Anand, Top Indian GMs Highlight PRO Chess League Wednesday
GM Viswanathan Anand returns for his second week in the PRO League. | Photo: Lennart Ootes.

Anand, Top Indian GMs Highlight PRO Chess League Wednesday

| 24 | Fun & Trivia

According to some sources, the 2011 World Cup Final between India and Sri Lanka was the most-watched cricket match in history. Still, "merely" 558 million viewers tuned in.

For its part, Agon has constantly claimed that more than 600 million people worldwide play chess. Can the simultaneous play of India's top three grandmasters in the PRO Chess League set a worldwide record tomorrow? Is it really less likely than man sending a car into space for no reason whatsoever?

Be sure to tune in Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m. Pacific, on

OK, we admit, it's mathematically highly improbable. Jokes aside, the more than 1.3 billion people in India will get to enjoy their top three players in action. We hope at least 100,000 tune in from the subcontinent!

GM Pentala Harikrishna makes his league debut for the Delhi Dynamite, while GM Viswanathan Anand returns for the Mumbai Movers. Using a very imbalanced lineup, the Movers also slotted GM Santosh Vidit in the two-spot to go with two 2200s.


GM Santosh Vidit, winner of last month's Tata Steel challengers group. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

It's hard to find fault in the managerial decisions of Mumbai. After all, it is one of the few league unbeatens (three match wins and two ties thus far).

Anand's participating in week five was also his inauguration, although it quickly soured with three draws before he notched a final-round win. To read more of his thoughts on last week, check out this article.


The Dynamite will have their hands full with a hungry Riga team, who is currently tied with 2017 finalists Norway for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Division. Ties are broken by total game points, so with only four rounds left in the nine-round regular season, some teams will be looking to win by large margins to pad their tiebreaks.

Meanwhile Anand will try to shelter the Movers against the Volga Stormbringers, who have also brought a 2700 to the table. GM Dmitry Andreikin will try to lead his team back to .500 after their 0-3 start.


In the Central Division, a battle for top of the tables will include the leading Marseille Migraines against the second-place Stockholm Snowballs. After a week-one draw, the Migraines have turned their last four opponents into bouillabaisse to get to 4.5-0.5.

The match features three players who have collectively taken a good share of the's loot from the Titled Tuesday series. Marseille's GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will try to give out some headaches while Stockholm's GM Baadur Jobava and GM Georg Meier will counter with some Swedish paracetamol. 


In the Atlantic Division, last season's trophy winners Saint Louis Arch Bishops (2-3) have gone from number one in the world to number two in their city. You can thank the collegiate mental athletes Webster Windmills for that. (Side note: If a member of the Windmills wins by playing a windmill, does he/she automatically win Move of the Week?...Second side note: the playing locations of the Windmills and the Arch Bishops are about eight miles apart, the same as Duke and UNC, basketball's top college rivalry.)

Le Quang Liem

As one the other 4.5-0.5 teams, the Windmills will try to keep their momentum going in another one-vs-two matchup. They'll face the second-place Minnesota Blizzard, who don't have the same marquee GMs. Nevertheless, they've proved, along with the Snowballs, that naming your team after winter precipitation is the way to go in the PRO League.

The Blizzard have actually won every head-to-head match of the season; their lone blemish was a sub-50-percent score in the Super Saturday, which went down as a loss as per league rules.


The Pacific Division is where the final two 4.5-0.5 teams reside. The Chengdu Pandas have been rolling along, turning nearly 75 percent of their opponents into bamboo with the most game points in the league (58.5/80). Who's going to root against a cuddly bear on Valentine's Day?

They'll rest top-rated and star performer GM Yu Yangyi as they face a tough San Jose Hackers team with world number-two GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and two 2600s, GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Zviad Izoria.

Wang Yue

You can find the full round-six pairings here and the league standings here.

Watch all the action this Wednesday starting at 8 a.m. Pacific and going until 9 p.m Pacific. More information on the league can be found at

Be sure to tune in Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m. Pacific, on

FM Mike Klein

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Mike Klein began playing chess at the age of four in Charlotte, NC. In 1986, he lost to Josh Waitzkin at the National Championship featured in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer." A year later, Mike became the youngest member of the very first All-America Chess Team, and was on the team a total of eight times. In 1988, he won the K-3 National Championship, and eventually became North Carolina's youngest-ever master. In 1996, he won clear first for under-2250 players in the top section of the World Open. Mike has taught chess full-time for a dozen years in New York City and Charlotte, with his students and teams winning many national championships. He now works at as a Senior Journalist and at as the Chief Chess Officer. In 2012, 2015, and 2018, he was awarded Chess Journalist of the Year by the Chess Journalists of America. He has also previously won other awards from the CJA such as Best Tournament Report, and also several writing awards for mainstream newspapers. His chess writing and personal travels have now brought him to more than 85 countries.

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