Carlsen Perfect In PRO Chess League Round 1
Magnus Carlsen was among 4 perfect scorers in the PRO week 1.

Carlsen Perfect In PRO Chess League Round 1

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Magnus Carlsen (Norway Gnomes), Yu Yangyi (Chengdu Pandas), Le Quang Liem (Webster Windmills), and Luka Lenic (Ljubljana Turtles) managed the impressive feat of scoring 4/4 in round one of the PRO Chess League. Each helped their team to victory in a thrilling week that showcased the parity of the league. No matches were easy, and there were very few easy games.

UPDATE: Cast your votes for game and move of the week!

Round One Highlights: Chengdu Pandas the team to beat?

In the 2018 season, two effective winning strategies were to max out on board one (as the Norway Gnomes did by fielding Magnus Carlsen) or to find a highly underrated board four (as the Saint Louis Arch Bishops did with Nicholas Rosenthal). In fact last year's champions, the Arch Bishops, did both, highlighted by Wesley So on board one!

This year, the team that may be maxing out on both boards is the Chengdu Pandas. As already mentioned, Yu Yangyi grabbed a perfect score on board one, but their fourth board, Chu Ruotong, hugely impressed with 2.5/4! At 17 years old, and an unknown in the international chess community, she massively outperformed her 2173 FIDE rating. In fact, she even outperformed her teammate, Ju Wenjun, who is the reigning women's world rapid champion! Readers are advised to remember her name; we will probably hear it again.


Round One Highlights: Webster Windmills score huge 11-5 victory.

The Webster Windmills were only narrowly defeated last year by their crosstown rivals the Saint Louis Arch Bishops. This year, they look hungrier than even, and they've made a big improvement on board one with former world blitz champion, Le Quang Liem.

They notched the biggest point total of week one, defeating the Montclair Sopranos 11-5. It's a long road to the playoffs, but they already look like the team to beat in the Atlantic Division.


Round One Highlights: Montreal ChessBrahs put on a show.

We don't think we've ever seen production values quite like this on a chess stream! The Montreal ChessBrahs delivered in a big way for their fans with a live show that captured all the dramatic moments on and off the board.

Watch video from chessbrah on

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 Thompson and Sam Copeland.

Delhi Dynamite And Mumbai Movers Fight To A Standstill

One of the most exciting matches of the day ends in a highly contested draw. With the match drawn after three rounds, all three results were possible going into round four. GM Abhijeet Gupta of the Dehli Dynamite went 3.5 out of 4. In round four, the pressure was high and he faced board one for the MoversGM Diptayan Ghosh with the white pieces. A 67-move thriller ensued.

With three games decided, it all came down the fourth board, IM Harshit Raja vs Aradhya Garg. Surely the Dynamite's IM Harshit Raja could take down an untitled player?

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Mumbai Movers vs Delhi Dynamite

Movers Dynamite Abhijeet Gupta Vaibhav Suri M R Lalith Babu Aradhya Garg 8
Diptayan Ghosh 1.5
Abhimanyu Puranik 3
Abhijeet Kunte 2
Harshit Raja 1.5
8 3.5 1.5 2.5 0.5

Estonia Horses Inch Out Riga Magicians

It was a squeaker! The Estonia Horses beat the Riga Magicians 8.5 to 7.5 in one of the closest matches of the day. Board one for the Horses, GM Alex Onischuk, had a tough day, with a total score of 1.5, but with a little help from his teammates, the Horses can be satisfied.

Round one proved to be crucial as a 386 Elo difference was apparently no problem for FM Ritvars Reimanis as he upset the Horses' board one, GM Alex Onischuk.

In round two, GM Alex Onischuk took revenge in a beautifully played rout against the Magicians' free agent, GM Noel Studer.

2018 Pro Chess League | Round 1 | Estonia Horses vs Riga Magicians

Magicians Horses Alex Onischuk Ottomar Ladva Meelis Kanep Sander Kukk 8.5
Toms Kantans 2
Nikita Meskovs 3
Noel Studer 1
Ritvars Reimanis 1.5
7.5 1.5 2.5 2.5 2

Oslo Trolls Defeat Armenia Eagles In Comeback Victory

The Oslo Trolls defeat the Armenia Eagles 9-7. After round one, it looked as if the Trolls were already out of it. The Eagles pummeled them for an early 3.5-0.5 lead. Round one included a shocker; the Eagles' board four CM Artak Manukyan defeated the Trolls' board one IM Lars Oskar Hauge in the biggest upset of the match.

