Carlsen, Caruana To Debut Saturday In PRO Chess
Evidently this week's overpowered Titled Tuesday was a warm-up. This Saturday, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana are making their PRO (Professional Rapid Online) Chess League debuts. What's more, they will be playing each other as the Norway Gnomes and the Montreal ChessBrahs face off in the interdivisional week of the PRO Chess League.
These two stars are joined by Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (meaning 4/5 of the world's top players are playing with only Kramnik missing), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Ruslan Ponomariov, and Leinier Dominguez. Of course, they will be joined by numerous strong grandmasters and talented juniors thirsting for the thrill of defeating a superstar.
Here are eight exciting matches and some player spotlights to keep an eye on this week in the PRO Chess League. Check out the full week five pairings here, and be sure to follow the games on Chess.com/TV.
The Early Matchups (Games start at 7 a.m. PT, 4 p.m. CET, Local Time)
Norway Gnomes (2-2) vs Montreal ChessBrahs (3-1):
All eyes are sure to be on this match as Carlsen plays for the Gnomes and Caruana for the ChessBrahs. The Gnomes have the stronger depth on boards two and three, featuring GMs Jon Ludwig Hammer and Aryan Tari as compared to the popular players GM Eric Hansen and IM Aman Hambleton for the ChessBrahs. The Gnomes definitely need this win more as they are on a 50 percent score and will likely need to win their remaining games to make the playoffs if they fall to the ChessBrahs.
Jon Ludwig Hammer continues to be involved in some of the most exciting moments in the PRO Chess League. He lost the game of the week to GM Evgeny Shaposhnikov.
St. Louis Arch Bishops (3-1) vs Marseille Migraines (3-1):
The Arch Bishops have Wesley So on board one while the Migraines have Maxime Vachier-Lagrave back in their lineup. Their match this week on Titled Tuesday ended indecisively, but Vachier-Lagrave could have had the better of it. The Arch Bishops also have GMs Dariusz Swiercz and Ben Finegold while the Migraines have GMs Etienne Bacrot (once as high as #10 in the world) and Yannick Gozzoli.
The Late Matchups (Games start at 11 a.m. PT, 8 p.m. CET, Local Time)
Hamburg Swashbucklers (2.5-1.5) vs San Diego Surfers (4-0):
The Surfers are the only 4-0 team in the league, but the Swashbucklers has a strong team and fields GMs Rasmus Svane and Twan Burg. The Surfers are using GMs Alexey Dreev and Melik Khachiyan along with some rising young local stars who have been the foundation to this team's 4-0 result thus far, delivering key points against higher-rated opposition.
Cannes Blockbusters (3-1) vs Rio Grande Ospreys (3-1):
Both of these teams have 3/4, but the Ospreys has been on a roll lately, beating two undefeated teams (San Jose Hackers and Montclair Sopranos). Cannes lost its first match of the season in week four to the Swashbucklers. The Blockbusters are using the French champion GM Matthieu Cornette on board one, along with GM Robert Fontaine and IM/WGM Deimante Daultye. The Ospreys are using a two-GM/two-IM lineup with Andrey Stukopin and Vladimir Belous leading the way.
Webster Windmills (3-1) vs Ljubljana Direwolves (3-1):
This is another showdown between strong 3/4 teams. Webster is using a ton of players in its lineup, as it has lots of strong chess-playing students at Webster University to choose from. The Windmills are fielding a whopping nine players this week, including GMs Illia Nyzhnyk, Ray Robson, Vasif Durabayli, Denes Boros, Aleksandr Shimanov, and Jayaram Ashwin. It's interesting to see whether it will help to constantly have rested players competing.
Ljubljana is a well-known team playing with GMs Luka Lenic, Jure Borisek and Dusko Pavasovic this week. It stream its games on a dedicated Twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/chessgrandmasterteam.
Our pundits are issuing their predictions over the next 24 hours, and we will be linking their prognostications here as we have them.
Read up on everything you need to know about the PRO Chess League:
- League Announcement
- Prize Fund for 2017 Season
- 2017 Schedule
- How to join the PRO Chess League
- Are you a chess player looking to join a team? Apply to be picked up as a free agent here!