PRO Chess League Semifinal: Baden-Baden Snowballs vs. Chengdu Pandas
Who will advance to the PRO Chess League finals on May 5 in San Francisco?

PRO Chess League Semifinal: Baden-Baden Snowballs vs. Chengdu Pandas

PROChessLeague
PROChessLeague
|
33 | Other

With the PRO Chess League finals just two weeks away, the margin for error is slim and some key factors will determine who goes home and who will stand at the podium as the 2019 PCL champions.

The PRO Chess League regular season produced some dramatic storylines that saw teams rise and fall over the course of a few wild final weeks. Chess.com takes a look at three important storylines of the first semifinal match: the Baden-Baden Snowballs vs. the Chengdu Pandas.

The match will be played live at the Folsom Street Foundry in San Francisco on May 4 at 10 a.m. PDT., and will be streamed live on www.Twitch.tv/Chess and www.Chess.com/TV.

  1. Will Georg Meier continue to dominate?
Georg Meier 2019 PRO Chess League
Georg Meier has played the most PRO Chess League games in the history of the league.

Georg Meier scored 4/4 in the first round of the playoffs vs. Amsterdam and drew key games against the top players of Norway to help the Snowballs clinch the quarterfinal match. This time he will be facing much stronger opposition than usual, as he is up against three 2600+ rated GMs, including Li Chao and Wang Yue, who are both higher rated than Meier.

  1. Who will win the board-four battle?
Zhang Di 2019 PRO Chess League
Zhang Di is a 12-year old phenom whose performance rating has exceeded his FIDE rating by nearly 400 points

Chengdu's 12-year-old wunderkind, Zhang Di, is one of the main reasons that the Pandas are in San Francisco again. He scored an amazing 2.5/4 against the Dallas Destiny, and held his own against Minnesota with 1/4. His rating is so low that it allows the Pandas to play high-rated players on the top three boards. The problem for Chengdu is that in this match, the Snowballs are using three experienced GMs on the top three boards, and it might be harder than usual for Zhang Di to score against them.

This means that his round-four game against WIM Inna Agrest could easily decide the match. Inna has been playing for and managing the Snowballs since 2017 and has been a fixture for them on board four. She will have the black pieces in this key match, and while she has a higher rating, it's obvious from Zhang Di's play this season that he is massively underrated. This is anyone's game.

  1. Will Zhao Jun recover?
Zhao Jun 2019 PRO Chess League
Zhao Jun will look to recover his form if he's to help the Chengdu Pandas to a second straight PCL finals.

Zhao Jun had an extremely rough week against the Minnesota Blizzard. In a match where he was higher rated than all four of his opponents, he managed just 0.5/4 points. Buoyed by Wang Yue's 4/4, the Pandas were able to overcome Zhao Jun's performance and advance anyway, but Zhao will have to perform better if his team wants a chance to win its first PCL title.

The PRO Chess League semifinals and finals weekend kicks off May 4 at the Folsom Street Foundry and tickets are selling fast. Tickets can be purchased at The Ticket Fairy for just $25 plus fees for the entire weekend. Each ticket purchased also comes with a limited edition 2019 PRO Chess League finals t-shirt.

For more information about the PRO Chess League, visit www.prochessleague.com

You can also catch all the action live at www.Twitch.tv/Chess and www.Chess.com/TV

More from PROChessLeague
2019 PRO Chess League Summer Series: Official Information

2019 PRO Chess League Summer Series: Official Information

PRO Chess League Semifinals: Saint Louis Arch Bishops vs. Armenia Eagles

PRO Chess League Semifinals: Saint Louis Arch Bishops vs. Armenia Eagles