PRO Chess League Summer Series: Last Chance For Drama
If the Mechanics are to snag a playoff spot this Saturday, they'll need some luck in the Group A standings.

PRO Chess League Summer Series: Last Chance For Drama

IsaacSteincamp
IsaacSteincamp
|
8 | Chess.com News

This Saturday's match-ups mark the end of Group A action in the PRO Chess League Summer Series, as two teams can lock their spot in the first-ever Summer Series Championship. So far the Saint Louis Arch Bishops and Chengdu Pandas have controlled Group A, but this Saturday gives the two California-based teams their last chance to wreak havoc.

2019 PRO Chess League Summer Series | Group A Standings

Team Points Club
Saint Louis Arch Bishops 9 Fan Club
Chengdu Pandas 9 Fan Club
San Francisco Mechanics 5 Fan Club
San Diego Surfers 1 Fan Club

While teams will be counting on their star players, they will also be counting on you, the fans, to help them progress to the Summer Series Championship! To help your favorite teams make the cut, make sure to join their clubs and play in this Saturday's Live Club Matches.

Saint Louis Arch Bishops vs San Francisco Mechanics
Saturday, June 15 at 5 p.m. PT.

Why Saint Louis wins: For Saint Louis, the math is easy. If the Arch Bishops beat the Mechanics on Saturday night, the defending PRO Chess League champions will be the first team to qualify for the Summer Series Championship—regardless of how they perform in the Knockout Battles.

GM Varuzhan Akobian has been on fire this summer, currently on a five-game win streak. Behind their top board, the Arch Bishop fans have gained momentum after an early loss to Chengdu. Last week, the fans suppressed a San Diego comeback to earn their first Live Club Match win of the Summer Series. Momentum is a powerful weapon... and Saint Louis is the PRO Chess League Champion.

The Arch Bishops are in control of their destiny, and will be eying a first place group finish Saturday night.

How Saint Louis Qualifies: The Arch Bishops have several paths to qualify for the Summer Series Championships, but keep things simple, the Arch Bishops only need three points in the standings to lock their spot in August's playoff.

  • Scenario 1: Saint Louis beats San Francisco in their Live Club Match
  • Scenario 2: If Saint Louis loses to San Francisco in the Live Club Match, the Arch Bishops can qualify by placing no more than one place below San Francisco in the Knockout Battles
  • Scenario 3: If Saint Louis loses to San Francisco AND finishes two or more places below San Francisco in the Knockout Battles, the Arch Bishops can qualify if they finish above Chengdu in the Knockout Battles AND Chengdu loses to San Diego in their Live Club Match.

Why San Francisco wins: For the Mechanics, this match is a must-win if they hope to secure automatic qualification into the Summer Series Championships. Beating the PRO Chess League Champions is not an easy task, but with former U.S. champion GM Sam Shankland set to make his Summer Series debut this Saturday, anything seems possible for San Francisco.

Even in its loss to Chengdu last week, the Mechanics' fan base showed its determination to make the playoffs, fielding more titled players than any other team in Group A. This is the closest San Francisco has gotten to qualifying for the PRO Chess League playoffs, so don't expect the Mechanics to give up on their dream so soon.

The Mechanics need to win, and then hope either the Pandas or the Arch Bishops stumble in the Knockout Battles.

How San Francisco Qualifies: The Mechanics' fanbase needs to play their best chess on Saturday and hope for a bit of luck. While a third place finish is enough to make the ballot, a top two finish for San Francisco is still very possible.

  • Scenario 1: San Francisco beats Saint Louis in their Live Club Match AND finishes two places above the Arch Bishops in the Knockout Battles.
  • Scenario 2: San Francisco beats Saint Louis in their Live Club Match AND finishes two places above Chengdu in the Knockout Battles AND the Pandas lose to San Diego in their Live Club Match
  • Scenario 3: Finish third place in Group A AND place in the top two of the Twitter vote on August 17 to advance to the Play-in Round of the Summer Series Championships.

Chengdu Pandas vs San Diego Surfers
Saturday, June 15 at 7:30 pm PT.

Why Chengdu Wins: The Pandas have the most enviable position heading into Saturday night. If the Arch Bishops beat the Mechanics in their Live Club Match, Chengdu clinches a spot in the Summer Series Championship before the young talent Zhang Di makes his first move in the Knockout Battles. Even with the extra cushion, expect the Pandas' fanbase to be ready to play the Surfers.

