2011 World Team Championship (Ningbo, China)

The bienniel World Team Championships will commence with round one on Sunday, July 17th. The ten teams are comprised of host China, Russia (defending champion), Ukraine, Israel Hungary (2010 Olympiad finishers), Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, USA (the continental champions) and Armenia (nomination from FIDE President). The field will prove to be very challenging and represent some of the strongest federations in the world.

Some of the strongest players will be present such as Levon Aronian (Armenia), Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) and Gata Kamsky (USA). Some of the venerable names missing are Viswanathan Anand (India), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine) and Boris Gelfand (Israel). Kramnik, Nakamura and Ponomariov are at the 39th Dortmund Chess-Meeting.

This will be an interesting tournament as young talent will also be showcased. Host China will carry a very young and talented team with 17-year old Yu Yangyi (2672) and Chinese champion 18-year old Ding Liren (2654) anchoring the host nation. The Americans will trot out Robert Hess (2609), who was on the 2009 silver medal team, Egyptian duo of Ahmed Adly (2613) and Bassem Amin (2609) and Robert Hovhannisyan (2556) of Armenia who will be making his debut in the World Team event.

Live Games: https://live.chinaqiyuan.com/chess2.html

Photos by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

50 Comments

  1. Sounds like an interesting tournament, Daaim. I’ll be following the coverage on the drum. Looking forward to reading your commentary.

    1. Thanks Glenn. Here is the coverage I did for the event two years ago. I was pleased with the coverage and it was an exciting tournament.

      https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2010/01/03/2009-world-team-championship/

      John Henderson has asked me who I believe will win. It’s really hard to say. Azerbaijan, Russia, China and the Ukraine will be the frontrunners in my view. Here are the lineups:

      1. China (host): Wang Yue 2709, Wang Hao 2719, Li Chao 2669, Yu Yangui 2672, Ding Liren 2654
      2. Russia (reigning champion): Grischuk 2746, Nepomniatchi 2711, Karjakin 2788, Svidler 2739, Vitiugov 2733
      3. Ukraine (Olympiad 2010): Ivanchuk 2768, Eljanov 2697, Efimenko 2706, Areschenko 2682, Moiseenko 2715
      4. Israel (Olympiad 2010): Sutovsky 2700, Roiz 2669, Smirin 2676, Postny 2618, Nabaty 2584
      5. Hungary (Olympiad 2010): Leko 2717, Almasi 2726, Polgar 2699, Balogh 2643, Erdos 2613
      6. Azerbaijan (Europe qualifier): Mamemdyarov 2765, Radjabov 2744, Gashimov 2760, Mamedov 2679, Guseinov 2625
      7. India (Asia qualifier): Sasikiran 2681, Harikrishna 2669, Negi 2642, Ganguly 2627, Gopal 2576
      8. USA (America qualifier): Kamsky 2741, Onischuk 2675, Shulman 2617, Seirawan 2635, Hess 2609
      9. Egypt (Africa qualifier): Adly 2613, Amin 2609, El Gindy 2510, Shoker 2475, Ezat 2430
      10. Armenia (FIDE President’s nomination): Aronian 2805, Movsesian 2700, Akopian 2667, Sargissian 2663, Hovhannisyan 2556

      1. I agree that it is difficult to call the winner from such a field . My personal opinion is keep an eye on Russia and Ukraine . The player I am following very keenly is Karjakin ; I really hope he can build on his recent performances . Promises to be wonderful though . I need to remember to watch Dortmund as well , so many wonderful tournaments taking place internationally at the moment .

  2. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #1
    USA 1-3 Russia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Kamsky
    2741 ½-½ Karjakin
    2788
    1.2 Onischuk
    2675 0-1 Nepomniachtchi
    2711
    1.3 Shulman
    2617 ½-½ Svidler
    2739
    1.4 Hess
    2609 0-1 Vitiugov
    2733
    Armenia 3½-½ Israel
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Aronian
    2805 1-0 Sutovsky
    2700
    2.2 Movsesian
    2700 ½-½ Roiz
    2669
    2.3 Akopian
    2667 1-0 Postny
    2618
    2.4 Sargissian
    2663 1-0 Nabaty
    2584
    Egypt 1½-2½ Ukraine
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Adly
    2631 0-1 Ivanchuk
    2768
    3.2 Amin
    2609 ½-½ Efimenko
    2706
    3.3 El-Gindy
    2510 0-1 Moiseenko
    2715
    3.4 Shoker
    2475 1-0 Areshchenko
    2682
    China 2-2 Azerbaijan
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Wang Hao
    2718 ½-½ Radjabov
    2744
    4.2 Wang Yue
    2709 1-0 Gashimov
    2760
    4.3 Li Chao
    2669 ½-½ Mamedov
    2679
    4.4 Yu Yangyi
    2672 0-1 Mamedyarov
    2765
    India 2-2 Hungary
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Harikrishna
    2669 ½-½ Leko
    2717
    5.2 Sasikiran
    2681 1-0 Almasi
    2726
    5.3 Ganguly
    2627 0-1 Polgar
    2699
    5.4 Gopal
    2576 ½-½ Balogh
    2643
    Games
  3. Round #1
    Sunday, 17 July 2011

