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Masters and Grandmasters take opening wins at Global Chess League

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upGrad Mumbai Masters pose a happy picture after winning against Triveni Continental Kings. Tech Mahindra

UpGrad Mumba Masters and Ganges Grandmasters came out winners from the two matches on the opening day of the inaugural Tech Mahindra Global Chess League in Dubai. The day’s proceedings at Le Meridien hotel marked a historic chapter as the league aims to revolutionise the game of chess with the winning move.

The first teams to face each other were the Triveni Continental Kings, with white, against upGrad Mumba Masters. Kings won the toss to start with the white advantage. Led by Levon Aronian – a last-minute replacement for world champion Ding Liren – the Triveni Continental Kings played a steady match. Despite the initiative of the first move, the Kings failed to capitalise on their advantage.

In a slightly better position and with more time, Aronian made “a big blunder” and allowed Vachier-Lagrave to equalise and bring the game to a draw. The team faced another setback when Chinese Grandmaster Yu Yangyi suffered a defeat at the hands of Russian heavyweight Alexander Grischuk, giving Masters an important advantage as a victory with black pieces counts as four points. Despite Yu’s compatriot Wie Yi scoring a victory against India’s Vidit Gujrathi and earning three points, the Kings were still a point short.

Unfortunately for them, all three other games ended in a draw. This meant that the final score saw Masters secure eight points while the Kings ended on seven thus losing the match. Apart from the eight points achieved in their games, the winning team is awarded another three points for winning the match.

“This event is unusual for us as we are in a team with players we know well, but with whom we have never actually been playing as team members, and, also, this event features a completely new concept,” both Levon and Maxime noted.

“I feel a lot of responsibility. You are familiar with these players but usually as opponents, not as members of the same team. Also, as the leading player in the team I feel I have to motivate others”, said Aronian.

Vachier-Lagrave  said: “In our team Sasha Grischuk [one of the most experienced top players in the Global Chess League] made us all feel inspired. He showed us motivation and that is what is needed when in a new surrounding, playing a new event”, said Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Grandmasters grab bonus win

The Ganges Grandmasters made the most of their toss win with seasoned players, such as five-times world champion Vishwanathan Anand and former women’s world champion Hou Yifan.

 Anand defeated Jan-Krzysztof Duda, the former winner of the World Cup. Yifan was the second to score, defeating another former women’s world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk in a thrilling game. Those two victories were the only decisive games of the match as the other four ended in a draw. The Grandmasters took 10 points, while the Titans ended on four.

Anand was clearly happy after the match and excited about the prospects of the Global Chess League.  “My team started well and that’s great. We are in unchartered waters here. This is a new vibe for chess. We all came here curious to see what will happen and how this will play out and so far it is proving to be exciting and promises a lot.”

Wide audience

Viewers from across the world tuned in to a broadcast to follow the games live on TV. In a first for chess – the game was broadcast live to sports networks on both sides of the Atlantic, from America to Australia.

For the first time ever, chess is employing a well-established football practice of flipping the coin to choose the side. The flip of a coin was used to decide the colour of the pieces. In another novelty, the entire team was playing with the same colour of pieces, unlike in standard formats where both teams have an equal number of black and white boards. In the circumstances, the side playing with white pieces has the initial advantage of the first move.

 

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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Emirates Dubai 7s set for 2024 edition – ARN News Centre

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Mark your calendars! The Emirates Dubai 7s, the three-day sports and entertainment festival, is set to return to the UAE on Friday, November 29, at The Sevens Stadium.

After record-breaking ticket sales, with over 560 teams comprising of over 6,000 players participating across five different sports tournaments on offer in 2023, fans and visitors can look forward to yet another exciting weekend of music alongside the rugby action on Pitch 1 and 2.

The 2024 edition will host an entertaining line-up of international artists and DJs, with a headline act on Saturday, November 30, as well as Sunday, December 1, this year, with extended music line-ups across all three days.

Dubai 7s will also deliver an amplified experience with additional entertainment stands and activations for children and young adults.

Participation in sports – Rugby, Netball, Cricket – is also growing at the festival, with the addition of a fitness competition, WODON3, for fitness elites as well as novice athletes looking to push their limits, and Rebound (Padel), with registration open at April 1 at 12:00 pm.

Organisers have announced that general admission and hospitality tickets and packages will go on sale later this year, with more details soon to be released online

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Andy Murray off to winning start in Dubai – ARN News Centre

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Monday, 26 February 2024 19:30

By ARN News Staff

www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com

Andy Murray came back from a set down to defeat Denis Shapovalov in round one of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The former world number one won 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to register just his second victory in 2024.

Murray will face either fellow veteran Gael Monfils or French fifth seed Ugo Humbert in the next round.

Elsewhere, Botic van de Zandschulp caused the first upset of the tournament with a hard fought 7-6 7-5 victory over 6th seed Adrian Mannarino.

Meanwhile, American Sebastian Korda dropped just two games en route to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Pavel Kotov, and 7th seed Alexander Bublik overcame qualifer Tomas Machac 2-6, 6-3, 7-6.



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India pull off nervy chase to clinch test series v England – ARN News Centre

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AFP

Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel pulled off a nervy chase as India beat England by five wickets in the fourth test on Monday to claim an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Chasing a modest 192 for victory, India cruised to 84 for no loss with openers Rohit Sharma (55) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (37) giving them a flying start.

The English spinners, led by Shoaib Bashir (3-79), then engineered a collapse that left India reeling at 120-5 on the penultimate day of the see-saw contest.

Gill (52) and Jurel (39) combined in an unbroken stand of 72 for the sixth wicket to inflict on England their first series defeat under captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum.

“It has been a very hard-fought series. To come on the right side after four tests feels really good,” home captain Rohit said afterwards.

“I am really proud. A lot of challenges have been thrown at us but we responded pretty well.”

Needing 152 runs on day four with all 10 wickets intact, Rohit and in-form opener Jaiswal looked at ease on a pitch where the odd ball kept low.

Rohit smacked James Anderson over mid-on for a six to signal his attacking intent and Jaiswal, the leading scorer of the series, hit off-spinner Bashir for back-to-back fours.

Joe Root broke the stand in his first over when Jaiswal tried to slice him and Anderson dived full length at short third man to grab the edge.

Rohit duly brought up his fifty but could not soldier on.

Hartley drew the opener out of the crease with a flighted delivery and Ben Foakes whipped off the bails to effect the stumping.

India slumped to 100-3 after Bashir dismissed Rajat Patidar for a duck.

The spinner turned the match on its head after the lunch break when he dismissed Ravindra Jadeja and Sarfaraz Khan with successive deliveries.

Gill and Jurel shored up India defying tremendous pressure. There was a 30-over stretch during which they could not hit a single boundary.

It was only when their victory was in sight that Gill smashed Bashir for two sixes in three balls.

Jurel, whose first innings 90 dragged India back into the contest, was adjudged player-of-the-match in his second test.

“I think it was a great test match,” England captain Stokes said.

“There were so many ebbs and flows, and I’ve got to give so much credit to our spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir for how they performed not only today, but during the whole test match.”

The fifth and final test is scheduled for Dharamsala from March 7.



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