PRO Chess League: Playoff Scenarios
Ding Liren's China Pandas will be looking to secure a playoff spot in week seven. Credit: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

PRO Chess League: Playoff Scenarios

PROChessLeague
PROChessLeague
|
4 | Chess Event Coverage

With only one week remaining in the 2020 PRO Chess League regular season, it's time to look at the playoff picture.

The playoffs will mark the first time that teams will play outside of their division, so there will be multiple interesting and exciting matches on hand and it will be live on Monday, February 17 at 6 a.m. Pacific Time / 15:00 Central European Time at Chess.com/TV.

The first-place teams in all three divisions receive a bye. The three teams in first place now, and therefore slotted to receive that bye, are the Saint Louis Arch Bishops, Armenia Eagles, and Germany Bears, though this could change in the final week of play.

Here is a look at how the bracket is configured:

PRO Chess League Playoff Bracket

Below are the potential pairings for the first round, denoted by parentheses were the season to end today.

Match 1:

Third place in Eastern Division (Russia Wizards) vs third place in Central Division (Norway Gnomes).

Match 2:

New York Marshalls China Pandas PRO Chess
Third place in the Western Division (New York Marshalls) vs fourth place in the Eastern Division (China Pandas).

Match 3:

France Roosters California Unicorns PRO Chess League
Second place in the Central Division (France Roosters) vs fourth place in the Western Division (California Unicorns).

Match 4:

Canada Chessbrahs Sweden Wasabis PRO Chess League
Second place in the Western Division (Canada Chessbrahs) vs fourth place in the Central Division (Sweden Wasabis).

Match 5:

India Yogis Chicago Wind PRO Chess League
Second place in the Eastern Division (India Yogis) vs fifth-place team with the highest performance rating (Chicago Wind).

While the teams that occupy the spots above may change, those pairings are set. That means that the third-place team from the Central will definitely play the third-place team from the Eastern, whoever they end up being at the end of next week.

When looking division-by-division and examining all the various playoff scenarios, it's best to intentionally exclude some very unlikely scenarios, such as teams needing to win 14-2 in order to have an outside chance to qualify. 

Some important notes include the season debuts of GM Ding Liren and GM Anish Giri who will be playing for the China Pandas and Canada Chessbrahs, respectively.

Eastern Division

Teams that have qualified for the playoffs:

Armenia Eagles: Clinch first place if they win, draw or lose by a score of 11-5 or better.

India Yogis: Must beat Armenia by 12-4 to guarantee first place. If they beat Armenia 11.5-4.5, India may get first place if their season-long performance rating is higher than Armenia's. If India loses, they could get third place if Russia wins.

Russia Wizards: Can finish anywhere from second to fourth place depending on their result and the results of China and India.

Teams that have not yet qualified for the playoffs:

China Pandas: China can only miss the playoffs if they lose by a large margin and Hungary wins by a large margin. China will need to score seven points less than Hungary does this week. Otherwise, they will qualify. They can also get third place in the division if they win and Russia loses and scores four points less than China this week.

Hungary Hunters: Need to score nine points more than China this week in order to qualify. They can also qualify by remaining in fifth place, but only if Chicago loses and U.K. wins. In this case, Hungary would hope to qualify by virtue of having the best performance rating of the fifth-place teams.

Teams that cannot qualify for the playoffs:

Israel Counsellors, Turkey Knights, Croatia Bulldogs

Ding Liren PRO Chess League
Can the third-ranked player in the world make a key difference to push his Pandas into the playoffs?

Central Division

Teams that have qualified for the playoffs:

Germany Bears: Win the division if they win or draw. If they lose and France wins, they finish second if France outscores them by four points or more.

France Roosters: Can win the division if they win and score four points more than Germany. Will finish third if they lose and Norway wins. Otherwise, they will finish second place.

Teams that have not yet qualified for the playoffs

Norway Gnomes: Norway qualifies for the playoffs if they beat or draw Spain. Norway could finish anywhere from second to sixth depending on various results.

Sweden Wasabis: Sweden qualifies for the playoffs if they beat Netherlands. If they draw or lose, they could miss the playoffs, depending on the results of Italy and Poland. They can finish anywhere from second to sixth place, depending on the results of multiple teams.

Italy Gladiators: Italy qualifies for the playoffs if they win against France and either Norway or Sweden lose. Italy can also qualify by drawing while Sweden loses. Italy can also qualify by winning or drawing, remaining in fifth place, and Chicago losing and U.K winning. In this case, Italy would hope to qualify by virtue of having the best performance rating of the fifth-place teams.

Poland Hussars: Poland qualifies for the playoffs if they beat Germany and both Sweden and Italy lose. They can also win or draw, finish in fifth, and would need Chicago to lose and U.K. wins, and then hope to qualify via fifth-place performance rating.

Teams that are eliminated from the playoffs:

Spain Raptors and Netherlands Mosquitoes

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave PRO Chess League
MVL is back in the Roosters lineup once again and will hope to be at this best

Western Division

Teams that have qualified for the Playoffs:

Saint Louis Arch Bishops: Clinch first place with a win

Canada Chessbrahs: Clinch second place with a win. Can get first place if they win and Saint Louis loses

New York Marshalls: Can finish anywhere from second place to fourth place depending on their result vs the Canada Chessbrahs

California Unicorns: Currently in fourth and can't finish any lower. Will finish in third if they win and the New York Marshalls lose

Teams that have not yet qualified the playoffs:

Chicago Wind: Will finish in fifth with a win and in that case, are a lock to qualify for the playoffs due to their high performance rating. If Chicago loses and U.K. wins, U.K will overtake them, and Chicago will not qualify. 

U.K Lions: Need to win by a large margin of approximately 12-4 or better, while also needing Chicago to lose. They would then have to hope that their performance rating in fifth place would be higher than the fifth-place performance ratings from the other divisions.

Teams that cannot qualify for the playoffs:

Brazil Capybaras and Argentina Krakens.

Anish Giri PRO Chess League
Anish Giri will look to bring his prowess to the Chessbrahs for the first time this season

The PRO Chess League playoff scenarios are complex and unpredictable. Who will sneak in at the last second? Who will play spoiler? Find out Monday, February 17 at 6 a.m. Pacific Time, 15:00 Central Europe at Chess.com/TV as a special, seven-hour marathon featuring all three divisions as all the league's stars get set to square off in the most important matchday yet.

More from PROChessLeague
Today: PRO Chess League Quarterfinals Continue

Today: PRO Chess League Quarterfinals Continue

Today: PRO Chess League Playoffs

Today: PRO Chess League Playoffs