Triveni Continental Kings players celebrate with the trophy after they beat Grad Mumba Masters in the final of the Global Chess League in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, July 2, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP
Triveni Continental Kings were crowned champions of the inaugural Global Chess League after Danish Grandmaster Jonas Bjerre defeated upGrad Mumba Masters’ Javokhir Sindarov in a sudden death match.
The winner was decided by a three-stage tie-break. After two rounds of blitz ending in a draw, another two rounds of blitz were played, but still ended in draws.
The champion was ultimately decided in a series of sudden-death blitz games with the decisive outcome coming in the fourth game.
Bjerre, who was one of the most inexperienced players in the tournament and lost most of his games, delivered an important victory to his team when it mattered.
After suffering a four-game losing streak to Sindarov, in a draw-even endgame that the 17-year-old Uzbek prodigy decided to force, Bjerre got the upper hand and won on Sunday night.
“The last game was incredibly tense. It was really exciting. I’m still shaking. Levon Aronian (team captain) told me – just fight, if you win this game, you’ll win the event,” Bjerre said.
With this important victory, Bjerre not only clinched the title for his team but also won the $500,000 prize. The total prize fund for the tournament is a staggering $1 million.
In the first quick match, Triveni prevailed after turning the games to two draws, winning 9-7. The main game of the match was played between Levon Aronian and Maxime Vacheir-Lagrave, which the former won in a sharp and complex game.
In the second match, Mumba Masters staged a confident comeback. Dominating from the start, they beat Triveni 12-3.
With the scores tied, the grand finale went into two-round blitz tie-breaks where players had three minutes each, with a two-second increment per move.
In a spectacular performance, Mumba Masters dominated across the boards and with confident wins on boards three, five and six, they got the first blitz round in their bag early.
The other games ended in two draws as the final score was 14-5 in Mumba’s favour.
In a thrilling blitz showdown, Triveni staged a fierce comeback, wresting victory from Mumba 13-7 and favoring them.
With Mumba and Triveni each claiming a win, the ultimate champion was decided in a heart-pounding sudden-death match.
Sudden death matches should be played on one board, not six. The board was chosen by a draw of lots. The first pair selected was number five as India’s Sara Khadem and Harika Dronavalli took their place.
The game ended in a draw as did the next two before Bjerre produced a memorable title-winning performance.