    USA 1-3 Russia
    Armenia 3½-½ Israel
    Egypt 1½-2½ Ukraine
    China 2-2 Azerbaijan
    India 2-2 Hungary

    Bloodbath in the opening round!

    The World Team Championship got off to a rousing start with 11/20 decisive games. This is a pleasant surprise given the snooze-fest of the Candidate’s Matches where 27/30 were drawn. One of the biggest upsets was Egypt’s IM Samy Shoker, not simply beating, but beating the Ukraine’s Alexander Areshchenko in a 28-move Pirc. The game was a continuing lesson that is now becoming a common refrain… beware of African players with low ELO ratings. They can beat you!

    IM Samy Shoker certainly shocked
    GM Alexander Areshchenko in round one.

    In an anticipated USA-Russia match, it turned out to be anti-climatic when Russia rolled over the Americans with two wins. Hess was losing material in the final position and Onischuk was outplayed by Nepomniachtchi. The USA is missing top player Hikaru Nakamura who will be competing in Dortmund along with Russian absentee, Vladimir Kramnik.

    Armenia dismantled Olympiad bronze-medalist Israel as Armenia’s powerful team got off to a good start with three wins. In an absolute wild affair, Sutovsky sacrificed his queen in the Grunfeld and Aronian’s white king marched all the way to f4 with black’s minor pieces assailing. When it appeared that black had some compensation, white was able to give back material and drew black’s king out in the open. Black resigned as white was poised to win more material.

    In Egypt-Ukraine, Adly went into a tactical melee with Ivanchuk and soon was faced with a losing proposition of a single rook battling three minor pieces. Entertaining battle, but simply a class win by Ivanchuk. In Efimenko-Amin, it appeared that the Egyptian has good winning chances toward the end, but the game ended when white’s rook was able gain a fortress against black’s knight and two pawns. Perhaps the talk of the round was Samy Shoker’s demolition of Alexander Areschenko in 28 moves (final position above). White seemed to have a good position (missed 23.Qg7!+-), but played too mechanically and allowed black to seize initiative on queenside. Big win for the Egyptian IM, but the Ukranians prevailed (See Game).

    Vugar Gashimov vs. Wang Yue (0-1)

    Host China-Azerbaijan played a very interesting match trading a pair of technical wins by Wang Yue and Mamedyarov. With Mamedyarov playing board four it provide a world-class player who can most suredly compile a big score against less opposition. Time will tell if that strategy proves correct.

    India- Hungary was accented by missteps. In Almasi-Sasikiran, it appeared as if white had a strong attack (better was 54.g4!), but was rebuffed and black ended up with more than enough compensation. Ganguly went down suddenly after a long series of parrying moves as a resurgent Judit Polgar was able to break through.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    Photos by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

  4. Standings after Round #1

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Armenia
    1
    0
    0
    2
    3.5
    0
    2 Russia
    1
    0
    0
    2
    3.0
    0
    3 Ukraine
    1
    0
    0
    2
    2.5
    0
    4 China
    0
    1
    0
    1
    2.0
    1
    5 India
    0
    1
    0
    1
    2.0
    1
    6 Hungary
    0
    1
    0
    1
    2.0
    1
    7 Azerbaijan
    0
    1
    0
    1
    2.0
    1
    8 Egypt
    0
    0
    1
    0
    1.5
    0
    9 USA
    0
    0
    1
    0
    1.0
    0
    10 Israel
    0
    0
    1
    0
    0.5
    0

