Russia holds a slim lead going into the final two rounds of the World Team Championship in Astana, but England is just a match-point behind. China is close to securing gold in the women’s section, with a three-point lead over Russia.
In this report we’re looking at rounds six and seven. On Monday, the Russians dropped their second match-point with a 2-2 result against Azerbaijan. Whereas Ian Nepomniachtchi strongly countered Rauf Mamedov, Sergey Karjakin lost his second game in a row. Arkadij Naiditsch played very well in this game.
|Bo.||Fed||9||Russia||Rtg||–||Fed||7||Azerbaijan||Rtg||2 : 2|
|2/1||GM||Karjakin, Sergey (w)||2753||–||GM||Naiditsch, Arkadij (b)||2710||0 – 1|
|2/2||GM||Nepomniachtchi, Ian (b)||2771||–||GM||Mamedov, Rauf (w)||2701||1 – 0|
|2/3||GM||Grischuk, Alexander (w)||2771||–||GM||Safarli, Eltaj (b)||2662||½ – ½|
|2/4||GM||Artemiev, Vladislav (b)||2736||–||GM||Abasov, Nijat (w)||2627||½ – ½|
Karjakin resigns his game with Naiditsch and loses two in a row. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
The Russians kept their narrow lead the next day, thanks to an also narrow victory over team USA. It was the 2019 Gibraltar winner, Vladislav Artemiev, who decided the match here.
|Bo.||Fed||8||United States of America||Rtg||–||Fed||9||Russia||Rtg||1½:2½|
|5/1||GM||Swiercz, Dariusz (w)||2655||–||GM||Nepomniachtchi, Ian (b)||2771||½ – ½|
|5/2||GM||Sevian, Samuel (b)||2642||–||GM||Grischuk, Alexander (w)||2771||½ – ½|
|5/3||GM||Lenderman, Aleksandr (w)||2637||–||GM||Andreikin, Dmitry (b)||2725||½ – ½|
|5/4||GM||Izoria, Zviad (b)||2603||–||GM||Artemiev, Vladislav (w)||2736||0 – 1|
Artemiev took down Izoria with a pretty “magnet” combination. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
England keeps on doing well. The team got back to just one point behind the leaders thanks to an excellent 3-1 win against Iran.
|Bo.||Fed||2||Iran||Rtg||–||Fed||5||England||Rtg||1 : 3|
|4/1||GM||Maghsoodloo, Parham (w)||2673||–||GM||Adams, Michael (b)||2708||0 – 1|
|4/2||GM||Idani, Pouya (b)||2604||–||GM||Mcshane, Luke J (w)||2661||0 – 1|
|4/3||GM||Tabatabaei, M.Amin (w)||2600||–||GM||Howell, David W L (b)||2693||0 – 1|
|4/4||GM||Firouzja, Alireza (b)||2657||–||GM||Speelman, Jon S (w)||2516||1 – 0|
That was despite some minor troubles in the health department. Because Gawain Jones wasn’t feeling well, a 62-year-old former world championship candidate stepped in! In a quick but spectacular loss, we got to see a “steel king” for Jon Speelman‘s opponent.
Firouzja, in a good mood before what would be a quick win vs Speelman. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
All others won for England, and that also meant the first win for Michael Adams. Parham Maghsoodloo blundered on the last move before the time control:
England scored 3-0 on the other boards. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
With yet another win the next day, this time the expected victory vs Egypt, England is now in sole second place with two rounds to go and is in an excellent position to win a medal.
|2/1||GM||Adams, Michael (w)||2708||–||GM||Amin, Bassem (b)||2709||0 – 1|
|2/2||GM||Mcshane, Luke J (b)||2661||–||GM||Adly, Ahmed (w)||2611||½ – ½|
|2/3||GM||Howell, David W L (w)||2693||–||IM||Fawzy, Adham (b)||2461||1 – 0|
|2/4||GM||Jones, Gawain C B (b)||2681||–||GM||Hesham, Abdelrahman (w)||2450||1 – 0|
David Howell won a fun game:
Malcolm Pein was interviewed about England’s chances.
