Top 5 Highlights: PRO Chess League Week 2
David Navara scored a perfect 4/4 for the Hungary Hunters en route to an 11-5 win over the Croatia Bulldogs.

Top 5 Highlights: PRO Chess League Week 2

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This week's action brought upsets, stunning sacrifices, and drama to the PRO Chess League. The Armenia Eagles overcame a challenge created by its own national championship schedule to upset the China Pandas, Alexander Grischuk completed a 4/4 sweep en route to a Canada Chessbrahs victory, and the Turkey Knights drew a heavily favored Russia Wizards team.

PRO Chess League Week 2 Standings

Here are the top moments that you may have missed in the PRO Chess League:

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Top Highlights Of The Week

1. The France Roosters' Trash-Talking Creating Enemies In The Central Division

After their second win of the season, France has declared that the Central Division is "too easy" and that they wish they were in the Western Division to get more competitive matches. 

Next week France plays the Sweden Wasabis, and the Wasabis are not at all amused by the arrogance of the French team. 

With Bassem Amin already having scored 7/7 and with GM Nils Grandelius making his debut next week, Sweden plans to humble the Roosters.

Bassem Amin PRO Chess League

While the effort was not enough this week, Norway's Hans Niemann did put together two impressive wins against top French grandmasters:

The Puzzle Battle World Championship semifinalist, however, missed a quick tactic on the fifth move against GM Romain Edouard, who clinched the match for the French team, 10.5-5.5:

2. Saint Louis And Canada Are The Teams To Beat In The Western Division

The Arch Bishops are considered by many to be nearly unbeatable with super grandmasters Fabiano Caruana, Leinier Dominguez, and Wesley So on the roster. This week they scored a 11-5 win over the U.K. Lions, but the Lions' fourth board, Marcus Harvey, managed to beat both So and Dominguez en route to a 2.5/4 score. If an FM on board four can score 2.5/4, perhaps a team of four very strong GMs can find lightning in a bottle.

Here is Harvey's instructive king-and-pawn endgame against So:

Meanwhile, after an incredible 14-2 win over Argentina, the Canada Chessbrahs have the highest performance rating in the league at 2750. With a heavyweight roster that includes Grischuk, Anish Giri, and Alireza Firouzja, the Chessbrahs are a serious contender to upset the Saint Louis juggernaut for the Western Division crown. These two teams play in week five in what should be an epic rematch of their 2019 regular season clash.

Grischuk scored an impressive 4/4 this week and is strong enough to wipe out any team in the league.

3. Armenia Finds Sacrifices To Upset The China Pandas

The Armenia vs. China match was timed during the middle of the Armenian National Championship. Fortunately for the Eagles, Armenia takes its PRO Chess League team very seriously, and the arbiters of the championship agreed to allow GM Zaven Andriasian to start his championship game a few hours early. This gave him time to finish the game just in time to play the first round of the match.

Zaven Andriasian PRO Chess League

The Eagles were down 5.5-2.5 at halftime but achieved the biggest comeback of the season by going 6-2 in the second half of the match for an 8.5-7.5 win. The Eagles head into week three in first place but will face a stiff test against the Russia Wizards.

Fourteen-year-old Free Agent Raunak Sadhwani scored an impressive 2.5/4 on board four to lead the Eagles to victory.

While China lost the match, they had their moments as well. GM Wei Yi found the move of the match in his round-two game against GM Tigran Petrosian.

White to play after 22...Nd5.
  

Wei Yi found the stunning 23. Qxd5!! with mate on h8 unstoppable.

4. Hungary Hunters Notch Two Perfect Scores

Four players went 4/4 in the PRO Chess League's second week, and two played for the Hungary Hunters. Super GM David Navara had a rough first week but came back in style in week two with a 4/4 performance against the Croatia Bulldogs. With teammate Tamas Banusz also scoring 4/4, they had no trouble winning the match and putting themselves right back into the thick of the Eastern Division playoff race.

White to play and win.
  

5. Germany Bears Are Dominating The Central Division

With experienced rapid players such as GM Anton Korobov and GM Georg Meier on the roster, the Germany Bears have been toying with the competition in the Central Division, winning their two matches by a combined score of 25-7. Their performance rating of 2727 dwarfs everyone else in the division, and even the France Roosters have agreed that Germany is their only real competition on the schedule.

Meier wins with his beloved French Defense.
  

Fantasy Corner

PRO Chess League Fantasy ChessThis year the PRO Chess League is raising the stakes with its Fantasy Contest that offers weekly cash prizes and even more opportunities to win. Every week will have three contests, one for each division. The first-place finisher in each contest will win a three-month diamond Chess.com membership, and a perfect submission in any contest will win up to $100, so make sure to complete your three submissions every week.

This past week's winners are:

  • Western Division: @Aingrao
  • Eastern Division: @albi1999
  • Central Division: @kucharz28

Make sure to submit your Fantasy lineup for every division each week to win prizes! You can reach the Fantasy portal on the PRO Chess League website by clicking the button below:

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