  5. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #2
    Russia 3-1 Hungary
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Karjakin
    2788 ½-½ Leko
    2717
    1.2 Grischuk
    2746 1-0 Almasi
    2726
    1.3 Nepomniachtchi
    2711 1-0 Polgar
    2699
    1.4 Vitiugov
    2733 ½-½ Balogh
    2643
    Azerbaijan 3-1 India
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Radjabov
    2744 1-0 Harikrishna
    2669
    2.2 Gashimov
    2760 ½-½ Sasikiran
    2681
    2.3 Mamedyarov
    2765 1-0 Ganguly
    2627
    2.4 Guseinov
    2625 ½-½ Parimarjan
    2642
    Ukraine 1½-2½ China
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Ivanchuk
    2768 ½-½ Wang Hao
    2718
    3.2 Eljanov
    2697 ½-½ Wang Yue
    2709
    3.3 Efimenko
    2706 ½-½ Li Chao
    2669
    3.4 Areshchenko
    2682 0-1 Ding Liren
    2654
    Israel 3-1 Egypt
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Sutovsky
    2700 1-0 Adly
    2631
    4.2 Smirin
    2676 ½-½ Amin
    2609
    4.3 Postny
    2618 ½-½ Shoker
    2475
    4.4 Nabaty
    2584 1-0 Ezat
    2430
    USA 2-2 Armenia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Kamsky
    2741 1-0 Aronian
    2805
    5.2 Onischuk
    2675 0-1 Movsesian
    2700
    5.3 Shulman
    2617 ½-½ Akopian
    2667
    5.4 Seirawan
    2635 ½-½ Sargissian
    2663
    Games
  6. Round #2
    Monday, 18 July 2011

    Russia 3-1 Hungary
    Azerbaijan 3-1 India
    Ukraine 1½-2½ China
    Israel 3-1 Egypt
    USA 2-2 Armenia

    Russia stay on point with convincing win over Hungary

    Nepomniachtchi initiated a blistering attack with 31.Bxa6! Polgar had to donate her queen but further losses were inevitable to avert mate.

    The second round of the World Team Championship had a bit of shuffling in the standings. Russia took sole possession of the lead with their second convincing win over Hungary. Ian Nepomaniachtchi lead the Russians with his second win. This game was accented by a vicious sacrificial attack on Judit Polgar’s queenside-castled king (see diagram).

    Whilst battling time pressure, Polgar had to find exact moves to avoid being mated. As Nepo’s pieces flowed into black’s camp sacrificed her queen, but her king was exposed to a battering by a knight and queen combo. See would have lost more material after 41.Qb5+ Ka7 42.Nc5. In the other decisive game, Grischuk dismantled Almasi for the margin of victory.

    In one of the clearest signs that Azerbaijan clearly “outprepared” India, two miniature wins shocked Pentala Harikrishna and Surya Ganguly from their seats. Harikrishna was literally pushed off the board by Radjabov’s vicious kingside attack beginning with the sack 32.Bxh6! While Harikrishna could not accept the piece, Radjabov sacrificed the same piece again with 33.Bxg7! With the entire kingside obliterated, black’s position collapsed and the king ended up on the bad end of a mating fury.

    Ganguly also fell on the sword when a well-prepared Mamedyarov got the initiative and proceeded to conjure up a winning attack without the queens on the board. With the Indians behind, Parimarjan Negi had to spurn a three-move repetition only to have to fight for a draw later. This demolition was perhaps unexpected for India who usually puts up a more valiant fight.

    Wang Hao vs. Vassily Ivanchuk (1/2-1/2)

    Ding Liren, the hero in the match against the Ukraine.

    Speaking of vicious attacks, Ding Liren, a rising star in China (and current national champion), unfurled a beautiful attack on a hapless the Ukraine’s Alexander Areshchenko who was mated by IM Samy Shoker in round one. Perhaps the Ukrainian had not completely recovered from his missed win yesterday and appeared sluggish against Ding.

    Coming out of a rather irregular King’s Indian, black fell far from equalizing as Ding was poised for a kingside attack. The attack started with 14.Ng4! and when black tried to simplify, Ding turned up the momentum with 17.Rf5! With black clearly reeling and pieces misplaced, sacrificing with 22…Rxe4 would not have helped. White finished off the attack with the coup de grâce 28.Nxh7!

    Israel-Egypt saw perhaps one of the most disheartening losses of the round Egyptian Ahmed Adly appeared to be have a slight edge against Emil Sutovsky when the tables turned. It appears that 37…a5? (instead of 37…Rc8 38.Rff6 Re8 blocakade) allows white to get the central pawns rolling. Adly had to donate a whole rook for a pawn and resigned some move later.

