6 PRO Teams Undefeated Entering Week 4

6 PRO Teams Undefeated Entering Week 4

If you had the teams from Budapest, San Diego, Philadelphia, Cannes, and Montclair all 3-0 in the Professional Online Rapid (PRO) Chess League before the season began, congratulations, you are crushing our panel of pundits (see below). But you still wouldn't be perfect, as you'd have needed Gorky too!

That's right, no Miami, no Montreal, and none of the teams from St. Louis or London have survived the first few weeks. Even the world champion's team, Norway, is on a losing record thus far.

With such an unpredictable opening three weeks, what's in store for week four? How many teams will still be undefeated come Wednesday night?

Lets see some of the key matchups.

Eastern Division

The clouds will gather as the Gorky Stormbringers (3-0) try to keep their clean sheet against a team desperate for a win, the Norway Gnomes (1-2). The Russians are led by GM Evegeniy Shaposhnikov, a two-time winner of another Chess.com flagship event, Titled Tuesday. They guy clear likes playing on this server. They are balanced well by their board four. Anton Yatzenko may lack a FIDE title but he's one of the early MVPs on bottom board.

The Gnomes may not have found a way to lure GM Magnus Carlsen to the board, but other than that, they are bringing one of their best possible foursomes. GM Jon Ludvig Hammer returns, and he will surely be expecting more out of his team coming off last week's loss (hear on the Perpetual Chess Podcast how he felt after the first loss in week one).

The Gnomes also just signed Russian GM Evgeny Romanov and he will quickly wax his skis as his number was called in week four. 

With teenager GM Aryan Tari one board lower, you might think their secret weapon has already been named. Perhaps not! Board four FM Fredrik Kaasen was sub-2000 at the time the league's ratings were calculated, but since then he is now cresting 2500! So with three GMs and a meteor, Gorky will have all it can handle.

Another team doing well, the Odisha Epress (2-1), will try to keep from derailing against another team on the same score, the Amsterdam Mosquitos (2-1). This is a rare non-divisional matchup.

Central Division

The London Towers (2-1) are not bad at math. With a 2500 league maximum, they've come about as close to it as you can. Clocking in at 2496 is a team led by newly-crowned Tata Steel challenger winner GM Gawain Jones and 2015 British champion GM Jonathan Hawkins.

The Puffins, the Puffins, the Puffins (1.5-1.5) have settled down off their week-one high and won last week to get back to even. Days are lengthening in Reykjavik, with more than seven hours of sunlight on tap tomorrow. Will the extra UV exposure be enough for the Icelanders to win the battle of the North Atlantic?

In other action, has the Budapest Gambit (3-0) ever played the Budapest Gambit? If not, surely one day art will imitate life. This week, they will have another 16 chances, with eight as Black, to play their namesake opening against the London Lions (1-2).

Atlantic Division

In a not-exactly-age-old rivalry between a South Texas border town and suburban New Jersey, the mostly college kids comprising the Rio Grande Ospreys (2-1) will try to upend the comforts of the suburbanites from the Montclair Sopranos (3-0). Naming yourself after the highest-pitch voice has served the undefeated Sopranos well and this week they'll wail with the triple GM lineup of Alex Lenderman, Robert Hess and Mac Molner, all of whom have played in recent U.S. championships.

Another matchup where the paper tigers likely have things one-sided, the Montreal Chessbrahs (2-1) will field GM Eric Hansen (who was a Youtube ChessBrah before they were the Montreal Chessbrahs) against the unheralded Carolina Cobras (2-1). The Old North State has no IMs or GMs yet has won two matches convincingly.

Pacific Division

The battle of California's saintly teams takes place as the San Diego Surfers (3-0) hope to continue ripping against the San Jose Hackers (2-1). GM Alexey Dreev hangs up his board this week, but much-revered coach GM Melikset Khachiyan will guide strong juniors IM Michael Brown and IM Joshua Sheng into the waters. The Hackers head back to the Caucasus with GM Rauf Mamedov (Azerbaijan) and GM Zviad Izoria (Georgia).

Also watch for new world number-two GM Wesley So for St. Louis, who will give the caffeinated group in Portlandia everything it can handle as the Arch Bishops (2-1) take on the Rain (0-3).

How did our panel of pundits do last week? Better than the opening weeks.

Nearly the entire Pacific Division was nailed, with five out of six matches 100 percent correct. The quintet was nearly as dominant as a group in the Central Division. While the exact picks went down, it was the best week overall for nearly every member.

IM Robert Ris picked up his first weekly win, the first time Tarjei Svensen has not led the pack. Ris nibbled at the lead and took over second.

This week, Svensen seemed to go with mostly the cold-weather teams.

As for Ris, he seemed conflicted whether the U.S. team would do well, or if the Canadians and South Americans would overtake them.

Shaun McCoy is calling for more upsets!

NM Peter Karagianis is currently undecided. 

Alex King is betting on a surprising number of draws.

All matches will be covered live on www.Chess.com/TV, with hosts taking you from start to finish. League night (or day depending on where you are) is every Wednesday during the season, and shows begin around 10:30 a.m. Eastern / 3:30 p.m. GMT, and continue until roughly midnight Eastern / 5:00 a.m. GMT. Go to www.Chess.com/TV and check out the schedule for more details!

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