PRO Chess League Summer Series: Sao Paulo Has Perfect Week, Mumbai Falters
The Sao Paulo Capybaras scored the third perfect week of the Summer Series, while the Armenia Eagles did just enough to survive.

PRO Chess League Summer Series: Sao Paulo Has Perfect Week, Mumbai Falters

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The eighth week of the PRO Chess League Summer Series could not have gone better for GM Sandro Mareco and the Sao Paulo Capybaras. The Brazilian side scored the third six-point week of the Summer Series (Saint Louis and Pittsburgh were first and second, respectively), which was just enough to take a one-point lead over the Moscow Wizards heading into the final week of the group.

The Mumbai Movers dropped in the standings after a one-point showing on Saturday. While the Summer Series' lone Indian squad is still in playoff contention, Mumbai's fans will spend this week wondering if the "Curse of Five" will plague them as both the San Francisco Mechanics and the Barcelona Raptors failed to qualify for the Summer Series Championship despite earning five points in their group's opening week. The Armenia Eagles are still alive after a strong showing from GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan but need a near-perfect performance next Saturday to advance.

The Capybaras are sitting comfortably on the top of Group C, while the Armenia Eagles need to beat Moscow next week and have a strong showing in the Knockout Battle.

Live Club Match: Lower Boards Lead Moscow To Victory Over Mumbai

Falling just shy of the Summer Series' record, the Wizards' clash with the Movers featured the event's second 100+ player Live Club Match. While the top board clash between GM Boris Savchenko and GM Diptayan Ghosh was critical, Moscow's lowest boards pushed them to victory.

Leading the charge for the Wizards was @porqe, who used his kingside pressure to create a deadly attack:

While Mumbai did well to keep the match close, the Wizards continued to score in droves. Showing his comfort with the Scandinavian, @4essvarvar beat White's attempt to deviate from the main lines:

On the top board, Savchenko (@tigra) beat Ghosh (@Wizard456) a second time after a chaotic game ended with a time scramble:

While the Movers kept the match competitive, Moscow pulled away and won the match, 64-42. With the win, the Wizards earned three points towards the standings and took the group lead as both teams entered the Knockout Battles.

Knockout Battles: Mareco and Ter-Sahakyan Dominate, Shuffle Group C Standings

Unlike traditional playoff formats, the Knockout Battles offer players just one game each round to progress to the finals. Alongside Savchenko and Ghosh, Sao Paulo's GM Sandro Mareco (@sandromareco) and Armenia's GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan (@Sam_ChessMood) completed the four-player knockout:

While Mareco, Ghosh, and Ter-Sahakyan were all making their Summer Series debut, Savchenko was hoping to capitalize on his experience from last week. 

Armenia's Ter-Sahakyan desperately needed a result in the opening round after Moscow beat Mumbai. After pressuring Ghosh for the duration of the game, the Armenian finally broke through, pushing the Eagles to the Knockout Battle final.

On the other side of the bracket, Mareco reminded PRO Chess League fans of his strength in rapid. The Argentinian grandmaster was the leading force of the Buenos Aires Krakens in 2017, and his win over Savchenko marked his first game back in the PRO Chess League since the Krakens were relegated in 2018.

The results set up a rematch between Ghosh and Savchenko, and this time Ghosh converted his advantage and took third place in the Knockout Battle:

In the final, Ter-Sahakyan missed his chance to convert with Black, then blundered—giving Mareco first in the process. While second place was a solid result for Armenia, a crucial Live Club Match against the Capybaras lay ahead.

Sao Paulo's Knockout Battle win earned three points in the standings. Armenia earned two points, and Mumbai earned its first point of the day. Additionally, Mareco won a first-place prize of $100, Ter-Sahakyan won $60, and Ghosh won $40 for their performances in the Knockout Battles.

Live Club Match: Sao Paulo Takes Group Lead With Dominating Win Over Armenia

After a thrashing against Moscow last week, the Capybaras proved they were not discouraged when they brought over 120 fans to their match with Armenia. Because the Eagles brought a modest 30, there were massive rating mismatches in favor of Sao Paulo on nearly every board.

Determined to win, Ter-Sahakyan showed that the Petroff can be a dangerous opening, as he sacrificed a rook as early as move 14! Unfortunately for the Armenian, he missed his chance, and Mareco was able to defend, scoring for the Capybaras:

After grinding out an opening advantage, @MatheusSE eventually converted a queen-and-pawn endgame to score his first of two points for the Capybaras:

By outcalculating his opponent, @chessguy1012 found key tactical refutations to beat his opponent's Hippopotamus setup.

By beating the 2018 league champions 40-20, Sao Paulo earned three points in the standings. The result volleyed the Capybaras to the top of the standings and gave them excellent chances to earn a playoff berth next week.

Summer Series Championship Live Bracket

The Baden Baden Snowballs still lead the Reykjavik Puffins in fan growth. 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


Three teams have particularly strong chances of qualifying for the Summer Series Championship on Saturday (July 27, 7 a.m. Pacific time).

If Sao Paulo can beat the Mumbai Movers next week, the Capybaras have particularly good chances of winning Group C. But the Brazilian side will keep a close eye on Moscow's results against Mumbai. Moscow too has decent chances to win Group C but will likely need to finish with at least one more point than the Capybaras due to fan growth. The Movers are realistically playing for second place, but the Indian side will secure at least third place and a Twitter Vote if they can score three points next week.

For the Eagles, only two scenarios exist where they can directly qualify for the Summer Series Championship with a top-two finish:

  • Armenia beats Moscow in their Live Club Match
  • Sao Paulo beats Mumbai in their Live Club Match
  • Armenia finishes at least one place above Mumbai AND two or more places above the Moscow Wizards in the Knockout Battle. 

OR

  • Armenia beats Moscow in their Live Club Match
  • Mumbai beats Sao Paulo in their Live Club Match
  • Armenia wins the Knockout Battle AND finishes two or more places above the Moscow AND Sao Paulo finishes last.

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 week!

2019 PRO Chess League Summer Series | Group C Standings

Team Points Club
Sao Paulo Capybaras 8 Fan Club
Moscow Wizards 7 Fan Club
Mumbai Movers 6 Fan Club
Armenia Eagles 3 Fan Club

Tune in to the Summer Series this Saturday, July 27, 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, GM Aman Hambleton, and GoldDustTori. 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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