    Evgeny Postny was en guard against Samy Shoker. No upset today, but what a fierce battle it was!! (1/2-1/2)

    IM Samy Shoker had another good game in a fierce battle as black against Evgeny Postny. This game saw white sacrifice a pawn for a kingside attack, but black directed the attention to the queenside as he sacrificed a piece with 21…cxd5 22. bxa5 d4 23.Bg5 b5 to open lines against an exposed king. White had a solid plus, but lost his thread after 40.Nb3? allowing 40…Rxa2 with annoying threats for black. White must’ve have realize the danger, but panicked and allowed black an advantage after 49.Rd3? Rxd3 50.Kxd3. Black then blundered back with 50…Kh4? (50…Ra3+! 51.Kd2 g3!-+) when a draw was agreed on the 52nd move of the tense battle.

    Levon Aronian had trouble against Gata Kamsky in this heavyweight battle. However, the Armenians equalized.

    Yasser Seirawan back at the tables for the USA.

    USA-Armenia played to a draw with the heavyweight bout on board one going to Gata Kamsky against his 2800-rated opponent. The fierce battle went to a queen ending where Kamsky collected a couple of pawns and also the full point. Alex Onischuk was positionally crushed by Sergei Movesesian as the final phase of the game saw it hard to find any moves for black. Yasser Seirawan made a successful debut after retirement by holding off “Mr. Olympus” Gabriel Sargissian.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    Photos by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

  7. Standings after Round #2

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Russia
    2
    0
    0
    4
    6.0
    0
    2 Armenia
    1
    1
    0
    3
    5.5
    0
    3 Azerbaijan
    1
    1
    0
    3
    4.5
    0
    4 China
    1
    1
    0
    3
    4.5
    0
    5 Ukraine
    1
    0
    1
    2
    3.5
    0
    6 Israel
    1
    0
    1
    0
    3.5
    0
    7 India
    0
    1
    1
    1
    3.0
    1
    8 Hungary
    0
    1
    1
    1
    3.0
    1
    9 USA
    0
    0
    1
    1
    3.0
    0
    10 Egypt
    0
    0
    2
    0
    2.5
    0

  8. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #3
    Armenia 2-2 Russia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Aronian
    2805 1-0 Karjakin
    2788
    1.2 Movsesian
    2700 ½-½ Grischuk
    2746
    1.3 Akopian
    2667 ½-½ Nepomniachtchi
    2711
    1.4 Sargissian
    2663 0-1 Svidler
    2739
    Egypt ½-3½ USA
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Adly
    2631 ½-½ Kamsky
    2741
    2.2 Amin
    2609 0-1 Onischuk
    2675
    2.3 El-Gindy
    2510 0-1 Seirawan
    2635
    2.4 Shoker
    2475 0-1 Hess
    2609
    China 1½-2½ Israel
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Wang Hao
    2718 ½-½ Sutovsky
    2700
    3.2 Wang Yue
    2709 ½-½ Roiz
    2669
    3.3 Yu Yangyi
    2672 ½-½ Smirin
    2676
    3.4 Ding Liren
    2654 0-1 Nabaty
    2584
    India 1½-2½ Ukraine
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Harikrishna
    2669 ½-½ Ivanchuk
    2768
    4.2 Sasikiran
    2681 ½-½ Eljanov
    2697
    4.3 Parimarjan
    2642 ½-½ Efimenko
    2706
    4.4 Gopal
    2576 0-1 Moiseenko
    2715
    Hungary 2½-1½ Azerbaijan
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Leko
    2717 ½-½ Radjabov
    2744
    5.2 Almasi
    2726 ½-½ Gashimov
    2760
    5.3 Polgar
    2699 1-0 Mamedov
    2679
    5.4 Balogh
    2643 ½-½ Mamedyarov
    2765
    Games
  9. Round #3
    Tuesday, 19 July 2011

    Armenia 2-2 Russia
    Egypt ½-3½ USA
    China 1½-2½ Israel
    India 1½-2½ Ukraine
    Hungary 2½-1½ Azerbaijan

    Russia stays atop field, USA bounces Egypt

    Big battle on top board! Aronian came through in the end to save the match for Armenia. Photo from https://ningbo2011.fide.com/.

    Russia had a big test against the powerful Armenian side and trotted out their best lineup. Top board featured the world’s third and fourth ranked players in an epic contest that would go 74 moves. The game started as a theoretical Slav with complications mounting almost immediately.

    Karjakin essayed a pawn sacrifice for active piece play, but after his 19…Rad8, Aronian was able to quickly consolidate his position. After a jousting battle with the heavy pieces, the Armenian decided to give a pawn back in order to advance his passed pawn. Armenia was down due to Gabriel Sargissian’s loss to Peter Svidler, so Aronian was ready to go 100 moves. It was not needed. A complicated queen ending ensued (after 40…Qxf6) and with 30 moves of tenacious probing by Aronian, he ended the game deftly with in a nice zugzwang maneuver. Karjakin had to relinquish a second pawn and Aronian went on to win a textbook pawn ending.

