PRO Chess League Summer Series: Statement Saturday In 'Group Of Life'
Pittsburgh's Live Club Match against Baden Baden could prove to be a pivotal pairing in Group B.

PRO Chess League Summer Series: Statement Saturday In 'Group Of Life'

IsaacSteincamp
IsaacSteincamp
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6 | Chess.com News

This Saturday, Group B will take center stage in the PRO Chess League Summer Series, as the Barcelona Raptors, Baden Baden Snowballs, Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers and Reykjavik Puffins look to make their cases for a spot in the Summer Series Championship.

After a tense opening week, Barcelona wants to extend its lead, while Pittsburgh will try to bounce back from a loss to the Puffins.

The second week of Group B action sees the Barcelona Raptors facing the Reykjavik Puffins (8 a.m. PT), while the Baden Baden Snowballs have a critical match-up with the Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers (10:30 a.m. PT).

2019 PRO Chess League Summer Series | Group B Standings

  Team Points Club
Barcelona Raptors 5 Fan Club
Baden Baden Snowballs 3 Fan Club
Reykjavik Puffins 3 Fan Club
Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers 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.

Barcelona Raptors vs Reykjavik Puffins
Saturday, June 22 at 8 a.m Pacific

Why Barcelona wins: The Raptors have the most enviable position after one week of Summer Series action, leading in both the standings on points and fans. With GM Daniel Forcen Esteban at the helm again, he should be the favorite against Reykjavik's Kjartansson. The Raptors know that a perfect six-point week will likely see them through to the Summer Series Championship, so don't expect the Raptors' fan base to hold back in this match. Reykjavik will be energetic, but Barcelona has the numbers.

GM Daniel Forcen Esteban had an even score last week (one win, three draws, one loss), but was able to build small advantages in each of his games.

Why Reykjavik wins: Last week's crushing win against the Pawngrabbers was the upset of the Summer Series. While IM Bragi Thorfinnsson was not able to score against GM Awonder Liang, the Puffins' fans demolished Pittsburgh on the bottom boards. This week, IM Gudmundur Kjartansson will be counting on fans once again to help pull the second upset of the Summer Series. While Kjartansson has not played in the PRO Chess League since 2017, he scored 2.5/4 in his debut against the Buenos Aires Krakens—GM Forcen Esteban should be careful.

General manager FM Ingvar Johannesson will be counting on Kjartansson and the Puffins' fan base to pull a second consecutive upset.
Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers vs Baden Baden Snowballs
Saturday, June 22 at 10:30 a.m. Pacific

Why Pittsburgh wins: With Barcelona still on the schedule, the Pawngrabbers need to beat the Snowballs and have a respectable showing in the Knockout Battles to stay in contention for a playoff spot. Since commentator IM Levy Rozman called out the "black and gold" fan base last week, Pittsburgh's fan totals have seen a meteoric rise. That is bad news for the Snowballs, since Pittsburgh's Liang had the best individual performance last week. Expect GM Alexander Shabalov to keep up the pressure against the Snowballs.

No player has played more games for the Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers than GM Alexander Shabalov. The U.S. chess hall of famer has had numerous scalps against top players in the PRO Chess League.

Why Baden Baden wins: Baden Baden is also coming off a Live Club Match loss, though GM Dmitrij Kollars' Knockout Battle win gives the Snowballs a greater margin of error than Pittsburgh. If Baden Baden can bring the fans to this Live Club Match, the PRO Chess League finalists should be a slight favorite. Expect a close match, but Kollars' 61 games in 2019, combined with his triumphant performance last week in the Knockout Battles, could be the difference for the Snowballs.

Kollars saved the Baden Baden Snowballs by winning the Knockout Battles last week. Will he again be the difference this week's match?
Predicting the PRO Chess League Summer Series Champion: Fan Take With James Canty III

Each week, Chess.com will reach out to streamers to make their picks for the Summer Series Championship. NM James Canty III, known as "gmcanty" on Twitch, is this week's featured streamer after running the official PRO Chess League Summer Series Post-Show and Analysis on his channel. In the 2019 PRO Chess League season, Canty played as a fourth board for the Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers.

Canty's show will start on Saturday after Pittsburgh's match against Baden Baden concludes, around 11:30 p.m. PT.  Tune in to have a national master review your game!

When asked about his picks for the PRO Chess League Summer Series Championship, Canty gave us his insight:

WE IN HERE! With so many powerhouse teams it was so tough to make my bracket! The Saint Louis Arch Bishops are my pick to win the Summer Series Championship. Saint Louis is at the top, besting the Pawngrabbers in the finals, and the Raptors and the Chessbrahs right behind them. Pittsburgh is such an underrated force, and I favorite them as a "dark horse," but I don't see them getting through Saint Louis. I think there is a lot of opportunity for all the other teams, but I have to go with my team, the Pawngrabbers. It's about to get real...I'm excited to see what happens. LET'S GO!

Canty's Bracket:

NM James Canty sees the Saint Louis Arch Bishops as an early favorite to win the Summer Series Championships.

Disagree with Canty's picks? Make your picks in the comments and play in the PRO Chess League Summer Series this Saturday, June 22 at 8 a.m. PDT. 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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