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Warriors fight their way to GCL top perch



SG Alpine Warriors usurped Ganges Grandmasters to go into the lead after Day 4 of the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League on Sunday. Also showing some fight were upGrad Mumba Masters, who were undone by India’s Praggnanandhaa R in the final match of the day when they went down 7-8 to the Warriors. The young prodigy beat Juvokhir Sindarov with black to turn the tables after Maxine Vachier-Lagrave shocked Magnus Carlsen.

The Warriors made for perfect timing new occupants on the leaderboard with brand ambassador Yuzvendra Chahal, the Indian cricketer, making an appearance at the venue. Chahal is the only player to represent India in cricket and chess. His presence added to a massive turnout in the audience at Le Meridien hotel. The Warriors had two matches on the day and impressively won both with black.

SG Alpine Warriors’ Gukesh D of Alpine Warriors lost to Shakhyar Mamedyarov of Chingari Gulf Titans in the second match of the day. Courtesy GCL

Despite having Carlsen, the highest-rated chess player in the world in their squad, Warriors were evenly matched against Masters in the final match. In time trouble, Carlsen made a fatal move towards the end directly entering a lost position against counterpart icon player Vachier-Lagrave. Magnus was in disbelief as he shook his head after the loss.

Irina Krush then made a huge blunder against Koneru Humpy, but the Masters player missed the opportunity and the game ended in a draw. However, the Masters were still in the match, pushing on the last two boards. In the end, Harika Dronavalli drew with Elisabeth Paehtz, but Praggnanandhaa was confident and won against Sindarov, securing important four game points for SG Alpine Warriors.

The day started on a bad note for Ganges Grandmasters as they lost to Ronnie Screwvala’s Mumba Masters despite starting with white for the first-move advantage. Harika Dronavalli got the first victory of the match, having defeated Bella Khotenashvili, gaining important four game points.

ALSO READ: Ganges Grandmasters in full flow

As other games ended in a draw, Viswanathan Anand managed to strike back on board one where he was playing Vachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman opted to give up a pawn in the opening but create more initiative. In a sharp exchange, the Frenchman misplayed when he put his queen on the wrong square and ended in a losing position which he couldn’t save.

Despite this victory, Grandmasters’ Richard Rapport lost to Alexander Grischuk, who became the hero of the match having sealed the victory and three crucial match points.

In the second match of the day, Warriors won the coin toss against Chingari Gulf Titans. They  opted to play as black in a surprise decision, only the second time in the tournament. The black team gets an extra point for a win.

On board one, it was Jan-Krzysztof Duda against the reigning world champion in rapid and blitz, Magnus Carlsen. It was Duda who ended Carlsen’s world record run of 125 games unbeaten and who in 2021 knocked him out of the World Cup. Despite Duda creating a slightly better position, Magnus managed to unsettle the white king and in the end went for a three-fold check repetition.

Shakhriyar  Mamedyarov was the first to score for the Titans, defeating Gukesh D and bringing the Titans three game points. However, Nihal Sarin made a fatal error under time pressure in a setback for Titans, giving the Warriors a one-point edge. As three more games ended in a draw, all eyes turned to the game between Polina Shuvalova and Elisabeth Paehtz. In a rook endgame, Elisabeth Paehtz then defeated Polina Shuvalova to secure victory for Warriors.

Balan Alaskan Knights took on Chingari Gulf Titans in a bottom table scrap with Knights playing first after winning the toss. Both teams had suffered three defeats in four matches. While the Knights managed to win one team encounter, the Titans were yet to bag their first match victory.

The Titans came out swinging from the start – both Mamedyarov and former women’s world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk gained a decisive advantage in their matches. In the match of the women’s world champions, Kosteniuk, playing as black, forced Tan Zhongyi to surrender. Moments after, Mamedyarov, also as black, defeated the 2021 world rapid champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov giving more wind to the Titans’ sails. A 15:3 result gave Titans their first win.


Root rescues England with controlled century in India – ARN News Centre




Joe Root rescued England with a century on the opening day of the fourth test against India on Friday, steering the tourists to a respectable 302-7 after Akash Deep took early wickets.

The right-hander responded to the backlash against England’s ‘Bazball’ approach after their drubbing by 434 runs in the third test, with an unbeaten 106 not out which brought England back into the game from a precarious 112-5 at lunch.