    The USA took their frustrations out on the Egyptians with a 3½-½ drubbing. Eighteen-year old Robert Hess scored his first win of the tournament beating “giant killer” Samy Shoker. Actually the game was not an easy one and Shoker had good chances after Hess sacrificed his queen for a rook and bishop with 22. Nxe4 Bxe4 23. Bxe4 Rxd2 24. Rxd2. However, black apparently blundered on 34…Kc7??

    After 34.c3 (threatening 35.Rd1 in diagram #1), black erred with 34…Kc7?? White continued with 35. Rxc5+ Kb8 36. Rce5 to pile back on the pawn eventually winning it (diagram #2). Black’s queen is overworked as her far-reaching powers were no match for the two optimally-positioned pieces. Unbelievable turn of events!

    In other action, both Onischuk and Seirawan scored surgical wins while Gata Kamsky and Ahmed Adly drew peacefully. The win gave the USA a reasonable position as they are on an even score.

    China was close to equalizing against Israel despite Ding Liren dropping his game to Tamir Nabaty. With the other games quickly drawn, Wang Hao tried to push his pawn advantage into a winning queen ending, but Sutovsky was able to harass the white king with endless checks securing the team victory.

    In India-Ukraine, the gigantic battles were on the bottom boards. Negi-Efimenko had its tense moments, but despite white’s extra piece, black had compensation due to his advanced pawns. The match rode on the Moiseenko-Gopal result. In a tense battle, white developed an advantage in the rook ending, but would it be enough to win? It appeared that the match was headed for a draw, but Gopal may have erred with 79…d3? allowing the white king to go into attack mode. The king ultimately waltzed up the board to help aid the sprint of the h-pawn. Disappointing loss for the Indians.

    Judit Polgar with an admiring Chinese girl before her game. This picture may be worth something one day. The archives are full of players who were shown as children with a famous Grandmaster. Photo from https://ningbo2011.fide.com/.

    Hungary rode on the victory of Judit Polgar as they toppled a surging Azerbaijan. In another theoretical battle, Rauf Mamedov use the Accelerated Sicilian and Polgar decided on a very solid Maroczy Bind setup and held a space advantage. A tactical melee ensued and Mamedov may have missed Polgar’s reply after his 30…Ra5?! After 31. bxa5 Rxb3, Polgar played 32. Bc4+! Nxc4 33. axb3 Nb2 34.a6! Both sides temporarily promoted to queens, but when the smoked cleared Polgar was a clear exchange up and converted the win smoothly.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

  10. Standings after Round #3

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Russia
    2
    1
    0
    5
    8.0
    0
    2 Armenia
    1
    2
    0
    4
    7.5
    0
    3 Ukraine
    2
    0
    1
    4
    6.5
    0
    4 Israel
    2
    0
    1
    4
    6.0
    0
    5 Azerbaijan
    1
    1
    1
    3
    6.5
    0
    6 USA
    1
    1
    1
    3
    6.5
    0
    7 China
    1
    1
    1
    3
    6.0
    0
    8 Hungary
    1
    1
    1
    3
    5.5
    0
    9 India
    0
    1
    2
    1
    4.5
    0
    10 Egypt
    0
    0
    3
    0
    3.0
    0

  11. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #4
    Russia 1-3 Azerbaijan
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Karjakin
    2788 ½-½ Radjabov
    2744
    1.2 Grischuk
    2746 0-1 Gashimov
    2760
    1.3 Nepomniachtchi
    2711 ½-½ Mamedyarov
    2765
    1.4 Svidler
    2739 0-1 Guseinov
    2625
    Ukraine 1½-2½ Hungary
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Ivanchuk
    2768 0-1 Leko
    2717
    2.2 Eljanov
    2697 ½-½ Almasi
    2726
    2.3 Efimenko
    2706 ½-½ Polgar
    2699
    2.4 Moiseenko
    2715 ½-½ Balogh
    2643
    Israel 1½-2½ India
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Sutovsky
    2700 0-1 Harikrishna
    2669
    3.2 Roiz
    2669 ½-½ Sasikiran
    2681
    3.3 Smirin
    2676 ½-½ Ganguly
    2627
    3.4 Nabaty
    2584 ½-½ Gopal
    2576
    USA ½-3½ China
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Kamsky
    2741 ½-½ Wang Hao
    2718
    4.2 Onischuk
    2675 0-1 Wang Yue
    2709
    4.3 Shulman
    2617 0-1 Li Chao
    2669
    4.4 Seirawan
    2635 0-1 Yu Yangyi
    2672
    Armenia 3½-½ Egypt
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Movsesian
    2700 1-0 Adly
    2631
    5.2 Akopian
    2667 1-0 Amin
    2609
    5.3 Sargissian
    2663 ½-½ Shoker
    2475
    5.4 Hovhannisyan
    2556 1-0 Ezat
    2430
    Games
  12. Round #4
    Wednesday, 20 July 2011