However, the Trolls would not go away easily, and by the next round, they were already fighting back. Board three of the Trolls, FM Benjamin Haldorsen, took down board one of the Eagles, GM Kirill Shevchenko, with the black pieces.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Oslo Trolls vs Armenia Eagles

Eagles Trolls Lars Oskar Hauge Joachim B Nilsen Benjamin Haldorsen Kjetil Stokke 9
Kirill Shevchenko 1.5
Aram Hakobyan 2
Artavazd Hayrapetyan 1.5
Artak Manukyan 2
7 2 3 2 2

Norway Gnomes Take Down Volga Stormbringers

GM Magnus Carlsen leads the Gnomes to victory against the Stormbringers 10.5-5.5. Carlsen went an undefeated 4-0, very impressive considering the fact that he's enjoying a rest day at the strong Tata Steel tournament. In the third round of the match, Carlsen played a beautiful attack against IM Azat Sharafiev (see game below).

And here is Carlsen's clinching last-round game against the Stormbringers' board one: GM Sergey Grigoriants.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Norway Gnomes vs Volga Stormbringers

Gnomes Stormbringers Sergey Grigoriants Azat Sharafiev Mikhail Gorozhanin Ilja Dudukin 5.5
Magnus Carlsen 4
Aryan Tari 3
Johan Salomon 3
Elham Abdrlauf 0.5
10.5 2 1.5 1 1

Ljubljana Turtles Sneak By London Towers

The Ljubljana Turtles beat the London Towers with a score 9.5-6.5. The Turtles' board one, GM Luka Lenič, notched a perfect score, which was helpful! They triumphed notwithstanding the absence of Luka Skuhala who actually forfeited his first three games! But, when it mattered most, he appeared out of the void, and scored a win. 

Finally, it wouldn't be ethical if I didn't include this gem played by GM Luka Lenič.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Ljubljana Turtles vs London Towers


Cannes Blockbusters Overwhelm Amsterdam Mosquitos

The Cannes Blockbusters have a very solid team, top to bottom, and it showed today in their 9.5-6.5 win over the Amsterdam Mosquitos.

On the Blockbusters' second board, GM Maxime Lagarde commanded a standout performance with three wins and a draw. In round three, he faced off against the first board of the Mosquitoes, GM David Klein. Round three proved decisive as the Mosquitos top boards fell to the Blockbusters.

In the same round, board two of the Mosquitos IM Quinten Ducarmon fell to GM Matthieu Cornette in a Caro Kann miniature. This one-two-punch proved to be a knockout blow.


GM Maxime Lagarde

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Cannes Blockbusters vs Amsterdam Mosquitos

Blockbusters Mosquitoes David Klein Quinten Ducarmon Miguoel Admiraal Ali Bitalzadeh 6.5
Matthieu Cornette 2
Maxime Lagarde 3.5
Valentina Gunina 2.5
Deimante Cornette 1.5
9.5 1.5 1 2.5 1.5

Last-Round Blunders Lift Stockholm Snowballs Over London Lions

The Stockholm Snowballs scored 9.5-6.5 and brought home the bacon today against the London Lions. GM Georg Meier anchored his team with a 3.5 out of 4 score, while his teammates took advantage of late-round blunders.

In round three, IM Justin Tan executed a compelling dark-square attack against WIM Inna Agrest that would make even AlphaZero proud.

Speaking of late-round blunders, GM Evgenij Agrest picked up a hard-fought win against GM Daniel Howard Fernandez in the last round. It pays not to give up!

For GM Georg Meier it was just another day in the office. Follow along as he demonstrates his keen positional play against GM Daniel Howard Fernandez.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | London Lions vs Stockholm Snowballs

Snowballs Lions Romain Edouard Daniel Howard Fernandez Justin Tan Ravi Haria 6.5
Georg Meier 3.5
Evgenij Agrest 3
Erik Blomqvist 2
Inna Agrest 1
9* 2.5 2 2 0

Marseille Migraines And Reykjavik Puffins Draw Even

One word: WOW. Don't let the final match score fool you, this was the most exciting match today in the Central Division.

