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GCL: Carlsen scores ‘massive’ win over Anand to put Warriors in lead

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Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Two days after Magnus Carlsen told the media in Dubai he is still the best in the world with no one to beat him, he proved it by example in the ongoing Global Chess League.

The icon player for SG Alpine Warriors kept the pressure on leaders Ganges Grandmasters by a morale-lifting victory and a historic clash with counterpart Vishwanathan Anand at Le Meridien hotel on Wednesday. A huge turnout at Le Meridien got what they came for as Carlsen, playing with black, overturned the tables in a memorable endgame.

Ganges Grandmasters took the lead but, thanks to the unstoppable Warriors prodigy Praggnanandhaa R, the team managed to strike back in a critical moment. In what turned out to be the endgame for the history books, which saw two queens promoted by White and a knight promoted by Black, Carlsen managed to win 10-8 as Warriors displaced the Grandmasters on the leaderboard as both sides look headed to the final as well.

In the other game, Balan Alaskan Knights also scored a timely 8-5 win over upGrad Mumba Masters to inch up a spot from their fifth place at the start of the day.

Following the French defence, a sharp position developed on the board. In positional readjusting, both were pushing, creating traps for each other. With seconds on the clock, Carlsen had to calculate the complicated path to victory which saw White promoting his pawn to a queen twice. In the end, Anand thought he found a way to a stalemate but instead of promoting a queen, Carlsen took out a knight – an unusual choice by all standards – but just what was needed for victory.

“I did not know the score but, judging from what I’d seen before, I thought I had to win,” Carlsen said. “It’s looking pretty good now.  It’s pretty massive, we’ve got to keep it going. We have played with five blacks in a row, won four of them. But now the mentality changes; a draw will not be enough.”

A disappointed Anand acknowledged the genius of Carlsen. “I spoiled the endgame in the end. He’s really good at this,” said the former five-time world champion from India.


For a long time in the match, neither side had the upper hand. The first to make a breakthrough was Ganges’ Richard Rapport. In the Italian game, Gukesh D allowed Rapport to take more space and orchestrate an attack on the black king from which there was no escape. With another game ending in a draw – between Arjun Erigaisi and Leinier Dominguez – the Ganges Grandmasters took the lead.

The next game to finish was between Hou Yifan – the world’s top-rated woman player – who defeated the eight-time American women’s champion, Irina Krush. In a tense position, Krush made a blunder allowing White to easily mate her king.

A glimmer of hope for Warriors came from Praggnanandhaa – so far the most successful player in the tournament with six wins and a draw – who proved his value again, defeating Andrey Esipenko as Black.

As Elisabeth Paehtz ended in a drawn position with Bella Khotenashvili, everything depended on the outcome of the game between Carlsen and Anand. “This is a game for the history books. The titans of chess fighting it out until the end”, said Grandmaster Peter Svidler.


Balan Alaskan Knights v upGrad Mumba Masters (8:5)

Knights, who won the first round against the Masters 14:5, started with the advantage of playing with white. Icon player Ian Nepomniachtchi went for the Sicilian Rossolimo against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Both the Indian women’s Grandmasters, Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli, also came under opening pressure straightaway.

The Knights’ started the day in fifth position but in the individual race for the most valuable players, they had two players, Tan Zhongyi and Nodirbek Abdusattorov, in good form and in the top six, just behind the Masters’ Harika Dronavalli in fourth.

By the time the dust settled on the opening moves, Humpy was in a disadvantageous position against Zhongyi although the latter had used up more time for her attack. On board one, the icon players settled for a draw, just as Teimour Radjabov and Vidit Gujrathi on the third table.

Meanwhile, a patient Humpy made calculated moves to fight back and Zhongyi also misplayed at a crucial juncture as Humpy bailed out. Dronavalli also held off the initial onslaught from Nino Batsiashvili to split the point.

All hopes rested on board six, where Knights prodigy Raunak Sadhwani pressed his advantage with white Javokhir Sindarov with the time clock also in the favour of the young 17-year-old from Nagpur. The endgame saw some nervous shaking of feet before Sadhwani enforced a win and expressed his delight by throwing his hands in the air.

In the last game to finish, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, in white, was in a tight tug of war with Alexander Grischuk for most of their clash. Abdusattorov then managed to hold fort, thus paving way for an important 8-5 win for the Knights.

