Pivotal Pawns Win 2021 Chess Super League
Pivotal Pawns, the winners of the first Chess Super League. Image: Samay Raina/YouTube.

Pivotal Pawns Win 2021 Chess Super League

| 7 | Chess Event Coverage

The Pivotal Pawns won the first edition of the Chess Super League on Sunday. The Kingslayers were beaten in one single armageddon game after both teams had won one match with the same 3.5-2.5 score. GM Zhansaya Abdumalik became the star for the Pawns as she defeated GM Nana Dzagnidze.

How to watch?
The games of the Chess Super League can be found here as part of our live events platform.

Before the start of the final, a chess expression was shared by the commentators: "After the game, king and pawn go to the same box." This reflected well the equality between the Kings and Pawns, the two teams that played for the first Chess Super League title.

Match 1: Kingslayers vs. Pivotal Pawns 3.5-2.5

Bo. Fed 1 Kingslayers Rtg - Fed 2 Pivotal Pawns Rtg 3½:2½
1/1 GM Sethuraman, S.P. (w) 2620 - GM Ding Liren (b) 2799 ½ - ½
1/2 GM Giri, Anish (b) 2774 - GM Gupta Abhijeet (w) 2628 ½ - ½
1/3 IM Soumya, Swaminathan (w) 2351 - GM Abdumalik Zhansaya (b) 2507 0 - 1
1/4 GM Dzagnidze, Nana (b) 2524 - IM Kulkarni Bhakti (w) 2388 1 - 0
1/5 GM Gukesh, D (w) 2640 - GM Arjun Kalyan (b) 2537 1 - 0
1/6 WIM Arpita, Mukherjee (b) 2229 - WIM Savitha Shri B (w) 2281 ½ - ½

Two swaps occurred in the first match. The Kingslayers moved their first board (GM Anish Giri) to the second, and the third board (Dzagnidze) to the fourth. You could say that there was little effect because the score over the top four boards was 2-2.

It was GM Gukesh D. who scored a quick and important win vs. GM Arjun Kalyan:

Match 2: Pivotal Pawns vs. Kingslayers 3.5-2.5

Bo. Fed 2 Pivotal Pawns Rtg - Fed 1 Kingslayers Rtg 3½:2½
1/1 GM Ding Liren (w) 2799 - GM Giri, Anish (b) 2774 1 - 0
1/2 GM Gupta Abhijeet (b) 2628 - GM Sethuraman, S.P. (w) 2620 ½ - ½
1/3 GM Abdumalik Zhansaya (w) 2507 - IM Soumya, Swaminathan (b) 2351 1 - 0
1/4 IM Kulkarni Bhakti (b) 2388 - GM Dzagnidze, Nana (w) 2524 0 - 1
1/5 GM Arjun Kalyan (w) 2537 - GM Gukesh, D (b) 2640 0 - 1
1/6 WIM Savitha Shri B (b) 2281 - WIM Arpita, Mukherjee (w) 2229 1 - 0

The Pivotal Pawns hit back in the second match, where a win was needed. The score, by the way, didn't matter; even if they had won 6-0, there would have been an armageddon to decide.

GM Ding Liren won a good game against Giri on the top board. The Dutchman played a theoretical pawn sacrifice in the Catalan but never saw it back:

The rules stipulated that a single armageddon game would now be played, from one of the categories chosen by drawing of the lot. Samay Raina picked the paper that said International Grandmaster Female, which resulted in an all-decisive clash between Abdumalik and Dzagnidze.

Drawing of lot Chess Super League armageddon
Commentator Sagar Shah holds the paper with the category for the armageddon. Image: Samay Raina/YouTube.

In the opening, Abdumalik must have surprised Dzagnidze a little, who had already lost her one-minute advantage on the clock by move 10. To make matters worse, she erred on move 11 and was on the defense from that moment on.

Abdumalik Dzagnidze Chess Super League
Dzagnidze resigns her game with Abdumalik. Image: Samay Raina/YouTube.

All games day 7

The Chess Super League will continue with the playoff and finals on Saturday and Sunday. The games are played with a time control of 15 minutes plus a 10-second increment. The total prize fund of the event is Rs.40 lakh (U.S. $54,000).

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