On Monday, India joined England in second place with a 3.5-0.5 win against Kazakhstan, but after a 2-2 vs Azerbaijan today it’s in third place now.
China is doing surprisingly badly. Who would have guessed that tail-ender Egypt would be scoring its first match point against the Olympic champions? This happened in round six:
|Bo.||Fed||3||Egypt||Rtg||–||Fed||4||China||Rtg||2 : 2|
|5/1||GM||Amin, Bassem (w)||2709||–||GM||Ding, Liren (b)||2812||½ – ½|
|5/2||GM||Adly, Ahmed (b)||2611||–||GM||Wei, Yi (w)||2733||1 – 0|
|5/3||IM||Fawzy, Adham (w)||2461||–||GM||Bu, Xiangzhi (b)||2731||½ – ½|
|5/4||IM||Abdelnabbi, Imed (b)||2435||–||GM||Ni, Hua (w)||2683||0 – 1|
The upset win here was Ahmed Adly beating Wei Yi with the black pieces. This was especially surprising since Wei was completely winning right out of the opening!
World Teams (Open) | Round 7 standings
Pairings for round eight (Wednesday): Sweden-Russia, India-USA, Iran-Azerbaijan, Egypt-Kazakhstan, China-England:
Pairings for the final round (Thursday, starting three hours earlier): England-Sweden, Kazakhstan-China, Azerbaijan-Egypt, USA-Iran, Russia-India.
While their male colleagues are doing poorly, the Chinese ladies are on fire. It’s all wins so far, and with two rounds to go the gap with Russia is three points.
Today’s 4-0 win against Egypt wasn’t a surprise. On Monday, India put up an excellent fight though, with draws on three boards. Once again it was Lei Tingjie who secured the two match points for China.
|5/1||IM||Karavade, Eesha (w)||2357||–||GM||Tan, Zhongyi (b)||2513||½ – ½|
|5/2||WGM||Soumya, Swaminathan (b)||2401||–||IM||Shen, Yang (w)||2453||½ – ½|
|5/3||IM||Padmini, Rout (w)||2332||–||WGM||Huang, Qian (b)||2441||½ – ½|
|5/4||WGM||Kulkarni, Bhakti (b)||2322||–||GM||Lei, Tingjie (w)||2477||0 – 1|
Lei Tingjie (left) scored two draws and four wins so far for China. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Whereas Russia kept the pace with China on Monday (a 2.5-1.5 win vs USA), it dropped a match point and basically lost the chance for gold today. It was a tie with Ukraine, where besides two draws it was mixed success for the Muzychuk sisters.
|Bo.||Fed||6||Ukraine||Rtg||–||Fed||2||Russia||Rtg||2 : 2|
|3/1||GM||Muzychuk, Mariya (w)||2560||–||GM||Lagno, Kateryna (b)||2559||1 – 0|
|3/2||GM||Muzychuk, Anna (b)||2555||–||GM||Kosteniuk, Alexandra (w)||2545||0 – 1|
|3/3||GM||Ushenina, Anna (w)||2443||–||GM||Goryachkina, Aleksandra (b)||2504||½ – ½|
|3/4||IM||Gaponenko, Inna (b)||2427||–||WGM||Girya, Olga (w)||2456||½ – ½|
Alexandra Kosteniuk had opened the score with a win against Anna Muzychuk, who must have underestimated White’s attack on the kingside. And indeed, it was winning for White surprisingly quickly.
Anna Muzychuk vs Kosteniuk. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
On board one, Mariya Muzychuk made up for her sister’s loss against Kateryna Lagno, who blundered only a few moves after the players had left a game Karjakin-Anand from 2017.
Mariya Muzychuk vs Lagno. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
World Teams (Women) | Round 7 standings
Pairings for round eight (Wednesday): Egypt-Kazakhstan, Armenia-Georgia, Russia-Hungary, India-Ukraine, China-USA.
Pairings for the final round (Thursday, starting three hours earlier): USA-Egypt, Ukraine-China, Hungary-India, Georgia-Russia, Kazakhstan-Armenia.