The drama seemed to emanate from whichever game GM Etienne Bacrot was playing. After dropping his first two games to IM Bragi Thorfinnsson and IM Bjorn Thorfinnsson, rated 273 and 330 lower than Bacrot respectively, he returned for redemption in round four and saved the match for the Migraines, defeating GM Helgi Olafsson with the black pieces in a well-coordinated mating attack.

His round-three win against GM Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson wasn't too shabby either.


GM Etienne Bacrot

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Reykjavik Puffins vs Marseille Migraines

Migraines Puffins Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson Helgi Olafsson Bragi Thorfinnsson Bjorn Thorfinnsson 8
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 3
Etienne Bacrot 2
Jules Moussard 3
Marc Andria Maurizzi 0
8 2.5 1.5 2 2

Montreal ChessBrahs Put The "Pro" In PRO Chess League

The full-time stream team of the Montreal ChessBrahs put on an incredible show for their fans as they eked out a victory against a very tough Miami Champions squad. Both teams got valuable points 3/4 from their board ones in Iturrizaga and Saric, but perhaps the key points from the ChessBrahs came on board three as GM-Elect Aman Hambleton scored 2.5/4. He was however quite lucky in this game.

Speaking of "putting on a show," the ChessBrahs delivered in spades for their fans with an amazing stream that breaks new ground for chess streamers! Catch their epic stream setup here!

Watch GM Aman Hambleton plays Arena from chessbrah on

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Miami Champions vs Montreal ChessBrahs

Chessbrahs Champions Eduardo Iturrizaga Yuniesky Quesada John Ludwig Corey Acor 7.5
Ivan Saric 3
Renier Castellanos 1.5
Aman Hambleton 2.5
Michael Kleinman 1.5
8.5 3 1.5 1 2

Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers Rout Buenos Aires Krakens

The Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers picked on boards three and four of the Buenos Aires Krakens and racked up a winning score 10-6. GM Alexander Shabalov led his Pawngrabbers with a respectable three wins and one loss. No one is surprised that his results are binary (no draws). Anyways, who doesn't want to watch Shabalov play the Sicilian?! Watch him defeat GM Federico Perez Ponsa in the tense final round.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers Buenos Aires Krakens

Pawngrabbers Krakens Federico Perez Ponsa Alan Pichot Leandro Krysa Cristian Sanhueza 6
Alexander Shabalov 3
Awonder Liang 3
Atulya Shetty 2.5
Edward Song 1.5
10 3.5 2 0.5 0

Webster Windmills Blow Through Montclair Sopranos

The last thing that blew threw Montclair like this was Hurricane Sandy. The Webster Windmills amassed the biggest point total of any team so far in the nascent 2018 season in a gaudy 11-5 victory.

Every team member delivered Le Quang Liem scored 4/4 and both Shimanov and Durarbayli notched 3/4. Even Cervantes (humorously bearing the username DishonorOnYourCow) on board four got the mini-match win.

Perhaps the classiest of many fine victories was this near-miniature by Le Quang Liem against Pascal Charbonneau.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Webster Windmills vs Montclair Sopranos

Windmills Sopranos Aleksandr Lenderman Marc Arnold Pascal Charbonneau Yuanling Yuan 5
Le Quang Liem 4
Aleksandr Shimanov 3
Vasif Durarbayli 3
Thalia Cervantes 1
11 2.5 1 1.5 0

Minnesota Blizzards Freeze Out Saint Louis Arch Bishops

The Blizzards just edged out last season's champions, the Saint Louis Arch Bishops, 8.5-7.5. Boards one and two for the Arch Bishops failed to deliver, scoring a total of 4.5 out of 8 possible points, whereas IM Andrew Tang on the Blizzards' board one scored a near-perfect 3.5 all on his own.

