Carlsen, Caruana Perfect PRO Chess Players After Round 3
Carlsen and Caruana have perfect scores after round three.

Carlsen, Caruana Perfect PRO Chess Players After Round 3

SamCopeland
NM SamCopeland
Feb 1, 2018, 11:05 AM |
7 | Chess.com News

After three weeks of PRO Chess League play, there are two players (Magnus Carlsen on 8/8 and Fabiano Caruana on 4/4) and one team (Minnesota Blizzard) with a perfect score. Two players aside from Carlsen and Caruana achieved perfect scores this week: Yu Yangyi (on an amazing 11.5/12) and Kiril Alekseenko (board three for the Stockholm Snowballs).

Cast your votes for game and move of the week!

Round Three Highlights: Carlsen Wins With Sass

It's impossible to talk about week three without talking about Magnus Carlsen. The world champion's perfect score was necessary to elevate his team over their international rivals: the Oslo Trolls.

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Carlsen did it all, playing crazy openings, winning positional gems, and offering gorgeous sacrifices. See the match report for a fine batch of highlights. Carlsen's excellence has been necessary for the Gnomes, who have struggled on board four. Their junior player, Elham Abdrlauf, has scored only a half-point out of 12 games.

Round Three Highlights: Blizzard Best Team In The League?

Are the Minnesota Blizzard the best team in the PRO Chess League? They are the only team with a perfect score, and their win this week did not come easy. They had to triumph over the only other undefeated team, the Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers.

Their balanced squad has been strongly anchored on board one by GM Andrew Tang who has significantly overperformed relative to his rating, scoring a 2650 performance rating despite sporting a league rating (September 2017 FIDE) of below 2500!

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Just learning about the PRO Chess League? Visit the site and read the rules!

Eastern Division

Central Division

Atlantic Division

Pacific Division

Reports compiled by Sam Copeland, Sam Thompson, Dan Clegg, and Colin Stapczynski.


Armenia Eagles Creep Past Delhi Dynamite

The Armenia Eagles bested the Delhi Dynamite 8.5-7.5. Who knows what might have been if not for a poorly timed pre-move by Aradhya Garg that dropped his queen on move 15. Ouch! Garg fought on valiantly but the queen spot proved a bit too much and NM Artak Manukyan cruised to victory. Manukyan had a great day, taking home 3.5 points for Armenia.

Meanwhile GM Salem Saleh recalled flashbacks of Bobby Fischer when he went with the King’s Gambit against GM Manuel Petrosyan in round two. Saleh came to fight and the two GMs treated us to a great game filled with exciting positions that typify the aggressiveness of the KGA. You’ll definitely want to browse the game below and be sure to get a look at the position after move 28.Bc2.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Armenia Eagles vs Delhi Dynamite

Dynamite Eagles Hrant Melkumyan Zaven Andriasyan Manuel Petrosyan Artak Manukyan 8.5
Salem Saleh 2
Vaibhav Suri 2.5
Sahaj Grover 2
Aradhya Garg 1
7.5 2.5 2.5 0 3.5

Mumbai Movers Draw Estonia Horses, Halt Winning Streak

The Estonia Horses' two-match winning streak has ended, finally stopped today by the unbeaten Mumbai Movers. Estonia's board one, GM Onischuk, had a very bad day, only scoring 1.5/4 including a loss to Mumbai's board four, WGM Eesha Karavade, who played an excellent game.

On board two, teammate GM Jann Ehlvest made up the difference with a blazing 3.5/4. Coming into round four, Estonia led by a full point, 6.5-5.5 and Ehlvest had a chance to bring home the bacon. However, Mumbai's GM Abhimanyu Puranik was up to the task.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Estonia Horses vs Mumbai Movers

Horses Movers Diptayan Ghosh Abhimanyu Puranik Abhijeet Kunte Eesha Karavade 8
Alex Onischuk 1.5
Jaan Ehlvest 3.5
Meelis Kanep 1
Sander Kukk 2
8 2 2.5 2.5 1

Riga Magicians Weather The Volga Stormbringers

The Riga Magicians know that they’ll need a trick or two if they expect to catch the Estonia Horses in the Eastern Division. The Magicians' 13-year-old phenom GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov seemed to have cast a spell on his round-one foe IM Nikita Meskovs, who mysteriously went pawn grabbing and allowed an exchange sacrifice on move 29 (see game below). Abdusattorov went on to win the first of his 3.5 points for the Magicians, who won the match 8.5 - 7.0. 

