Pono Finds A Shot But Can't Save Dublin In PRO Week 3

Pono Finds A Shot But Can't Save Dublin In PRO Week 3

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Week three in the PRO Chess League was defined by surprise as many favorites dropped critical matches in sometimes dramatic fashion. With just a seven-week regular season preceding the playoffs, some juggernauts are starting to emerge while many teams already need at least 3-1 from their remaining matches to reach the playoffs.

Week Three Nail-Biters

The Cannes Blockbusters (3/3) won a stellar match against the Marseille Migraines (2/3) last week, and this week they pulled a half-point ahead in what was a very competitive match with the Dublin Desperados (1/3). The Desperados added former FIDE world champion GM Ruslan Ponomariov to their lineup in place of GM Sebastian Maze, who is currently playing in the Gibraltar Chess Festival. Although Cannes won the match, Ponomariov won the most dramatic game as he found a nasty move against last week's hero, Flavio Perez, in the last round.

In a match between two likely playoff-bound teams, the Buenos Aires Krakens (2/3) defeated the Montreal ChessBrahs (2/3) by a half-point. GM Li Chao remained the most dominant board one in the league as he scored 3.5/4 again. Thus far, he has 11/12. Equalling his score this week was GM Federico Perez Ponsa who won this beautiful attacking game against the popular commentator, IM Aman Hambleton.

The Rio Grande Ospreys (2/3) defeated the San Jose Hackers (2/3), a team many thought was the best in the league in another very tight 8.5-7.5 match. Last week's most beloved commentator returned to witness a dramatic reversal as the Hackers mounted a late comeback that fell just short.

That match also featured a sharp duel between GM Vladimir Belous and GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Probably 95 percent of the players in the league would have succumbed to Belous' dangerous threats.

One more tactical game saw GM Anton Kovalyov overwhelm the hackers GM Cristian Chirila with direct and tactical play.

The Dallas Destiny (2/3) claimed a half-point win over the Seattle Sluggers (1/3) thanks mostly to their third board, the newly titled GM Ruifeng Li. Ruifeng scored 4/4! He had some hairy moments, but escaped all of them. The most exciting was probably this game against FM Roland Feng in the last round.

Week Three Shots

The Reykjavik Puffins (1.5/3) overwhelmed the Abuja Rockstars (1/3) this week. FM Ingvar Johannesson finished in style, pleading for move-of-the-week support on Twitter.

One of the finest upsets was achieved by Richard Francisco of the Atlanta Kings (0.5/3) against GM Robert Hess of the Montclair Sopranos (3/3). Check out the incredible move he played here.

GM Mark Paragua played a crowd pleaser against GM Andriy Vovk. It wasn't quite enough to turn the tide in a half-point loss to the Philadelphia Inventors, who are the second 3/3 team in the Atlantic Division.

Although his team (Johannesberg Koeksisters on 0/3) was soundly defeated by the Belgrade Sparrows (1/3), Matt Pons played a satisfying miniature against Rastko Svicevic.

Week Three Blunders:

Blunders are always a part of rapid chess, but this week featured a number of rather stunning oversights, mouse slips, and humorous tactical oversights. Our sympathies to the below players. In the words of commentator, GM Jesse Krai, "That has to hurt."

The most crucial blunder was unquestionably GM Simen Agdestein's mouse slip in a tied match against the Budapest Gambit with only this game remaining.

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In a moment of endless mirth for Kraai, Black landed a fork in this game, only to get hit by another more powerful fork.

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NM Sam Copeland

I'm the VP of Chess and Community for I earned the National Master title in 2012, and in 2014, I returned to my home state of South Carolina to start Strategery: Chess and Games. In late 2014, I began working for and haven't looked back since.

You can find my personal content on Twitch , Twitter , and YouTube where I further indulge my love of chess.

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