Watch Tang play an excellent 79-move game against a higher-rated GM Dariusz Swiercz (what's 150 points really?) in round three. With the black pieces no less.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Minnesota Blizzards vs Saint Louis ArchBishops

Arch Bishops Blizzard Andrew Tang Daniel Gurevich John Bartholomew Sean Nagle 8.5
Vladimir Fedoseev 3
Dariusz Swiercz 1.5
Yaroslav Zherebukh 3
Duncan Shepherd 0
7.5 3.5 2.5 1 1.5

Dallas Destiny And San Diego Surfers Deadlock

The Dallas Destiny held the San Diego Surfers to a draw in a well-played match on both sides. On paper, the Surfers outmatched the Destiny in terms of rating; however the Destiny were up to the challenge. In round two, the Surfers' top board, GM Alexey Dreev, faced off against the Destiny's GM Elshan Moradiabadi Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation. Dreev was tactically more precise and Moradiabadi resigned with mate coming on the board.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Dallas Destiny vs San Diego Surfers

Surfers Destiny Julio Sadorra Andrey Gorovets Elshan Moradiabadi Steven Breckenridge 8
Alexey Dreev 2.5
Samuel Sevian 2.5
Michael Brown 1.5
Tatev Abrahamyan 1.5
7.5* 3 2.5 2.5 0

San Jose Hackers Shut Down Rio Grande Ospreys

Game forfeiture? No problem. Roster substitution penalty? Sounds good. The Hackers eked out a 9-6 victory over the Ospreys even after absorbing what amounted to a two-point penalty when their top board, GM Rauf Mamedov, forfeited round one and was replaced on-the-fly by GM Daniel Naroditsky. Despite a disappointing score on board one, the Hackers tallied impressive results on boards two, three, and four.

The biggest two upsets were perpetrated by board four of the Hackers, Ivan Ke, who managed to defeat GM Kamil Dragun on board one and GM Vladmir Belous on board two of the Ospreys (rating differences of 449 and 409 respectively)!

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | San Jose Hackers vs Rio Grande Ospreys


Seattle Sluggers Strike Out Australia Kangaroos

The Seattle Sluggers took down the Australia Kangaroos 9-7 in a nail-biting match. The secret sauce for the Sluggers was board three IM Bryce Tiglon who defeated the Kangaroos' top three boards!

However, the Kangaroos had plenty of hop in their step. Board one GM Anton Smirnov battled valiantly, defeating the Sluggers' board one and two. In round four, Smirnov found himself down a rook and a piece against GM Gabriel Sargissian. The lesson learned here being: combine a pair of passed pawns with time trouble and anything is possible!

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Seattle Sluggers vs Australia Kangaroos

Kangaroos Sluggers Gabriel Sargissian Giorgi Margvelashvili Bryce Tiglon Roland Feng 9
Anton Smirnov 3
Moulthun Ly 1
James Morris 0.5
Temur Kuybokarov 2.5
7 2 2.5 3 1.5

Chengdu Pandas Dispatch Las Vegas Desert Rats

Pandas are known for not doing much other than eating and sleeping. After Thursday's 10.5-5.5 drubbing we'll have to add brilliant chess to the list. The Pandas stunned the Desert Rats with precise, unrelenting play and their winning margin was the second largest of the day. 

It helps when a team's board one wins every game. The rare feat of going 4-0 was accomplished by GM Yu Yangyi. In round four he faced perhaps his greatest test of the day, GM Leinier Dominguez, representing the Desert Rats' top board. Dominguez found a killer blow late in the game (40. Bf7!), however Yangyi resisted to the maximum, and triumphed in a heart-stopping time scramble.

Perhaps the Pandas' secret weapon was the board-four upstart Chu Ruotong, underrated at 2173. Ruotong went undefeated, notably drawing Dominguez and defeating GM Andrey Ostrovskiy.

2018 PRO Chess League | Round 1 | Cheng Du Pandas vs Las Vegas Desert Rats

Pandas Desert Rats Leinier Dominguez Melikset Khachiyan Andrey Ostrovskiy Nazi Paikidze 5.5
Yu Yangyi 4
Ni Hua 2.5
Ju Wenjun 1.5
Chu Ruotong 2.5
10.5 2 2.5 0 1

pro chess fantasyThe PRO Chess League fantasy contest winners from round one. To play in the future, visit

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