A late lineup change cost the Volga Stormbringers a half-point penalty, starting the match at a deficit, and they struggled to get on track throughout the match. 

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Volga Stormbringers vs Riga Magicians

Magicians Stormbringers Mikhail Demidov Nodirbek Abdusattorov Mikhail Gorozhanin Ilja Dudukin 7.5
Igor Kovalenko 3
Toms Kantans 3.5
Nikita Meskovs 1.5
Dmitrijs Tokranovs 0.5
8.5 2 3.5 1 1

Magnus Carlsen's Perfect Play Leads Norway Gnomes Past Oslo Trolls

World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen scored a flawless 4/4 today leading the Norway Gnomes past the Oslo Trolls 8.5-7.5. Not only was Carlsen perfect, but his total PRO Chess League score is now an astounding 8/8! Today he was never in any danger and delivered some devastating attacks.

It was apparent Carlsen was in a swashbuckling mood, opening his white games with 1. a3 (followed by 2. h4!) in round two and 1. Nc3 in round four. 

He sewed up the round-two game with a beautiful sacrifice. Can you say "Move Of The Week"!? 

Play through the game here and see if you can spot where Carlsen missed a mate-in-two!

In round three, Carlsen continued his offbeat play and essayed the Hungarian Defense! Possibly a tip of the cap to PRO Chess League commentator IM Anna Rudolf?

In round four, Carlsen found a nice unexpected checkmate in a rook and knight endgame and sealed the deal for Norway.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Norway Gnomes vs Oslo Trolls

Trolls Gnomes Magnus Carlsen Laurent Fressinet Aryan Tari Elham Abdrlauf 9
Frode Urkedal 2.5
Roeland Pruijssers 2
Kristian Stuvik Holm 1.5
Tor Fredrik Kaasen 1
7 4 2 3 0

Marseille Migraines Best London Lions

With some good fortune that included a forfeit win against Lions board-one GM Christian Bauer, the Marseille Migraines overcame the the London Lions in a close match in which their board three, GM Yannic Gozzoli, again scored excellently.

London continues to be the most unpredictable team in the league. Last week it got three points from board three, IM Justin Tan, and this week it got three points from board four, FM Andrew Horton! If London's players all find their form at the same time, they will be ferocious!

Here is the game between Gozzoli and Horton. Gozzoli seemed to be pressing for a long time, but was actually fortunate to escape with a draw when the game turned in Horton's favor.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | London Lions vs Marseille Migraines

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Ljubljana Turtles' Flexible Lineup Defeats Reykjavik Puffins

The Ljubljana Turtles had thus far depended on their board one, GM Luka Lenic. In the first two weeks of the PRO Chess League, he scored a league-leading 7.5/8! This week things fell apart as he only scored 1.5/4.

Fortunately for the Turtles, their boards two and four stepped up in big ways, scoring 3.0 and 2.5 points respectively. Here's a key draw from Luka Skuhala on board four, who hung on against GM Thorhallsson who sacrificed a piece.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Reykjavik Puffins vs Ljubljana Turtles

Puffins Turtles Luka Lenic Jure Borisek Dusko Pavasovic Luka Skuhala 8.5
Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson 2
Johann Hjartarson 1
Throstur Thorhallsson 2.5
Bjorn Thorfinnsson 2
7.5 1.5 3 1.5 2.5

Amsterdam Mosquitos Bring Stockholm Snowballs To A Standstill

The Amsterdam Mosquitos stopped the Stockholm Snowballs dead in their tracks, drawing even with the central division leader in an exciting 8-8 match. Amsterdam, who came into the match today as the underdog, has struggled to put a point on the board the past two weeks. But today they were up to the challenge.

The teams were tied at the match halfway point and it remained close the rest of the way. Stockholm's board-three GM Kirill Alekseenko did the (nearly) impossible and scored a perfect 4/4, which sadly only balanced out the 0/4 performance of board four. Don't miss his exciting round-two encounter with GM Loek van Wely.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Stockholm Snowballs vs Amsterdam Mosquitos

Mosquitoes Snowballs Georg Meier Evgenij Agrest Kirill Alekseenko Inna Agrest 8
Loek van Wely 2
Jan Smeets 2
Miguoel Admiraal 2
Jasel Lopez 2
7.5* 3 1 4 0

Cannes Blockbusters Beat London Towers

Last week the London Towers benefited from a 4/4 performance from GM Gawain Jones on board one, but this week it was GM Matthieu Cornette on board one who led his Cannes Blockbusters to victory over the Towers.

