PRO Chess League - Week 1 Recap: San Jose Hackers vs. Webster Windmills

PRO Chess League - Week 1 Recap: San Jose Hackers vs. Webster Windmills

IM hellokostya

In Week 1 of the first season of the PRO Chess League the San Jose Hackers (1-0) defeated the Webster Windmills (0-1) by a score of 11-5.

Here was the match lineup, including how each player scored:

San Jose Hackers Webster Windmills
        GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 3.0/4         GM Ray Robson                        2.0/2
        GM Daniel Naroditsky           2.5/4         GM Priyadharshan Kannappan  0.0/4
        GM Cristian Chirila                3.0/4         IM Irene Sukandar                     0.0/2
        NM Christopher Yoo             2.5/4         IM Eric Rosen                            1.0/4

After Round 2 Webster substituted two players (known beforehand) - GM Vasif Durarbayli (1.5/2) and GM Ashwin Jayaram (0.5/2). This dominant performance by the Hackers exceeded the expectations of all five official predictions, despite a forfeit loss by our top board, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 1! For a recap of all Week 1 matches, check out's report here.

I streamed our match live on Twitch and had a great time doing it. Feel free to watch the full show to relive all of the ups and downs of the match:

And now for a round-by-round recap:

Round 1

Two minutes into the season and things started out very rough for the Hackers. As boards 2-4 had already started their games, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was unable to access the Live Chess server and was then forfeited (!) for his first round game against Webster's top seed, GM Ray Robson. This was especially disappointing considering he was online, just unfamiliar with how to get into LIve Chess. We hoped for some leniency but rules are rules, and just like that we were down 0-1. But the team did not get discouraged, and both Chirila and Naroditsky scored big wins to tie the first match 2-2, as NM Christopher Yoo lost against IM Eric Rosen in Round 1.

Check out Naroditsky's big win over GM Priyadharshan Kannappan:

Round 2

After the initial setback we felt quite good going forward, as now "Shakh" was ready to play, and play he did, as he scored three consecutive wins against Webster boards 2-3-4. Naroditsky fell to Robson's strong attack in the Ruy Lopez, while Cristian found his own decisive attack against Rosen:

With the second round at 2-1 it was all down to our board four, NM Christopher Yoo. We expected the match would be very tough for him as he was a large underdog in each game, but in Rounds 2-4 he absolutely crushed it, starting with a nice win against IM Irene Sukandar:

This huge upset gave us the second round of the match, 3-1.

Round 3
Mamedyarov again won, this time against GM Ashwin Jayaram, who was substituted in. I would refer to the following game as "typical Shakh", highly aggressive play followed by a crushing kingside attack:

Naroditsky also won against Rosen while Chirila lost his only game of the match to GM Vasif Durarbayli. Once again the onus was on Christopher to at least hold a draw against Kannappan. The ending was incredible, Christopher had been defending all game against the two bishops and in mutual time trouble he manged to swindle a win as Kannappan had flagged! I'd say this was our most fortunate moment of the match, and had all but sealed the victory. 3-1.

Round 4
The total score was now 8-4, meaning we only needed a draw to clinch the match. We didn't have to wait long as Naroditsky promptly forced a draw out of the opening against Jayaram. But it was still important to score as many points as possible in order to help with future tiebreaks. Mamedyarov and Chirila were both able to win while Christopher swindled another draw (!), this time finding a perpetual check in a worse endgame against GM Durarbayli. 3-1.

With the total score of 11-5, we felt like everything in the match had gone our way (except for the first two minutes, of course). All four players played extremely well, but huge props go to NM Christopher Yoo, who really showed nerves of steel in all his games.

Next week we will be facing our rivals across the Bay, the San Francisco Mechanics, on Wednesday, 1/18, at 6:40 PM PST. Make sure to follow all the action live here on!
The San Jose Hackers are a professional chess team in the Red Division of the PRO Chess League, sponsored by Bay Area Chess. To connect with the Hackers, please visit our FacebookTwitter, and Official Site.