Team Aronian, Team Anand Prevail In Photo Finish Matchups
It all came down to Khadem vs. Shuvalova. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Team Aronian, Team Anand Prevail In Photo Finish Matchups

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

Day eight of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League 2023 featured two combative matchups that came down to photo finishes.

In a match of almost all decisive games, GM Levon Aronian defeated fellow icon, GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, leading the Triveni Continental Kings to victory over the Chingari Gulf Titans. The American grandmaster had help from teammates GM Wei Yi, who gained a vast material advantage vs. GM Daniil Dubov, and IM Sara Khadem, who came through for her team in a must-win last game to finish. 

The Ganges Grandmasters won by a nose vs. the Balan Alaskan Knights, carried by GM Andrey Esipenko's energetic victory over GM Raunak Sadhwani.

The action will continue on June 30, starting at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 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

Round Eight

Chingari Gulf Titans 9-10 Triveni Continental Kings

In round two, the Kings edged ahead of the Titans, winning a close match due to the higher score for winning a game with Black. Switching colors, the Kings again won by inches in this nearly all-decisive matchup. 

On the icon board, Aronian scored the first victory with a tactical shot from the blue vs. Duda. How did the 40-year-old grandmaster take advantage of Black's misplaced army?

The creative Aronian catches tactics in seemingly calm positions. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

On board two, GM Yu Yangyi seemed to be riled up by GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's bold choice of the Scandinavian Defense. The Chinese grandmaster went on a sacrifice spree, throwing every piece at his opponent's open king. Mamedyarov accepted the material and successfully fended off White's threats, emerging from the chaos with an extra bishop.

Yu went all-out with the white pieces, but Mamedyarov survived his onslaught. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Wei was a 'pawn-grubbing' legend in his game vs. Dubov, accumulating six extra pawns by the queen ending.

GM Yasser Seirawan would be proud.

In the only draw of the round, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk neutralized GM Kateryna Lagno's first move advantage with active play that incited heaps of exchanges. 

GM Nihal Sarin kept his team in the match by doubling his rooks on GM Jonas Bjerre's second rank and setting up a picturesque checkmate in the time scramble. 

With two wins for each team, Khadem vs. IM Polina Shuvalova became the deciding game. Khadem, the Kings' newest competitor, found herself in a must-win position.

With keen tactical awareness, the 26-year-old international master snagged an extra pawn early in the middlegame and pressed her material advantage into the ending. Shuvalova defended actively and looked to have good drawing chances with the exchange of rooks. Yet, in the end, Khadem was able to utilize the tactical nature of queen and bishop endgames, setting up a back-rank mate threat only preventable by loss of material. 

Her victory edged the Kings ahead on the scoreboard by just one point, sealing the match victory. 

Khadem was delighted to contribute to her team's win. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ganges Grandmasters 8-7 Balan Alaskan Knights

The Ganges Grandmasters defeated the Balan Alaskan Knights when they first faced each other in round three. Now with the white pieces, could the Knights even the score?

Another epic battle between icons: two-time challenger faces the 15th world champion. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

On the top board, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi pressed in the ending with an extra pawn and two connected passers, but GM Viswanathan Anand's active king and knights held without too much trouble. 

GM Teimour Radjabov gained an extra pawn vs. GM Leinier Dominguez, but the drawish nature of rook and opposite-color bishop endings kept the game level.

In a dynamic rumble on the prodigy board, Esipenko gave his team the edge vs. Raunak, spotting a decisive tactical bolt on the queenside. Esipenko's riveting victory is our Game of the Day, analyzed by GM Dejan Bojkov

GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov struck back for the Knights with a win over GM Richard Rapport, capitalizing on an oversight by the Romanian grandmaster to win a pawn.

Position after 20.Nxe6!

Spotting a double attack in the middlegame, GM Tan Zhongyi won a pawn vs. the women's world number one.

Position after 13.Bxh7

Tan pressed into the endgame, but GM Hou Yifan defended perceptively, saving a tough game. 

Despite her mistake in the opening, Hou fought back, saving her team from defeat. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

This was a critical draw for the Ganges Grandmasters, who now led by a point with one game still going: GM Nino Batsiashvili vs. GM Bela Khotenashvili. The task for Khotenashvili seemed relatively simple. She was up a pawn in an ending, and a win or draw would secure the team victory. Despite this, the game raged on boundlessly as the rest of her team watched with their fate in her hands.

With Batsiashvili in a must-win position for her team and Khotenashvili ahead in material, it was unclear which player was still playing for a win. Yet, the competitors fought for 114 moves with the entire match at stake before finally accepting a peaceful result several moves past the 50-move rule. 

After the match, Hou shared what helped the Ganges Grandmasters end their losing streak: “That’s a secret from the team! Well, actually, yesterday, the whole team went for a show. So therefore our coach said: Maybe every evening after the match, we should go somewhere for special preparation.”

Global Chess League Standings After Day 8

# Team Played Wins Losses Draws Game Pts Match Pts
1 Ganges Grandmasters 8 5 3 0 75 15
2 SG Alpine Warriors 7 5 2 0 61 15
3 UpGrad Mumba Masters 7 3 3 1 52 10
4 Balan Alaskan Knights 8 3 5 0 63 9
5 Triveni Continental Kings 7 3 3 1 48 9
6 Chingari Gulf Titans 7 2 4 1 56 7

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.

Previous Coverage

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.

You can follow them on X: Vanessa__West

More from NM NM_Vanessa
Kids Prevail: Sivanandan, Radzimski Defeat Nemo, Kazarian

Kids Prevail: Sivanandan, Radzimski Defeat Nemo, Kazarian

Nakamura Unstoppable vs. Nihal, Naroditsky Overcomes Sevian's Comeback

Nakamura Unstoppable vs. Nihal, Naroditsky Overcomes Sevian's Comeback