Perhaps the most important game was their Sicilian Dragon matchup in the final round. Jones literally wrote the book on the Dragon, but Cornette seemed well-prepared and won a convincing game from the white side.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | London Towers vs Cannes Blockbusters

Towers Blockbusters Matthieu Cornette Maxime Lagarde Deimante Cornette Pierre Villegas 8.5
Gawain Jones 2.5
Peter Roberson 1.5
Thomas Rendle 2.5
Simon Ansell 1
7.5 3.5 2.5 1 1.5

Saint Louis Arch Bishops Defeat Miami Champions In Thrilling Finale

In a match with numerous brilliant moves, it was ultimately the battle between board ones GM Fabiano Caruana and Eduardo Iturrizaga that narrowly decided things in favor of the Saint Louis Arch Bishops. Iturrizaga was in a must-win position and was pressuring his opponent when Caruana dropped a beautiful bomb on the board!

While Caruana clinched the match, it was GM Julio Becerra who put the pressure on by previously defeating GM Alejandro Ramirez in a stylish fashion.

Before that, it was GM Vladimir Fedoseev who won a thrilling game with the inspiring shot 28.Qxf2!!, a fitting conclusion to a game with many tactical turns.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Saint Louis Arch Bishops vs Miami Champions

Champions Arch Bishops Fabiano Caruana Vladimir Fedoseev Alejandro Ramirez Forest Chen 9
Eduardo Iturrizaga 3
Yuniesky Quesada 1
Julio Becerra Rivero 2
Nicholas Rosenthal 1
7 4 3 2 0

Minnesota Blizzard Defeat Pittsburgh Pawnsgrabbers; Become Only Undefeated Team

The Minnesota Blizzard and Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers were the only two undefeated teams left in the PRO Chess League prior to this match, other undefeated teams having lost earlier in the day.

After the match, it is only the Minnesota Blizzard who have survived the difficult gamut, reaching that coveted 3-0 score. It's been a remarkable run for the Blizzard who struggled last year and needed to win the fan vote to make it into the 2018 season. America's newest GM, Andrew Tang, has been critical to their success.

Despite the Blizzard's success, we can't resist presenting a game from America's youngest GM on the opposing team. The 14-year-old GM Awonder Liang and his opponent, IM Sean Nagle, both scored a perfect 4/4 last week, but this week it was Liang who was victorious in a magnificent Tal-esque attacking game.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers vs Minnesota Blizzard

Pawngrabbers Blizzard Andrew Tang Daniel Gurevich John Bartholomew Sean Nagle 8.5
Alexander Shabalov 2
Awonder Liang 3
Atulya Shetty 2
Jennifer Yu 0.5
7.5 3 2.5 1.5 1.5

Montclair Sopranos Shake Down Montreal Chessbrahs

Two bright spots could not save the match for a Montreal Chessbrah team that suffered a horrific double catastrophe in the final round against a victorious Montclair Sopranos team. The Chessbrahs had two solid performers as GM Jorden Van Foreest scored 3.5 and Elias Oussedik notched 2/4, the best board-four score in the division. Oussedik earned a lot of fan love when he flagged GM Sergey Erenburg in a balanced position and mistook his computer desk for a dance floor.

The Sopranos had a strong lead early in the match thanks in part to GM Aleksandr Lenderman's 3.5/4. The Chessbrahs came within striking distance with the above victory, but two near simultaneous rook blunders from GM Eric Hansen and GM-elect Aman Hambleton.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Montclair Sopranos vs Montreal Chessbrahs

Sopranos Chessbrahs Eric Hansen Jorden Van Foreest Aman Hambleton Elias Oussedik 7.5
Bassem Amin 3
Aleksandr Lenderman 3.5
Sergey Erenburg 2
Dan Smith 0
8.5 1 3.5 1 2

Webster Windmills Fight For Every Half-Point vs Buenos Aires Krakens

The Webster Windmills took down the Buenos Aires Krakens by a 9.5-5.5 score. With this win the Windmills are now sitting on 2.5/3 for the season, which puts them only a half-point behind the unblemished Minnesota Blizzard in the Atlantic Division.

