Today: PRO Chess League Playoffs
Ten teams will play next week to keep their 2020 PRO Chess League season hopes alive.

Today: PRO Chess League Playoffs

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Update: A Thursday match featuring GM Ian Nepomniachtchi's Russia Wizards vs. GM Ray Robson's Chicago Wind will begin at 9 a.m. Pacific Time (18:00 Central European Time).

Starting Monday, ten teams will be fighting to keep their PRO Chess League dreams alive. With the Saint Louis Arch Bishops, Armenia Eagles, and Germany Bears already having secured a spot in the quarterfinals thanks to first-place finishes in their respective divisions, five teams will advance to join them as the playoff teams battle for a berth in the PRO Chess League Finals, which will be hosted this May in Oslofjord, Norway at part of ChessParty 2020.

The matches will be broadcast live beginning Monday at 8 a.m. Pacific Time (17:00 Central European Time) across all of Chess.com's streaming platforms including Chess.com/TV

ChessParty 2020 PRO Chess League Finals
This year's PRO Chess League finals will take place in Norway at ChessParty 2020.

Next week's matches will showcase the restructured league's strength as top grandmasters like GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Anish Giri, GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi will be playing for their respective teams. For the full playoff schedule, visit the PRO Chess League website.

Norway Gnomes vs India Yogis

March 2, 8 a.m. PST (17:00 CET)

After winning five consecutive matches, the Gnomes face their biggest challenge yet in the India Yogis. The Yogis' feature grandmaster tandem GM Pentala Harikrishna and GM Baskaran Adhiban on the top two boards, both of whom have proven to be dominant forces in the Eastern Division. To win, the Gnomes will need to score points without top-board GM Jon Ludvig Hammer. Instead, Norway will feature grandmasters Johan-Sebastien Christiansen and Arjun Erigaisi, alongside GM Srinath Narayanan and fan-favorite IM Hans Niemann.

The Gnomes defeated both the Mumbai Movers and the Delhi Dynamite in consecutive playoff games en route to the 2017 PRO Chess League final, but this Yogis team looks to be a much tougher test.

Baskaran Adhiban India Yogis
Adhiban has been a key piece for the India Yogis with a near-2700 performance rating.

Canada Chessbrahs vs Sweden Wasabis

March 2, 10:30 a.m. PST (19:30 CET)

With Alexander Grischuk having played 28 games for the Chessbrahs this season, the Russian grandmaster has earned his local status for the remainder of the season. This upgrade means Canada will bring Grischuk, Giri, Firouzja, and GM Ivan Saric when they face the Sweden Wasabis on Monday. The Wasabis, reeling from a loss to the Netherlands Mosquitoes, will need strong performances from grandmasters Bassem Amin and Nils Grandelius to keep the match close.

Alexander Grischuk Canada Chessbrahs
Grischuk will play for the Chessbrahs as a local player for the first time this season.

France Roosters vs New York Marshalls

March 4, 10 a.m. PST (19:00 CET)

After France beat the Wasabis three weeks into the season, general manager Kevin Bordi stated that he would have preferred to play in the Western Division. On Wednesday, the France Roosters will finally get their chance against a Western Division side in the New York Marshalls. Vachier-Lagrave spearheads the all-French lineup, with grandmasters Etienne Bacrot, Maxime Lagarde, and Yannick Gozzoli rounding out the Roosters foursome. The Marshalls bring a familiar cast to the match in Nakamura, Vladimir Fedoseev, Gadir Guseinov, and Wojciech Moranda.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France Roosters
Can Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's Roosters handle Hikaru Nakamura's Marshalls?

China Pandas vs California Unicorns

March 4, 7:00 p.m. PST (04:00 CET)

In a renewal of their former Pacific Division rivalry, the California Unicorns and China Pandas are set to clash in one of the most anticipated matches of the week. The Pandas' four-board lineup features top grandmasters in Yu Yangyi and Wei Yi, who combine for an average rating of 2698. California brings an experienced lineup, anchored by GM Daniel Naroditsky on fourth board. Expect this match to be close, as both teams enter the playoffs on a winning streak.

Wei Yi China Pandas
After a slow start to the 2020 season, Wei Yi has become one of the most difficult opponents in the PRO Chess League. 

Russia Wizards vs Chicago Wind

March 5, 9:00 a.m. PST (18:00 CET)

After beating the Israel Counsellors last week, the Wizards managed to jump the Yogis in the standings to earn the Eastern Division's second seed. As a reward, Nepomniachtchi's Wizards are set to face the PRO Chess League wild card Chicago Wind. The Wind struggled to string together victories during the regular season, but have consistently kept matches close with reigning Puzzle Battle world champion Ray Robson leading the lineup each week.

Ian Nepomniachtchi Russia Wizards
Nepomniachtchi is nearly perfect in 2020, notching a 2930 performance rating over his eight games this season.

To watch the PRO Chess League playoffs, tune into Chess.com/TV this week. Who will advance in this week's matches? Let us know who you will be rooting for in the comments below!

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