Raunak Sadhwani scored an important win for Balan Alaskan Knights.

Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of eIndia.com. Now managing editor of Headline.ae, part of MEMc (https://www.memc.co)

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Rublev defaulted as Bublik reaches Dubai final – ARN News Centre

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Friday, 1 March 2024 20:30

By Reuters

RYAN LIM/ AFP

Second seed Andrey Rublev was defaulted from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-finals on Friday after yelling at a line judge in the final set of his clash with Alexander Bublik.

In a chaotic match where both semi-finalists fumed at the officials, Rublev was defaulted by the chair umpire for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Bublik, who clawed his way back from a set down to lead 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-5, was awarded the win.

The result ensured there would be no repeat of last year’s final where Rublev lost to Daniil Medvedev.

The top seeded Medvedev is playing against fifth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the other last-four clash.

 





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Ronaldo’s Al Nassr sets up ACL clash with Al Ain – ARN News Centre

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FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr will lock horns with UAE side Al Ain in the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League (ACL).

The Riyadh-based side beat fellow Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Fayha 2-0 on Wednesday to complete a 3-0 aggregate victory.

Portugal winger Otavio scored in the 17th minute to build on last week’s 1-0 win before Ronaldo added a late second.

Elsewhere, Al Ain saw off Uzbekistan’s Nasaf 2-1, thanks to Soufiane Rahimi’s injury-time winner.

Following a scoreless first leg, Al Ain came back from going a goal behind to Akmal Mozgovoy’s close-range strike in the 51st minute to level through Kodjo Laba’s acrobatic effort four minutes later.

The game looked to be heading for extra time when Rahimi capitalised on a poor attempt to punch clear by Nasaf goalkeeper Abduvohid Nematov to slot home the winner for the hosts two minutes into added time.

South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai also confirmed their progress to the next round with a 2-1 victory over Japanese second division side Ventforet Kofu to complete a 5-1 aggregate win.

Meanwhiel, Anderson Lopes’ 122nd-minute penalty earned Yokohama F Marinos a last-gasp 1-0 win over Bangkok United to seal a 3-2 victory that sets up a quarter-final meeting with China’s Shandong Taishan.

On Thursday, Saudi champions Al Ittihad will meet Navbahor from Uzbekistan in Jeddah following a scoreless draw in their first clash and Al Hilal take a 3-1 lead into their second leg against Iran’s Sepahan in Riyadh.

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Inaugural edition of Lanka T10 to kick off in December 2024

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The inaugural edition of the Lanka T10 League will be held from December 12 to December 22, 2024.

The tournament, which was initially planned to be held in June 2023, was shifted to December, as SLC deemed the ‘December window’ as the most appropriate to conduct the league, as the timing will complement Sri Lanka’s Domestic and International Cricketing Calendar.

Lanka T10 League, Sri Lanka’s newest addition to its annual cricket calendar will feature some of the finest international stars along with Sri Lanka’s top international stars.

The action-packed competition will also provide opportunities for the brightest young talents in the country to mix, mingle, and play along with international stars.

” I have full confidence that this tournament will be a resounding success, contributing to Sri Lanka Cricket’s ability to stay current with the evolving trends in the game.,” said Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

Adding more thoughts on the Lanka T10 December tournament, Mr Shammi Silva added, “We foresee that this event will not solely captivate cricket enthusiasts, but also serve as a catalyst for popularizing the tournament broadly.”

Mr Anil Mohan, Founder and CEO, IPG Group shared, “This is a great stepping stone for us as we get to organise another exciting chapter in Sri Lankan Cricket. Our league unites the top international stars and local talent on an exciting platform for cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Together, we aim to make history and elevate the game with every thrilling match.”


The tournament will feature six men’s teams covering regional cricket picenters, with each team consisting of a squad of 16 players, along with six foreign players.

“We’re thrilled to bring T10 cricket to Sri Lanka, and we’re grateful to SLC for their support. This league holds added significance as it is formally endorsed by esteemed members like SLC, highlighting the credibility and excitement surrounding this new era in Sri Lankan cricket.” Shaji ul Mulk, Chairman of TTen Global Sports, representing the Event Rights Partner.

The matches will be played in some of Sri Lanka’s top international cricket venues and under lights.

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