PRO Chess: What Team Are You Voting For?

The PRO Chess League’s 2nd season commenced on Saturday, October 28, with two qualifiers (Pacific/Atlantic and Central/Eastern) where 33 teams across the globe competed for 8 coveted spots in the regular season.

Six teams have officially qualified by placing in the top three of each tournament. Meanwhile, two more teams will be chosen from the 4th-6th place finishers by fans through votes on and Twitter over the next 2 days.

Let’s take a look at the winning teams and the teams with their fates hanging in the balance.

Pacific & Atlantic Divisions

The Seattle Sluggers, led by Hikaru Nakamura, finished in 2nd place and will advance to the 2018 PRO Chess regular season

Teams that have qualified:

1st: Chengdu Pandas

2nd: Seattle Sluggers

3rd: Australia Kangaroos

Teams that have the chance to qualify by vote:

4th: New York Knights

5th: Minnesota Blizzard

6th: San Francisco Mechanics

How do you decide who to vote for? Here are a few factors worth considering:

  • Team Score
  • Individual Performances
  • Fan Engagement
Top Team Score:

New York Knights

The Knights finished just a half point outside of the top three with 34 total points—1.5 points ahead of the Blizzard and 3 points ahead of the Mechanics.


Best Individual Performance:

San Francisco Mechanics

The Mechanics Board 1, GM Daniel Naroditsky, started by winning his first five games in row, making him the early tournament leader. He finished in clear 3rd with 11.5 points, just a half point out of a tie for 1st with World #10 Hikaru Nakamura and World #16 Yu Yangyi.

Best Fan Engagement:

The Minnesota Blizzard

IM John Batholomew created a YouTube video about the team. In the video, he discusses the Blizzard’s performance during the qualifier and even shares a nice tactic from one of his games in the event:


In addition, the Minnesota Blizzard has had the most active Twitter account.



San Francisco Mechanics

The San Francisco Mechanics have also made efforts to interact with fans, including blogs and tweets rallying fans to vote:



How will you decide?

Twitter Poll: Poll:


Central & Eastern Divisions

The Mumbai Movers, led by Vidit Gujrathi who won clear 1st individually, finished 3rd and will advance to the 2018 season

Teams that have qualified:

1st: Armenia Eagles

2nd: Estonia Horses

3rd: Mumbai Movers

Teams that have the chance to qualify by vote:

4th: Oslo Trolls

5th: Apeldoorn Apes

6th: Rehovot Masters

Voting Considerations:

VoTop Team Score:
Oslo Trolls and Apeldoorn Apes

The scores were particularly close in the Central/Eastern qualifier. The Trolls and Apes tied for 4th with 32 points. Trailing by just a half point, the Rehovot Masters finished with 31.5.


Best Individual Performance:
Oslo Trolls

FM Sebastian Mihajlov of the Trolls scored 10 points, tying for 5th.


Best Fan Engagement:

All three of the teams in consideration, the Trolls, Apes, and Masters, have been utilizing Twitter.


Twitter Poll: Poll:



For more information, visit:


About the Author

Vanessa West is a regular writer and digital assistant for US Chess News. She won the 2017 Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow her on Twitter: @Vanessa__West



  1. Shouldn’t that be, “For whom are you voting?”

    How can Chess be an “education tool” for children if you use improper English?

  2. Hey everyone! Please vote for the Minnesota Blizzard, especially if you are a fan of Andrew Tang’s twitch channel, or John Bartholomew’s YouTube channel. As John mentioned in the video, we will be competitive as we have many strong players that will be on our team!

  3. If you are referring to the title of the article, then “For whom are you voting?” is worse since the pronoun, ‘whom’, has no antecedent. You presumably think that “What team are you voting for?” is bad English because it ends in a preposition, but that is not a strict rule; see, for instance, and .

    • What difference does it make, and as I said, in your initial suggestion, we have no idea what ‘whom’ refers to. My virtually duplicate submission can be deleted.

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