    Russia 1-3 Azerbaijan
    Ukraine 1½-2½ Hungary
    Israel 1½-2½ India
    USA ½-3½ China
    Armenia 3½-½ Egypt

    Azerbaijan powers over Russia 3-1,
    China smashes USA 3½-½… race tightens!

    The story of the round must be Russia’s drubbing at the hands of Azerbaijan. The loss pushed Russia out of first place and tumbling to the fourth spot. Armenia remains the only undefeated team, but is only one point ahead of the field with tough matches to follow. With the win, Azerbaijan moves into joint second with China, Russia and Hungary, who triumphed on the shoulders of Peter Leko’s win over Vassily Ivanchuk.

    Vugar Gashimov won in fine technical style. Azerbaijan moves up to second position after four rounds. Photo from https://ningbo2011.fide.com/.

    In the Russia-Azerbaijan match, each game finished relatively quick as Vugar Gashimov won a hard-fought game in 41 moves over Alexander Grischuk. Unfortunately, Peter Svidler suffered a disastrous result on the black side of a Sicilian Taimanov. White placed his pieces on unusual squares, but uncorked a tactical gem with 28.Nf5! netting an exchange. Svidler resign five moves later due to inadequate compensation. This loss sent Russia reeling, but they will play bottom-feeder Egypt on tomorrow and look to score big. Azerbaijan will play Hungary while China gets a big date with Armenia.

    Hungary nipped the Ukraine as Peter Leko got the best of Ukraine’s Ivanchuk with his Marshall Gambit. In an interesting theoretical battle, black played 18…f4!? (apparently a novelty) sacrificing a piece for an accelerated attack. White ultimately had to sacrifice his queen, when he had a rook and two bishops. In perhaps an exceptional case, the three pieces were not able to contend with the queen and three pawns. In the final position, after 41…c2, 42.Rxc2 would have been met by 42…Qe4! netting a piece since 43.Rd2 loses to 43…Qf4+. The defending Olympiad Champions from the Ukraine have not looked convincing thus far.

    Pentala Harikrishna led off with a victory. Photo by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    In Israel-India, Harikrishna gave India the lead with a win of Emil Sutovsky after marching his king up the board to support a passed-pawn. All other games were hard-fought ending with everyone watching to see if Sasikiran would convert a pawn up and Gopal could hold the draw a pawn down against Nabaty. After 104 and 118 moves, both games were drawn and India got their first win.

    The USA was coming off a convincing win over Egypt, but ran into a buzzsaw against host China. Alex Onsichuk has been off form and has lost three out of his four games. Against Wang Yue, he went down in a heap of flames in 29 moves against the Catalan. Shulman lost a piece and Seirawan was positionally outplayed against Li Chao and Yu Yangyi, respectively. The US will play India on tomorrow, always a tough match for them in Olympiad tournaments.

    Veteran Yasser Seirawan (right) was outclassed by rising star, Yu Yangyi. Photo by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    In what has become a clear sign that Egypt is simply outclassed, Armenia took a 3½-½ verdict over Egypt and its overachieving player, Samy Shoker. Shoker was the long bright spot for the Egyptians as he was winning against Gabriel Sargissian. The Armenian held the draw to save a crucial half-point. Aronian got a rest, but the Movesesian won a wild game against Adly’s Najdorf.

    The game started toward clam waters with 6.g3, but then exploded with 6…e5 7. Nb3 Bg4?! 8. Be2 Bh3 9. g4 d5 10. g5. Adly deviated from Wang Hao-Li Chao’s 10…Nxe4 (played in 2007) with 10…d4?! After massive exchanges, white earned a stifling grip on the position and black’s king fell into a net in the middle of the board. While Adly’s Najdorf fell, Vladimir Akopian used it to beat off Bassem Amin’s raging attack.

