Thursday, January 26, 2017

PRO Chess League: A Quick Update

For those of you who visit regularly, you probably have learned that Wednesdays are now dedicated to the PRO Chess League, an awesome online chess league which features 48 teams competing against each other in a "rapid chess" format for a $50,000 prize fund.  You may have heard of some of the players: Carlsen, Caruana, So, Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave, etc.

Each dot represents a team in the PRO Chess League

North Carolina of course has its own team, the Carolina Cobras, which features many local players.  Aaron Balleisen is doing great weekly recaps of those match on this blog.  This week's Cobras (Emmanuel Carter, Josh Mu, Steve Wang, Peter Giannatos) defeated an extremely strong New Jersey team this week (GM Joel Benjamin, GM Alex Stripunsky, IM-elect Praveen Balakrishnan and IM Alex Katz) by a 10.5-5.5 margin!  Some of the pundit predictions had heavily favored NJ in this match, and I believe Peter may have an opinion or two on a particularly incorrect prediction...

Although I live in Charlotte, I am still the manager of the Atlanta Kings team, as I have been for the last 2 seasons, back when the league was the "US Chess League."  Our team has a couple free agents (GM Gadir Guseinov and GM Elshan Moradiabadi), but mostly local ATL players, including GM Alonso Zapata (who won our recent Southeastern FIDE Championship) and IM Daniel Gurevich.

We haven't had a great season so far (0.5/3), but we have had a couple highlights.  This week, our board 3, Richard Francisco, was nominated for both PRO Chess League's Game of the Week and Move of the Week (24.f6) for his nice game against GM Robert Hess below (annotations by Sam Copeland in's weekly league report).

Please vote for Richard in both polls if you have a twitter account - the winner each week receives $200 for game of the week and $100 for best move of the week.

Some fun things to look forward to during the rest of the season:

  • Wednesday matches every week on or
  • Peter plays his matches for the Cobras at CCCSA on Wednesday evenings, and I am often there in my managing duties for the Atlanta Kings, so please come by and watch the commentary on the big screen
  • Peter and I are thinking about perhaps doing "live" commentary for both the Atlanta and Carolina matches to support our local players - please stay tuned
  • Finally, there will be a big local rivalry in Week 6 - Wednesday February 15, between Carolina and Atlanta!  In previous years' US Chess League, Atlanta leads Carolina 2-1, but in the new rapid format of the PRO Chess League, I'm sure that Carolina will seek to even the score.  Watch and support our local teams!

--Grant Oen, Atlanta Kings Manager

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