Russia 1 3½-½ Ireland
Iraq 0-4 Ukraine
China 3½-½ Kyrgyzstan
IBCA 0-4 Russia 2
Hungary 4-0 Jordan
Pregame Analysis: In the days of old it was not uncommon to have matches that were so lopsided, that the exercise seemed pointless. What is also interesting in the first round is noticing how top players play the amateurs. They may have grown accustomed to play at such a high level that they may be comfortable with unknown players who have analyzed their games and have special preparation. The first round usually carries an upset or two.
Round #1 Analysis: Very interesting round of chess… no strong teams were in major danger of losing, but a few gave up board points. While Norway was gripped in a battle with Jamaica, Magnus Carlsen posted a message to Twitter, “the Jamaicans are putting up a a great fight, match outcome is still unclear.” Surely on the top board FM Warren Elliott had given Jon Ludvig Hammar all he could handle from his Dutch Defense. After incendiary fireworks on the board, the game petered out to a rook and pawn ending, seeming heading for a draw. Had Elliott held the draw, it would have been the only upset of the round, but the match ended 2½-1½. (See Hammar-Elliott) The teams trade wins on boards #2 and #4.
While the Netherlands won their match handily, they got a rude shock on the top board as GM Jan Smeets (2669) was brutally crushed by IM Lisandro Muñoz of the Dominican Republic. The game was a textbook example of how to play the Sicilian Taimanov as black. With black’s “Godzilla” knight on e5 white’s position was overextended and collapsed in a fiery heap. While Muñoz won a nice game, the Dutch coasted to a 3-1 victory. (See Smeets-Muñoz)
It was reported that 39 games ended 4-0 and 19 ended 3½-½. While all the stronger teams won their battles, a couple of additional upsets took place. Suriname’s Dewperkash Gajadin (2179) beat GM Tiger Hillarp-Persson (2517) of Sweden. An even bigger upset saw GM Emre Can (2500) of Turkey losing to the overachieving Jason Lin Chieh-Sheng (1736) of Taiwan.
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Bangladesh ½-3½ Russia 1
China 4-0 Brazil
Bolivia ½-3½ Ukraine
Georgia 4-0 Macedonia
Singapore ½-3½ Russia 2
Pregame Analysis: One thing that is attractive about the women’s section is the beautiful national outfits they are known to wear. This is such a refreshing change from the look of the men who normally dress very casually. Of course the beautiful team colors are on full display. However, the women are coming to win and this will be a contested tournaments.
There is not much expectation of upsets here since the field is not as deep as the men’s. Some of the lower-rated teams may have one strong player and the rest beginners or basically school girls, but there were certainly be some clashes on the top boards. Russia has placed Kosteniuk on board #3. That will be a pleasant surprise for an opponent on a lower board to have a chance to play a World Champion! Of course Kosteniuk will try to make the games unpleasant.
Round #1 Analysis: In the women’s section, 40/57 games went 4-nil and 9/57 more were 3½-½. So there was blood on the boards and the stronger teams took no chances as we have seen in the open section.
Only two drawn matches… Turkmenistan and Mongolia signed a match treaty sharing two wins apiece. In perhaps the biggest “upset”, Zambia (all unrated players) held Portugal by scoring two wins.
Epah Tembo caught WIM Catarina Leite (2183) with an impressive tactical sequence and scored the point. (See Tembo-Leite) Zambia’s Constance Chileshe Mbatha won nicely when WFM Pintor Ariana (2110) gobbled too many pawns and fell prey to a sweeping attack on the centralized king. The finish was quite impressive! (See Mbatha-Pintor) Portugal won comfortably on boards #2 and #4. Very good result for Zambia!
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African Diaspora Spotlight
Haiti’s proud flag bearer is Jean Lamothe,
President of Haitian Chess Federation!