Chengdu's fans have been the x-factor so far this Summer Series. First, the Chengdu fans thumped the PRO Chess League champions 46-28, then beat San Francisco by a wide margin, 34.5-19.5. If you plan on playing for the Surfers, expect a challenge!

The Pandas can clinch a playoff spot by beating San Diego should Saint Louis fail to beat San Francisco.

How Chengdu Qualifies: Even though the Pandas sit in second, Chengdu still mathematically has slightly better chances of qualifying for the Summer Series Championships than the group leaders.

  • Scenario 1: Saint Louis Beats San Francisco in their Live Club Match.
  • Scenario 2: Chengdu beats San Diego in their Live Club Match.
  • Scenario 3: If Saint Louis loses their Live Club Match to San Francisco AND Chengdu loses to San Diego in the Live Club Match, the Pandas can still qualify by placing no more than one place below San Francisco in the Knockout Battles.
  • Scenario 4: If Saint Louis loses their Live Club Match to San Francisco AND Chengdu loses to San Diego AND San Francisco places two places above Chengdu in the Knockout Battles, the Pandas can still qualify if they place above the Arch Bishops in their Live Club Match.

Why San Diego Wins: Let's face it, this has been a tough Summer Series for the Surfers. So far, the Surfers have used the Summer Series as a chance to challenge their lesser-known talent, but this week NM Robert Shlyakhtenko is a sneaky good representative. Shlyakhtenko is currently the second-highest-rated 13-year-old player in the United States, holding a 2400+ blitz rating.

While a top-two finish is out of reach, fans will be seeking a third-place finish for the San Diego side to keep their playoff hopes alive in the Twitter vote this August. The Surfers' fans have kept matches tight with both the Mechanics and the Arch Bishops, and now with Shlyakhtenko favored against Zhang Di, the Surfers can go for their first Live Club Match victory.

The Surfers need everything to go right on Saturday, starting with Saint Louis beating the Mechanics.

How San Diego Qualifies: If the Surfers are to reach the Playoffs, they'll need a lot of luck, a third place finish, and a strong finish in the Twitter Vote on August 17. San Diego's path is narrow, but it's always fun to play "what if".

  • Scenario 1: San Diego beats Chengdu in their Live Club Match AND San Francisco loses to Saint Louis AND San Diego places two places above San Francisco in the Knockout Battles AND San Diego finishes in the top two of the Twitter Vote on August 17 to qualify for the Play-In round of the Summer Series Championship.
  • Scenario 2: San Diego beats Chengdu in their Live Club Match AND San Francisco ties to Saint Louis AND San Diego wins the Knockout Battles AND San Francisco finishes fourth in the Knockout Battles AND San Diego finishes in the top two of the Twitter Vote on August 17 to qualify for the Play-In round of the Summer Series Championship.

Predicting the PRO Chess League Summer Series Champion: Fan Take With GoldDustTori

Each week, Chess.com will reach out to streamers to make their picks for the Summer Series Championship. "GoldDustTori" is this week's featured streamer after participating in Chess.com's Stream Squad Coverage of the event in the first two weeks.

GoldDustTori scored her first win of the Summer Series for the Chengdu Pandas in week one against the Saint Louis Arch Bishops:

When asked about her picks for the PRO Chess League Summer Series Championship, GoldDustTori gave us her insight:
"I think the Norway Gnomes win because GM Jon Ludvig Hammer took me aside at the PRO Chess League Finals, and gave me a coaster in exchange for my undying support for the Norway Gnomes. I think the Minnesota Blizzard take second because of their talent, particularly IM John Bartholomew. I think the Chessbrahs sneak into the Play-In round - have to support a friend's team! I picked the other teams mostly based on team name, so the Wizards make the Semifinals."

GoldDustTori's Bracket:

GoldDustTori sees the Norway Gnomes as an early favorite to win the Summer Series Championships.

Disagree with GoldDustTori's picks? Make your picks in the comments and play in the PRO Chess League Summer Series this Saturday, June 15 at 5pm PT. To watch the official coverage, visit twitch.tv/chess and follow the channel to get notifications for the Summer Series!

Just learning about the PRO Chess League Summer Series? Visit the site and check out the official information article.

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