The top boards for the Buenos Aires Krakens are currently in Gibraltar, and their secondary squad wasn’t up to the task of staying with the powerful Webster team. With this loss the Krakens move to 0/3 on the season. The Krakens didn’t exactly have the best luck either. In the very last game of the match, IM German Della Morte pre-moved 70.h5 in a completely winning position vs IM Eric Rosen for an almost unbelievable stalemate.

IM Danny Rensch’s reaction sums it up for all of those who were watching live.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Webster Windmills vs Buenos Aires Krakens

Krakens Windmills Aleksandr Shimanov Denes Boros Ashwin Jayaram Eric Rosen 9.5
Sandro Mareco 3.5
Jacques Blit 1
Mario Villanueva 1
German Della Morte 1
6.5 3 3 3 0.5

Dallas Destiny Out-Compute San Jose Hackers

The Dallas Destiny defeated the San Jose Hackers by the narrow margin of 8.5-7.5. This victory moves Dallas to 2.5/3 for the season, which puts them in shared first place in the Pacific Division with the Chengdu Pandas. After suffering this defeat, the San Jose Hackers are now at 1/3.

Dallas won this narrow match on the shoulders of GM Jeffery Xiong and his 3.5/4 performance. The turning point of the match occurred in the matchup between GM Xiong and GM Izoria. After an interesting opening battle in the Benko gambit, GM Xiong appeared to be in big trouble until GM Izoria blundered with 40..Rxa3 in mutual time trouble.

The game of the match and a game-of-the-week candidate had to be GM Conrad Holt's assault against GM Cristian Chirila that harked back to a more sacrificial era in chess.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Dallas Destiny vs San Jose Hackers

Destiny Hackers Daniel Naroditsky Zviad Izoria Cristian Chirila Ivan Ke 7.5
Jeffery Xiong 3.5
Conrad Holt 2
Andrey Gorovets 2.5
Sabina-Francesca Foisor 0.5
8* 3 2 1 1.5

San Diego Surfers Glide By Seattle Sluggers

Last year, the San Diego Surfers were one of the top performers in the league. This week they trotted out a classic Surfers lineup with all of their best 2017 performers to soundly defeat the Seattle Sluggers.

Solid as a rock on board one was GM Alexey Dreev who scored 3.5/4. Here's a nice game he won that demonstrated a perfect pawn breakthrough in a bishop and knight endgame.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Seattle Sluggers vs San Diego Surfers

Sluggers Surfers Alexey Dreev Michael Brown Craig Hilby Joshua Sheng 9.5
Gabriel Sargissian 3
Giorgi Margvelashvili 2.5
Bryce Tiglon 0
Roland Feng 1
6.5 3.5 2 1.5 2.5

Australia Kangaroos Jump High Over Las Vegas Desert Rats

The Australia Kangaroos, a new entrant to the PRO Chess League, found their footing this week, putting up the highest match score in week three. The Kangaroos defeated the Las Vegas Desert Rats 10.5-5.5. They got great scores on board one and board three with 3.5 points each. Here's Temur Kuybokarov's defeat of the Desert Rat's board one, Josh Friedel. The endgame appeared drawn until Friedel permitted the exchange of bishops in the final moments.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Australia Kangaroos vs Las Vegas Desert Rats

Kangaroos Desert Rats Joshua Friedel Zbigniew Pakleza Andrey Ostrovskiy Nazi Paikidze 5.5
Alexey Sarana 3.5
Anton Smirnov 2
Temur Kuybokarov 3.5
Brandon Clarke 1.5
10.5 1.5 3 1 0

Chengdu Pandas Power Past Rio Grande Ospreys

The Chengdu Pandas put together another powerful performance to defeat the Rio Grande Ospreys. Previously, they relied on their board four, Chu Ruotong, for a high score, but this week she pulled a goose egg.

In her place, the other three boards stepped forward, losing only two other games. Yu Yangyi continues to be an incredible board one for the Pandas. He currently has 11.5/12 and leads the league among players who have played all three weeks.

One humorous point the Pandas picked up was this final-round victory by their board three, Xu Xiangyu.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 3 | Chengdu Pandas vs Rio Grande Ospreys

Ospreys Pandas Yu Yangyi Ni Hua Xu Xiangyu Chu Ruotong 10
Andrey Stukopin 2
Hovhannes Gabuzyan 1
Carlos Hevia 2
Yannick Kambrath 1
6 4 3 3 0
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