Root’s own dismissal in Rajkot — playing a reverse scoop against Jasprit Bumrah — was seen as symptomatic of what is wrong with England’s ultra-aggressive batting.

Ollie Robinson was also unbeaten after a useful cameo of 31, relieving the pressure on Ben Stokes, who was earlier left to rue his decision to bat as England lost the top half of their batting order in the frenetic first session.

The hosts’ 2-1 cushion in the five-match series allowed them to rest pace spearhead Bumrah, and Akash Deep became the fourth Indian to make his debut in the series.

The right-arm seamer impressed immediately, sending opener Zak Crawley’s off-stump cartwheeling in his second over but his celebrations were cut short when the no-ball siren went off.

The 27-year-old seamer soon got over that disappointment by striking twice in three balls.

Akash dismissed Ben Duckett caught behind for 11 with an angled delivery that prompted a tentative prod from the opener.

Akash waited for confirmation that he had not overstepped and beat his chest in celebration. Two balls later, Ollie Pope fell lbw for a duck.

Crawley went after Mohammed Siraj, hitting the bowler for three fours in a row and following that up with a huge six.

Enter Akash, who ended Crawley’s run-a-ball 42 by hitting the top of his off-stump.

“I was upset with the no-ball not because it was my first test wicket,” Akash told the broadcasters afterwards.

“I was worried it could cost us some runs as Crawley was going after us. I was relieved to get rid of him soon.”

Jonny Bairstow (38) has been unusually subdued in the series and he squandered another start by attempting a sweep shot against Ravichandran Ashwin only to be dismissed lbw.

Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Stokes lbw for three with the final delivery before the lunch break that stayed low.

With their top half back in the hut, England’s capitulation on a spiteful pitch appeared only a matter of time.

But former captain Root had other ideas and combined with Ben Foakes (47) in a century stand denying India any wicket in the second session.

Siraj returned to remove Foakes and Tom Hartley after the tea break, but Root could not be denied his 31st test hundred.

Root was lot more judicious in his shotmaking, hitting nine fours in a patient knock.

England said leg-spinner Rehan was returning home for personal reasons.

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Kalinskaya eliminates Gauff to set up semi-final with Swiatek – ARN News Centre




Qualifier Anna Kalinskaya pulled off a stunning upset by defeating World No3 Coco Gauff in three sets to advance to the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Kalinskaya’s comeback victory sets up a surprising semifinal clash with World No1 Iga Swiatek.

Despite facing a medical timeout and trailing in the first set, Kalinskaya showcased resilience to turn the match around, eventually winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. The victory marks her second Top-10 win of the week and first Top-5 win.

Meanwhile, Swiatek, fresh off her title win in Doha, continued her dominant run in the Middle East with a straight-set victory over Zheng. Swiatek’s win sets up a semifinal showdown against Kalinskaya.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, continues with both women’s WTA 1000 and men’s ATP 500 events.

Tickets are available online.

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Ferrari set F1 testing pace after drain damage – ARN News Centre



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Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz set the pace on the second day of Formula One’s pre-season testing in Bahrain on Thursday after the team changed the car’s damaged floor following a loose drain cover incident.

The morning session was halted the first red flag of the year after the Spaniard’s team mate Charles Leclerc ran over the cover at turn 11.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton also went over it, with debris flying in the air.

Teams have only one car each on track over the three days of testing at Sakhir, with Leclerc and Sainz alternating, and Ferrari took the SF-24 back into the garage for repairs with the shutters down.

Sainz took over in the afternoon/evening session, which was brought forward an hour to make up for the time lost to track repairs, and lapped with a best time of one minute 29.921 seconds on the second softest C4 tyre.

“Another day of testing completed according to plan and without issues,” Sainz said.

“We managed to go through the whole afternoon programme smoothly, combining various tests with low and high fuel runs, so it was interesting to get a feel for this year’s car in different configurations.”

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was closest to him on the slower C3 tyre, 0.758 off the pace, with Hamilton third and McLaren’s Lando Norris fourth.

“We’ve clearly made an improvement with this year’s car and it’s much nicer to drive,” said seven-times world champion Hamilton, who completed 123 laps.

Leclerc had topped the earlier timesheets in 1:31.750 on the C3 tyre with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri 0.578 slower and Williams’ Logan Sargeant third and 0.828 off the pace.

The Ferrari driver returned in the afternoon to complete his programme before handing over to Sainz.

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