PRO Chess League Summer Series: Movers Shine, Wizards Spoil Capybaras' Debut
GM Farrukh Amonatov played the role of unexpected hero on Saturday, leading Mumbai to a perfect six-point week.

PRO Chess League Summer Series: Movers Shine, Wizards Spoil Capybaras' Debut

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Group C of the PRO Chess League Summer Series could not have had a more dramatic start. In a group with three PRO Chess League playoff teams, tensions were high on Saturday, as the Armenia Eagles, Moscow Wizards, Mumbai Movers, and Sao Paulo Capybaras each looked to make a strong opening statement.

Tajikistan's only grandmaster, Farrukh Amonatov, entered the Summer Series as a relative unknown among PRO Chess League fans, but led the Mumbai Movers to five points. Even with a field that included GM Alireza Firouzja and GM Boris Savchenko, fans should not have been too surprised—Amonatov won the 2016 Eurasian Blitz Cup, which included players like Sergey Karjakin, Wang Hao and other elite grandmasters.

After Armenia's Live Club Match penalty, the Eagles will need a strong performance next week to keep pace with Mumbai and Moscow.

    Live Club Match: Armenia's Technical Disaster Spoils Summer Series Debut, Manages Draw Against Mumbai

    Earlier this week, the concern for the Armenia Eagles was their surprising lack of fans. The 2018 PRO Chess League champions entered the day with the fewest number of fans—not just in Group C, but the entirety of the Summer Series' field. Despite the Eagles' lack of promotion, the Armenians came to the match in full force, even outnumbering Mumbai's fanbase before the start of the match. Unfortunately, the Eagles' representative, GM Zaven Andriasian, did not join the match in time, incurring a two-point penalty, giving the Movers an early 2-0 lead.

    With Andriasian out, the Eagles fan @VaheMendelyan got the opportunity to play Amonatov (@Farrukh_Amonatov) in the Live Club Match.

    Amonatov would go on to win both games against @VaheMendelyan. While the Eagles fan may have preferred to score for his team, he should not be disappointed in his play against one of the strongest players on Chess.com. The result meant that it was up to the Armenian fanbase to overcome the deficit. CM Khanya_Mazibuko (@Khanya__Mazibuko) showed his deep understanding of the Caro-Kann when he used his opening preparation to earn a point for the Eagles.

    In the end, it was @Arsen_Abrahamyan's in-between move that proved to be the critical moment, ensuring a 21-21 match tie with the Movers.

    With the match draw, Mumbai earns two points in the standings due to their superior fan growth. The Eagles scored their first point of the Summer Series, as both teams entered the Knockout Battles.

    Knockout Battles: Amonatov Stuns Firouzja, Wins Knockout In Style

    Unlike traditional playoff formats, the Knockout Battles offer players just one game each round to progress to the finals. Alongside Amonatov and Andriasian, Sao Paulo's Firouzja and Moscow's Savchenko completed the four-player knockout:

    For the second time this Summer Series, all four player representatives were grandmasters.

    PRO Chess League veteran GM Zaven Andriasian (@Zaven_ChessMood) returned for the Knockout Battles with Black against Sao Paulo's Firouzja (@Firouzja2003), forcing a bullet tiebreak after a complicated draw:

    The game forced a bullet tiebreak, giving Firouzja draw odds. The Armenian piled on pressure and had a winning position, but missed a critical continuation that allowed the Capybara player to force a three-move repetition.

    That left Moscow and Mumbai on the other side of the bracket. Savchenko (@tigra) entered the day one of the favorites to win the Knockout Battle, but Amonatov (@Farrukh_Amonatov) showed how dangerous he can be with Black.

    The match set up a clash between Firouzja and Amonatov in the Final, where Amonatov's expertise in the King's Indian helped him quickly outplay the Iranian teenager:

    Savchenko and Andriasian's third-place match entered a bullet tiebreak after a complicated draw. In a chaotic game, Savchenko pulled through in style. Wizards' General Manager GM Vlad Dobrov made the call in Russian on his Twitch channel:

    Mumbai's Knockout Battle win earned three points in the standings. Sao Paulo earned two points, and Moscow earned its first point of the Summer Series. Additionally, Amonatov won a first-place prize of $100, Firouzja won $60, and Savchenko won $40 for their performances in the Knockout Battles.

    Live Club Match: Moscow Stuns Sao Paulo In Brazilian PRO Chess League Debut

    Sao Paulo entered the PRO Chess League Summer Series a fan favorite. The local support has pushed Brazil's team to the best fan growth in the Summer Series so far, as the Capybaras' 50+ board turnout would have been enough to to break the Summer Series record—except the Wizards brought nearly twice as many fans.

    The match broke two records: most fans playing in a Summer Series match and most points scored in a match. While Sao Paulo entered the match a favorite, the Wizards won the match by 51 points, scoring nearly 80 points by the time the match was over.

    As mass rating favorites, Moscow built a lead early, with players like @chess_jawa converting positional advantages:

    The Wizards scored on their lower boards as well. Despite losing his first game, @Diden8 put together a massive queenside attack to score for Moscow:

    Savchenko avenged his first loss to Firouzja when he converted a rook-and-opposite-colored-bishop endgame:

    Moscow won the match 79.5-28.5 over the Sao Paulo Capybaras, earning three points in the standings. While the Capybaras will lament a slow start to the Summer Series, their fan numbers show that they are still an incredible force these next two weeks.

    Summer Series Championship Live Bracket:

    The Baden Baden Snowballs still lead the Reykjavik Puffins in fan growth, so as of this week the Snowballs are on track to win Group B by the fan growth tiebreaker. Both teams scored 10 points in their group. The final fan growth count will take place on August 14.

    The San Francisco Mechanics and the Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers will have to wait for the third-place Twitter vote on August 17 for their shot at a ninth- or 10th-place seed.

    Next Week's Matches

    Next week will see Mumbai and Moscow both with an opportunity to take control of Group C, while the Armenia Eagles and the Sao Paulo Capybaras have a critical clash. A loss for either the Eagles or the Capybaras could mean near-elimination from Summer Series Championship contention.

    With so much on the line, make sure to join your favorite clubs before next week's Live Club Matches. You can play for more than one team in any given week!

    2019 PRO Chess League Summer Series | Group C Standings

    Team Points Club
    Mumbai Movers 5 Fan Club
    Moscow Wizards 4 Fan Club
    Sao Paulo Capybaras 2 Fan Club
    Armenia Eagles 1 Fan Club

    Tune in to the Summer Series this Saturday, July 20, at 7 a.m. Pacific time on Twitch.tv/chess to watch the action live!


    Commentary for this week of #summerseries was provided by IM David Pruess and Isaac Steincamp. The primary commentary shows and archives are available at Twitch.tv/chess.


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