Russia won the World Team Championship with a round to spare after beating Sweden and seeing its main rival England lose to China. In the women’s section, China has already secured gold as well with eight straight victories.
The open tournament was such a close affair most of the time, but then suddenly it was decided in the eighth round. First, Russia got a pleasant pairing vs Sweden, and didn’t falter. On the contrary, this match was never in doubt.
|1/1||GM||Grandelius, Nils (w)||2694||–||GM||Karjakin, Sergey (b)||2753||½ – ½|
|1/2||GM||Tikkanen, Hans (b)||2510||–||GM||Grischuk, Alexander (w)||2771||0 – 1|
|1/3||GM||Blomqvist, Erik (w)||2488||–||GM||Andreikin, Dmitry (b)||2725||0 – 1|
|1/4||GM||Smith, Axel (b)||2487||–||GM||Artemiev, Vladislav (w)||2736||0 – 1|
Especially on board two, the difference of strength was visible. Against Hans Tikkanen, Alexander Grischuk showed that you can’t just grab a pawn and then trade queens and be safe like that in the Winawer.
The Swedish team, about to face the mighty Russians. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Meanwhile, England lost the chance to pull off something truly magical (the gold medal) after being unbeaten for seven rounds. Today China, so far struggling in the competition, was too strong.
|Bo.||Fed||4||China||Rtg||–||Fed||5||England||Rtg||3 : 1|
|5/1||GM||Ding, Liren (w)||2812||–||GM||Adams, Michael (b)||2708||1 – 0|
|5/2||GM||Yu, Yangyi (b)||2761||–||GM||Mcshane, Luke J (w)||2661||½ – ½|
|5/3||GM||Wei, Yi (w)||2733||–||GM||Howell, David W L (b)||2693||1 – 0|
|5/4||GM||Bu, Xiangzhi (b)||2731||–||GM||Jones, Gawain C B (w)||2681||½ – ½|
Michael Adams had a big decision to make just before the time control. It was probably better to stay active and keep the exchange, but it was also understandable that he liquidated to an endgame with equal material.
It’s hard to say where Black made the decisive mistake, but it’s a fact that Ding Liren made the most out of the advantage of bishop-vs-knight here!
Ding Liren won a long battle vs Michael Adams. | Photo: FIDE.
It went wrong on one more board for the Englishmen. David Howell was doing OK vs Wei Yi from an offbeat opening—a double fianchetto. However, in time trouble he lost the (tactical) thread in what turned out to be a big moment for the championship.
Wei Yi outwitted David Howell tactically. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
China is now playing for medals again, with Kazakhstan on the program for the final round. England and India are currently tied for second place with one more match-point, with England facing Sweden and India having the toughest pairing of them all: Russia.
Today the Indians missed a chance to get into sole second place as they dropped a match point vs USA. A loss for India was more likely than a win, but Baskaran Adhiban held a difficult endgame vs Dariusz Swiercz.
|Bo.||Fed||1||India||Rtg||–||Fed||8||United States of America||Rtg||2 : 2|
|2/1||GM||Adhiban, B. (w)||2683||–||GM||Swiercz, Dariusz (b)||2655||½ – ½|
|2/2||GM||Sasikiran, Krishnan (b)||2678||–||GM||Sevian, Samuel (w)||2642||0 – 1|
|2/3||GM||Ganguly, Surya Shekhar (w)||2633||–||GM||Onischuk, Alexander (b)||2647||1 – 0|
|2/4||GM||Sethuraman, S.P. (b)||2637||–||GM||Lenderman, Aleksandr (w)||2637||½ – ½|
The start of India vs USA with Adhiban-Swiercz on board one. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Whereas Surya Ganguly slowly outplayed Alexander Onischuk, Sam Sevian scored for America after a very interesting but perhaps not a 100-percent-correct pawn sac from Krishnan Sasikiran.
India vs USA underway, with Ganguly vs Onischuk (middle) on board three. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Iran and Azerbaijan also ended in 2-2, but there was one more result that definitely needs to be mentioned. Egypt scored its first win in the tournament, beating Kazakhstan 2.5-1.5.
|4/1||GM||Amin, Bassem (w)||2709||–||GM||Jumabayev, Rinat (b)||2609||1 – 0|
|4/2||GM||Adly, Ahmed (b)||2611||–||GM||Ismagambetov, Anuar (w)||2545||½ – ½|
|4/3||IM||Fawzy, Adham (w)||2461||–||GM||Kazhgaleyev, Murtas (b)||2587||1 – 0|
|4/4||GM||Hesham, Abdelrahman (b)||2450||–||IM||Makhnev, Denis (w)||2476||0 – 1|
Rinat Jumabayev had played an amazing tournament, scoring an undefeated 4.5/7 so far. However, he met his Waterloo in Bassem Amin, who was once again successful with his pet opening, the King’s Indian Attack.
Two dubious moves in a row in the opening forced Jumabayev to give up an exchange, but he almost came back (and was briefly OK in time trouble). Almost.
Amin vs Jumabayev. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
And then there was the upset victory for IM Adham Fawzy vs GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev. The latter might have thought he played the winning move, but that turned out to be the losing move!
World Teams (Open) | Round 8 standings
Pairings for the final round (Thursday, starting three hours earlier): England-Sweden, Kazakhstan-China, Azerbaijan-Egypt, USA-Iran, Russia-India.
In the women’s tournament, things are also decided as far as the gold medals are concerned. Even without Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun, the Chinese women’s team has been in a class of its own in Astana. It won all eight matches and is going into the final day three points ahead of Russia.
|Bo.||Fed||4||China||Rtg||–||Fed||5||United States of America||Rtg||3 : 1|
|5/1||GM||Tan, Zhongyi (w)||2513||–||WGM||Abrahamyan, Tatev (b)||2377||1 – 0|
|5/2||WGM||Huang, Qian (b)||2441||–||FM||Yip, Carissa (w)||2279||½ – ½|
|5/3||GM||Lei, Tingjie (w)||2477||–||WGM||Foisor, Sabina-Francesca (b)||2276||1 – 0|
|5/4||WGM||Ding, Yixin (b)||2432||–||WCM||Wu, Rochelle (w)||2120||½ – ½|
Tan Zhongyi scored a quick victory against Tatev Abrahamyan, who faced what seems to be a pretty strong novelty on move 16.
Tan Zhongyi (right) and her teammates started the day in a good mood, and why wouldn’t they? | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Lei Tingjie won yet again, as well. Since she turned 22 today it means double celebrations for the team’s most valuable player!
These Chinese ladies are monsters when it comes to the calculation of variations in sharp positions.
A win for Lei Tingjie on her 22nd birthday. It’s her fifth win of the tournament, besides two draws. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
The other results were Egypt-Kazakhstan ½-3½, Armenia-Georgia 2-2, Russia-Hungary 4-0 and India-Ukraine 1½-2½. The fight for silver will go between Ukraine, Russia and Georgia, with the former facing China (!) and the latter two playing each other. Even though we know who wins gold, this can still be a pretty exciting final day.
World Teams (Women) | Round 8 standings
Pairings for the final round (Thursday, starting three hours earlier): USA-Egypt, Ukraine-China, Hungary-India, Georgia-Russia, Kazakhstan-Armenia.
A press conference after China’s victory with Ding Yixin, Lei Tingjie and team captain Yu Shaoteng. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.