Shanghai Tigers, Gotham Knights Win Quarterfinals 1 & 2

Shanghai Tigers, Gotham Knights Win Quarterfinals 1 & 2

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

The Shanghai Tigers defeated the Norway Gnomes with a score of 9-7 while the Gotham Knights overcame the Saint Louis Arch Bishops with an 8.5-7.5 margin in the first two Quarterfinals of the 2023 Pro Chess League.

Even though both the teams look evenly matched on paper, the Shanghai Tigers had a smooth victory, leading with a score of 8.0-4.0 after three rounds. GM Wei Yi scored an impressive three points from his four games to be the best performer for the Tigers, including a sacrificial attacking win over GM Pranav V.

The Gotham Knights versus Saint Louis Arch Bishops was a well-contested affair providing typical thrills of a speed chess event. The Knights led with a margin of 7-5 after the third round and scored exactly the required 1.5 points in the final round. Uzbek talent GM Shamsiddin Vokhidov was the mainstay for the Knights with a score of three out of four games, including a fighting victory over GM Fabiano Caruana

The Quarterfinals conclude on Friday, May 12, starting with the Levitov Chess Wizards vs. Team MGD1 at 6:30 a.m. PT / 15:30 CEST, followed by the India Yogis vs. Blitz at 9:00 a.m. PT/18:00 CEST

How to watch?
You can watch the 2023 Pro Chess League on You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on The games can also be followed from our events page.

Live broadcast of the match, hosted by GM Daniel Naroditsky and IM Tania Sachdev / IM Daniel Rensch and FM James Canty III.

Shanghai Tigers 9 - 7 Norway Gnomes 

The all-Chinese Shanghai Tigers dominated their match against the Norway Gnomes, even though the final margin of victory doesn't really reflect that. The Tigers had already taken a lead of 8-4 at the end of the third round, and the last round was a consolation pull-back 1-3 win for the Gnomes.

The Tigers' best player of the day was their top board Wei, the erstwhile child prodigy. He played his trademark dynamic chess, creating tactical positions and outwitting his opponents in complications. In the very first game, he boldly pushed his pawns on the kingside ignoring his own king's safety to coast home in an advantageous endgame:

Wei's best effort came in the third-round game against the 16-year-old Pranav with a spectacular kingside attack sacrificing two pieces:

When Wei sacrificed with 19...Nxg2!?, Sachdev exclaimed in the commentary stream, "Wei Yi—how does he play like this Daniel?! He is an absolute beast at creating these ideas," to which Naroditsky replied: "He wants to end the match!"

Curiously, Wei won both his games with black pieces and drew his two white games.

Pranav had suffered an unfortunate mouse slip to lose his second-round game against IM Lou Yiping, which probably upset his rhythm:

Top board GM Pavel Eljanov was the mainstay for the Gnomes, but he couldn't score heavily for his team and finished with a fifty percent score. He showed his class in a well-conducted endgame:

Results | Quarterfinal 1

Gotham Knights 8.5 - 7.5 Saint Louis Arch Bishops

One of the most enjoyable and intriguing features of this match was that we could watch GM Hikaru Nakamura playing his games while streaming on Kick. Listening to Nakamura describe his thought processes live when playing his games was a thrilling experience. In the second round, when he reached a near-equal ending against GM Nikolas Theodorou, Nakamura vowed to himself delightfully: "I will try to imitate Magnus Carlsen here!" He proceeded to grind on and even create a better ending for himself, though the game petered out into a draw:

The Gotham Knights pulled ahead in the second round with a score of 5-3 thanks to a complicated win by Vokhidov against Caruana.

This is our Game of the Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao below.

The third round proved to be the most dramatic. GM Benjamin Bok-Nakamura ended in a puzzlingly short draw, while Vokhidov outplayed FM Alice Lee. The heavyweight clash between Caruana and GM Vladimir Fedoseev was a fiercely contested game with fluctuating fortunes:

At the end of the third round, the score stood at 7-5 in favor of the Knights, and they needed 1.5 points from the final round to win the match, which they achieved, though surviving a few anxious moments in the encounter between Fedoseev and Bok.

World's top-rated GM Magnus Carlsen joined the commentary team during the concluding stages of the match and commented on the tensest moments.

Under pressure, "[41.]Bxh7 was [a] really nice shot from Fedoseev with so little time," appreciated Carlsen on Fedoseev's dynamic defense against Bok.

In a light-hearted chat, Carlsen was asked to pick his favorite to win the PCL 2023. Carlsen predicted the Knights and Yogis in the Finals and that the Yogis would win.

Both the Norway Gnomes and Saint Louis Arch Bishops are awarded $7,500 for reaching the Quarterfinals.

Results | Quarterfinal 2

Playoffs Bracket

The Pro Chess League (PCL) is the number-one online global chess league for teams from all over the world. The Playoffs feature eight teams playing rapid games for their piece of the $150,000 prize fund.

Eight teams compete in a single-elimination knockout. The time control is 10+2. The first team to score 8.5 points wins the match.

Previous coverage:

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