Saint Louis Arch Bishops, Armenia Eagles In PRO Chess League Final

Saint Louis Arch Bishops, Armenia Eagles In PRO Chess League Final

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

The Saint Louis Arch Bishops and the Armenia Eagles will play in Sunday's PRO Chess League final. The teams defeated the China Pandas and the Canada Chessbrahs respectively, who will play the match for third place on Saturday.

The games of the PRO Chess League Finals are played in Live Chess. You can also watch them here as part of our live games platform. The broadcast is on with commentary by GM Maurice Ashley, GM Robert Hess, IM Anna Rudolf, and IM Danny Rensch. The match for third place will start Saturday, September 26 at 7:15 a.m. Pacific time / 16:15 Central Europe. The final will start Sunday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time / 19:00 Central Europe. 

Saint Louis Arch Bishops – China Pandas 11-5

In their first-ever clash in PRO Chess League history, the Saint Louis Arch Bishops and the China Pandas started with four calm draws in the first round. Was this going to be a close and tense match, where the Bishops wouldn't be so sure of playing another final?

No, it wasn't. In the next three rounds, the Saint Louis super quartet scored three 3-1 victories in a row that included six individual victories and not a single loss. It was a powerful performance by the whole team: each of the four players scored at least one win.

A dramatic game was the one between GMs Jeffery Xiong and Wei Yi in round three, where the latter was completely winning in the middlegame and even missed a chance early in the bishop endgame before he eventually lost:

The Arch Bishops were four points ahead before the start of the final round. Only a miracle, in the form of a 4-0 sweep, could save the Pandas. That didn't happen when GM Wesley So extended the lead with a win against Wei, who only made half a point in this semifinal. So, as well as Xiong, scored 3/4.

Wesley So Pro chess league

Armenia Eagles – Canada Chessbrahs 9-7

In what was a much closer match, things looked bright for the Canada Chessbrahs in the first round. GM Anish Giri started his day with a win vs. GM Tigran L. Petrosian and, although GM Aryan Tari was losing against GM Parham Maghsoodloo, GM Alexander Grischuk was doing well against GM Raunak Sadhwani, and GM Ivan Saric's position looked winning as well.

But somehow the Eagles managed to scrape a 2-2 from this dire situation. The 15-year-old Sadhwani held the draw (spoiler alert: he wouldn't lose a single game in this match!), and GM Haik Martirosyan did the same, basically by tricking Saric:

Saric bounced back with a win against Maghsoodloo in round two (see below), and Grischuk added another for the Brahs as he beat Petrosian. Giri's loss was painful but seemed somewhat insignificant; the team won, right? But running into checkmate was a bad omen for worse things to come.

Giri also lost his next game to Maghsoodloo, and because Petrosian beat Tari, suddenly it was the Eagles and not the Chessbrahs who were up a point before the last round. It was then Giri's draw with Martirosyan that meant the 8.5 points for the Eagles and their spot in the finals.

Where 2-2 was enough, the Armenian team won the final match 2.5-1.5, thanks to Petrosian's win over Tari. But here's a more interesting game: Saric's win against Maghsoodloo from round two.

Semifinals | All games

The PRO Chess League finals are the culmination of the fourth season that began on January 6, 2020, followed by the playoffs held in March. The final four teams are bringing top grandmasters to fight for a $40,000 total prize fund, with $20,000 going to the winning team.

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