    Amin had aimed his heavy pieces at Akopian’s king and had played the stunning 20.Nf5! (diagram #1) The knight sortie was a thing of beauty as Akopian had to sacrifice his queen. Perhaps the Egyptian went astray with 24.Nd5 and later and 30.Qxa6 allowing black to get counterplay. Black’s rooks got active in a matter of a few moves and soon it was black with the mating attack after 30. Qxa6 Rd1+ 31. Kh2 f4! 32. Rc3 Rbb1 (diagram #2). Disappointing loss for Amin.

    There is one more round before the rest day.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    Photos by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

    1. Hikaru Nakamura wrote me on Facebook saying that the given 20.Nf5! is not as strong as it appears and that Akopian made a “positional queen sacrifice” despite the fact that black was forced to do so. He stated that black is fine in the position after 20…exf5 21.Rh4 Qxh4 (21…f6 22.exf6 Qf7 23.Re7 Nxf6 24.Rxf7 Rxf7) 22.Qxh4. Obviously black got counterplay in the end, but perhaps Amin had stronger choices.

  13. Standings after Round #4

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Armenia
    2
    2
    0
    6
    11.0
    0
    2 Azerbaijan
    2
    1
    1
    5
    9.5
    1
    3 China
    2
    1
    1
    5
    9.5
    1
    4 Russia
    2
    1
    1
    5
    9.0
    0
    5 Hungary
    2
    1
    1
    5
    8.0
    0
    6 Ukraine
    2
    0
    2
    4
    8.0
    0
    7 Israel
    2
    0
    2
    4
    7.5
    0
    8 India
    1
    1
    2
    3
    7.0
    0
    9 USA
    1
    1
    2
    3
    7.0
    0
    10 Egypt
    0
    0
    4
    0
    3.5
    0

  14. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #5
    Egypt 1-3 Russia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Adly
    2631 0-1 Grischuk
    2746
    1.2 Amin
    2609 0-1 Nepomniachtchi
    2711
    1.3 Shoker
    2475 ½-½ Svidler
    2739
    1.4 Ezat
    2430 ½-½ Vitiugov
    2733
    China 1½-2½ Armenia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Wang Hao
    2718 ½-½ Aronian
    2805
    2.2 Wang Yue
    2709 ½-½ Movsesian
    2700
    2.3 Li Chao
    2669 ½-½ Akopian
    2667
    2.4 Yu Yangyi
    2672 0-1 Sargissian
    2663
    India 1-3 USA
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Harikrishna
    2669 ½-½ Kamsky
    2741
    3.2 Sasikiran
    2681 0-1 Onischuk
    2675
    3.3 Ganguly
    2627 ½-½ Shulman
    2617
    3.4 Parimarjan
    2642 0-1 Hess
    2609
    Hungary 3½-½ Israel
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Leko
    2717 ½-½ Roiz
    2669
    4.2 Almasi
    2726 1-0 Smirin
    2676
    4.3 Polgar
    2699 1-0 Postny
    2618
    4.4 Balogh
    2643 1-0 Nabaty
    2584
    Azerbaijan 1½-2½ Ukraine
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Radjabov
    2744 ½-½ Ivanchuk
    2768
    5.2 Gashimov
    2760 ½-½ Eljanov
    2697
    5.3 Mamedyarov
    2765 ½-½ Efimenko
    2706
    5.4 Guseinov
    2625 0-1 Moiseenko
    2715
    Games
  15. Round #5
    Thursday, 21 July 2011

    Egypt 1-3 Russia
    China 1½-2½ Armenia
    India 1-3 USA
    Hungary 3½-½ Israel
    Azerbaijan 1½-2½ Ukraine

    Armenia beats China to stay atop field… Ukraine wins key match…
    Hungary, Russia and USA win big!

    China-Armenia was one of the marquee matches of the round.
    Photo by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    The last round before the rest day saw Armenia hold on to its one-point lead with a clutch win over China. Gabriel Sargissian came through with a win over Yu Yangyi in impressive positional style. Russia expectedly beat Egypt 3-1 with the consolation for the African nation being that Samy Shoker held Peter Svidler in a rather placid game while Ezat Mohammed held a draw with dogged determination. Vitiugov was trying to steal a half point more from the Egyptian when a textbook queen ending arose. The Russian did all he could to give his opponent a chance to make mistakes… to no avail. However, Russia was able to gain a half-point on Armenia in term of board points.

