Carlsen Wins Climactic Clash vs. Anand, Leads Team To Top
This is the first round where Carlsen won along with his team. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Carlsen Wins Climactic Clash vs. Anand, Leads Team To Top

| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

In a highly-anticipated rematch, GM Magnus Carlsen defeated GM Viswanathan Anand, leading the SG Alpine Warriors to an epic comeback victory and the top of the standings on day seven of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League 2023. Carlsen had great help from the invincible GM Praggnanandhaa R., who won yet again to reach an unbelievable 6.5 points out of seven.

The GM Ian Nepomniachtchi-led Balan Alaskan Knights overtook GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's Upgrad Mumba Masters in a match that came down to the wire as GM Raunak Sadhwani scored the sole victory with sensational attacking play. 

The action will continue on June 29, starting at 6.30 a.m. ET/15:30 CEST.

How to watch?
You can follow the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League 2023 on our events page here. The event is being streamed on numerous TV channels, as well as on the GCL's YouTube Channel

Round Seven 

Balan Alaskan Knights 8-5 Upgrad Mumba Masters

When these two teams were matched up earlier in round two, the Balan Alaskan Knights prevailed despite having the black pieces―a bad sign for the Upgrad Mumba Masters now taking on black themselves. Still, as the scoreboard shows, this match was neck-and-neck until the very end. 

Vachier-Lagrave and Nepomniachtchi drew a rather calm game in the Bb5 Sicilian.

GM Teimour Radjabov pressed vs. GM Vidit Santosh, getting his rook to the seventh and trying to keep Black's queenside crippled by adding pressure to the closed-off fianchettoed bishop. Yet, Vidit ultimately won the strategic battle by fighting to open the bishop's diagonal.

Vidit achieves the key center break to equalize.

GM Tan Zhongyi gained a huge advantage vs. GM Humpy Koneru by creating a protected passed pawn on d6 in the middlegame. But as the 16th women's world champion tried to capitalize on her edge, she miscalculated, and Humpy miraculously saved the game.

GM Harika Dronavalli pressed in the endgame vs. GM Nino Batsiashvili, but the Georgian grandmaster ultimately held the balance. GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov vs. GM Alexander Grischuk was an 89-move hard-fought duel and the last game to finish. Though this tense battle was level most of the time, both sides missed an opportunity to win at different stages of the game. Try your hand at discovering what the grandmasters overlooked.

Find Grischuk's missed tactical opportunity. Black to move.

Find Abdusattorov's missed endgame opportunity. White to move.

With four draws and Abdusattorov vs. Grischuk looking like it would follow suit, the fate of the match fell on the prodigy board as Raunak and GM Javokhir Sindarov duked it out in time trouble.

Raunak spent his time edge to come up with a plan to push his advantage, stabilizing the queenside and then even using it as an avenue to break through with his rook and refocus on his king attack.

Can you find the key idea that forced his opponent to give up material to prevent checkmate?

White to move.

Raunak is very expressive of his victories. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

With this match-winning victory, Raunak has flipped his entire tournament around. He shared what worked well for him today:

“I was on tilt before the rest day, so the rest day was really useful. I tried to calm myself down.

I changed some of my preparation. Today, before coming to the game, I was playing a lot of blitz games just to warm up a bit, and I felt a bit more sharp.”

On the other side of the scoreboard, the Upgrad Mumba Masters are looking at the rounds ahead.

SG Alpine Warriors 10-8 Ganges Grandmasters

Carlsen's SG Alpine Warriors had an axe to grind this round. The Ganges Grandmasters gave them their first defeat of the event in round two and seized the league lead from them in round four. 

Playing so confidently he gained 90 seconds on his clock by move 27, GM Leiner Dominguez posed a tactical challenge for GM Arjun Erigaisi deep in the theory of the French Defense. The 19-year-old grandmaster was up to the test, accurately navigating his escape from Dominguez's threats despite the land mines buried all over the position.

Follow Erigaisi's footsteps and exercise your own defensive tactical ability. The white rook will soon come after all of Black's major pieces on the back rank via b1-b8. How can Black survive? 

Black to move.

Beyond this draw, halfway into the round, every single board favored White to varying degrees. The Warriors had an uphill battle ahead of them. 

Soon, the Ganges Grandmasters claimed the first victory with a brilliant attacking effort by GM Richard Rapport vs. GM Gukesh D. After preparing with a blunt yet effective rook lift to g4, Rapport sent his knight in to set fire to the enemy kingside. 

With elegant attacking play, Rapport scored the first victory of the round. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Their lead increased when GM Hou Yifan snuck her queen into GM Irina Krush's kingside for unstoppable checkmate. After the kingside structure locked up with a white pawn at h6, the position begged for a queen to reach f6. It took 13 moves for the opportunity to appear, but the queen finally arrived at her ideal destination.

The white queen journeys through Black's camp to her dream square.

This put the SG Alpine Warriors down two games with no wins so far and only three boards remaining. Praggnanandhaa was the first Warrior to turn the tides. On the prodigy board vs. GM Andrey Espienko, the Indian grandmaster flipped a previously positional duel on its head by unleashing a slew of kingside threats―more than willing to leave his rambunctious knights en prise in the process. 

Carlsen shared his feelings on his teammate: “Well, we have this one guy who wins every single game, that kind of helps… Praggnanandhaa has been an absolute star. It's not only that he wins games, it’s the way he wins them with class every single day. I’m impressed.” 

With GM Bela Khotenashvili and GM Elisabeth Paehtz in equal ending, winding down to a draw, everything came down to the clash of titans: Anand vs. Carlsen―with the Norwegian icon in a must-win position with Black. 

The eval bar claimed their endgame to be dead equal, but this isn't something that fazes Carlsen, whose specialty is creating chances from minuscule imbalances. He offered a pawn sacrifice on the kingside to fix a target and then maneuvered all his pieces to their optimum positions, yet the silicone overlord remained unimpressed.

Carlsen's and Anand's decade-long rivalry continues to generate stunning chess. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

With another pawn sacrifice to penetrate with his king, Carlsen finally got his wish: the game exploded into glorious chaos as both sides raced to promote their passers while simultaneously trying to trip up the opponent's progress. 

Anand fought valiantly, promoting to a fresh queen first and setting up a wealth of stalemate traps, yet Carlsen underpromoted in the critical moment to seize victory―both for himself and for his team. 

After the game, Carlsen shared his inner workings of his creative decisons: “I thought it was the only chance to win. Let’s go and make it a fun fight!” 

This climactic battle between world champion rivals is our Game of the Day, analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao.

This is one of the most beautiful endgames I have ever analyzed. It's so full of beauty and deep ideas. I have the sensation of analyzing multiple studies during the time spent on this game.

With this victory, the SG Alpine Warriors stand at the top of the scoreboard once again, taking back first place from their opponents. 

Global Chess League Standings After Day 7

# Team Played Wins   Losses Draws Game Pts Match Pts
1 SG Alpine Warriors 7 5 2 0 61 15
2 Ganges Grandmasters 7 4 3 0 67 12
3 UpGrad Mumba Masters 7 3 3 1 52 10
4 Balan Alaskan Knights 7 3 4 0 56 9
5 Chingari Gulf Titans 6 2 3 1 47 7
6 Triveni Continental Kings 6 2 3 1 38 6

Tech Mahindra Global Chess League 2023 consists of a preliminary group stage and a final contested by the top two teams. In each match, members of the same team play with the same color. All games are in the 15+10 time control.

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NM Vanessa West

Vanessa West is a National Master, a chess teacher, and a writer for In 2017, they won the Chess Journalist of the Year award.

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