai (left) in action against Vishwanathan Anand on Day 6 of the Global Chess League on Tuesday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Chingari Gulf Titans bounced back in timely fashion by upsetting the applecart of Ganges Grandmasters in the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League on Tuesday.

On Day 6 of the tournament, the Titans started in fifth position as they took on the leaders and came out 9-7 winners. Also coming up with an improved performance were the upGrad Mumba Masters who moved up a spot on the table after beating Triveni Continental Kings in the last match of the day. Titans, who briefly occupied third place, moved down to make way for the Masters.

In the previous match, the Ganges Grandmasters had played as white and emerged victorious 10:4 after winning the coin toss. This time, it was their turn to play with the black pieces.

Khotenashvilli's error

The first break for the Titans came on board five: Polina Shuvalova created a better position against Bella Khotenashvilli. In a complicated position, Khotenashvilli made an error in time trouble and handed over the game to Shuvalova and, eventually, lost on time. Soon afterwards two top world heavyweights Richard Rapport and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov decided to draw.

In a chaotic game between Daniil Dubov and Leinier Dominguez, where both sides exchanged advantages, Dubov emerged victorious after time trouble, securing four critical points for the Titans. Nihal Sarin drew with Andrey Esipenko despite having the upper hand for the greater part of the game.

Anand gives his team respite

Vishy Anand of Ganges gave his team a respite when he beat icon player and board one Jan-Kryzsztof Duda, but that wasn’t enough for a victory. Despite her efforts, former world champion Hou Yifan of Ganges was not successful in defeating Alexandra Kosteniuk. The game ended with a draw.

GCL Day61
Hou Yifan (left) was held to a draw by Alexandra Kosteniuk on Tuesday. Image Credit: Supplied

In their previous encounter with the Kings, the Mumba Masters emerged victorious while playing with the black pieces. This time, they played as White. Despite starting the league with a win, the Mumba Masters have faced a challenging journey so far - currently standing on 50%, with two victories, two losses, and one draw.

On the other hand, the Kings are having a treacherous run ever since the jinxed start when Levon Aronian had to step in for current world champion Ding Liren as the icon player. Although composed of exceptional players and guided by the well-known GM Loek van Wely, the team has experienced setbacks.

Nana Dzagnidze withdraws

Early morning on Tuesday, it was revealed that Nana Dzagnidze had withdrawn from the tournament due to personal health reasons and would not be returning for the rest of tournament. Stepping in to fill her shoes is another formidable player, Sara Khadem—one of the world’s top female players.

Both sides were evenly matched for most part of the contest. The only one to gain more initiative from the outset was Masters’ Harika Dronavalli who was slightly better than Sara Khadem.

As the players were nearing time trouble, things on the boards began to change quickly. Mumba’s Javokhir Sindarov opted for a pawn advance on the kingside which proved to be ill-prepared. His opponent - another prodigy - Jonas Buhl Bjerre leapt at the opportunity and soon got into a very strong position. As they were having less time on their clocks, both players started to err, exchanging advantages with one another and keeping the game open until the end.

By the time Koneru Humpy agreed on a draw with Kateryna Lagno, her compatriot and colleague Harika Dronavalli (Fide standard rating 2510) was completely winning against Khadem (Fide rating 2488). In the meantime, team Mumba got another strong pin – as Alexander Grischuk was winning against Triveni’s Yu Yangyi. However, Triveni’s Yu Yangyi is a great defender and as he was better on time, he soon managed to unsettle Grischuk as the famed Russian player threw away his advantage.

High tension

Team leaders Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian settled for a draw as tensions mount. Shortly after, Vidit Gurjathi and Wei Yi also agreed to a draw, bringing a sense of calm to the match. Grischuk lost momentum and had to accept a draw against Grandmaster Yu.

The fate of the match hinged on the final two boards: Dronavalli defeated Khadem. In an unfortunate turn for the Kings, Jonas Bjerre misplayed his position, allowing Sindarov to seize the advantage and secure a win. Kings are now at the bottom of the table.


Match 17

Chingari Gulf Titans 9-7 Ganges Grandmasters

Queen of the match – Polina Shuvalova

King of the match – Daniil Dubov

Match 18

upGrad Mumba Masters 10-4 Triveni Continental Kings

Queen of the match – Harika Dronavalli

King of the match – Javokhir Sindarov