    Levon Aronian appeared relaxed after sitting out round four. Photo by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    Hungary throttled Israel 3½-½. Judit Polgar beat Evgeny Postny after showing good technique in the ending. Leko won again and he is on a stunning result thus far. In what has become a dismal showing by the Gelfand-less Israel team, the Olympiad bronze medalists have struggled mightily. Several teams (besides Israel) are missing top players including Russia, India, the Ukraine, the USA and China.

    The USA has enjoyed great team success in the past four years (with an infusion of new talent), but has struggled in this tournament. They needed a win against India by a large margin and were able to deliver. The deciding games were Onischuk’s dominant positional win over Krishnan Sasikiran and Robert Hess’ win against peer Parimarjan Negi. Hess ended the game with a nice shot 32.Qb8! when black is simply losing material. India was not close in this match and continue to struggle in team play.

    The Ukraine scored a must-win against Azerbaijan as the heavyweights continue to beat each other. Moiseenko was able to win a textbook rook ending to seal the victory. The Ukrainians still have to play Armenia and Russia, but the fate is in their hands and perhaps the rest day will allow them to regroup.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    Photos by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

  16. Standings after Round #5

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Armenia
    3
    2
    0
    8
    13.5
    0
    2 Russia
    3
    1
    1
    7
    12.0
    0
    3 Hungary
    3
    1
    1
    7
    11.5
    0
    4 Ukraine
    3
    0
    2
    6
    10.5
    0
    5 China
    2
    1
    2
    5
    11.0
    1
    6 Azerbaijan
    2
    1
    2
    5
    11.0
    1
    7 USA
    2
    1
    2
    5
    10.0
    0
    8 Israel
    2
    0
    3
    4
    8.0
    0
    9 India
    1
    1
    3
    3
    8.0
    0
    10 Egypt
    0
    0
    5
    0
    4.5
    0

  17. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #6
    Russia 2-2 Hungary
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Karjakin
    2788 ½-½ Ivanchuk
    2768
    1.2 Grischuk
    2746 ½-½ Eljanov
    2697
    1.3 Nepomniachtchi
    2711 ½-½ Efimenko
    2706
    1.4 Vitiugov
    2733 ½-½ Moiseenko
    2715
    Israel 2-2 Azerbaijan
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Sutovsky
    2700 0-1 Radjabov
    2744
    2.2 Smirin
    2676 ½-½ Gashimov
    2760
    2.3 Postny
    2618 1-0 Mamedov
    2679
    2.4 Nabaty
    2584 ½-½ Mamedyarov
    2765
    USA 2-2 Hungary
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Kamsky
    2741 ½-½ Leko
    2717
    3.2 Shulman
    2617 0-1 Almasi
    2726
    3.3 Seirawan
    2635 1-0 Polgar
    2699
    3.4 Hess
    2609 ½-½ Balogh
    2643
    Armenia 2½-1½ India
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Aronian
    2805 1-0 Harikrishna
    2669
    4.2 Movsesian
    2700 ½-½ Sasikiran
    2681
    4.3 Akopian
    2667 ½-½ Ganguly
    2627
    4.4 Sargissian
    2663 ½-½ Negi
    2642
    Egypt ½-3½ China
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Adly
    2631 0-1 Wang Hao
    2718
    5.2 Amin
    2609 0-1 Wang Yue
    2709
    5.3 Shoker
    2475 ½-½ Li Chao
    2669
    5.4 Ezat
    2430 0-1 Ding
    2672
    Games
  18. Round #6
    Saturday, 23 July 2011

    Russia 2-2 Hungary
    Israel 2-2 Azerbaijan
    USA 2-2 Hungary
    Armenia 2½-1½ India
    Egypt ½-3½ China

    Armenia widens lead… China edges closer crushing Egypt

    Tension beginning to mount!

    In round six of the 2011 World Team Championship, it was a festive beginning as GM Judit Polgar celebrated her birthday among the officials, competitors and guests. There was a beautiful cake and the event may have put the players in a good mood. However, the battle had to begin!

    Armenia had a date with India as they were looking to hold on to the slim one-point lead. Lev Aronian faced Pentala Harikrishna and essayed a bold attack by 11.g4. Perhaps this caught the Indian off guard, but he fought back in the center causing a clash of forces. When the smoke cleared, Aronian had obtained a grip on the position and began tightening the screws. At one point, it was hard to find useful moves for black. This was the decisive game as the others were drawn.

    Russians and the Ukrainians drew all four games, but they were hard-fought battles. Israel-Azerbaijan was also drawn one win apiece. Radjabov was up the exchange when Sutovsky allowed him to set up a mating net. Gashimov-Smirin went to king vs. king in a very exciting Sicilian Paulsen. Evgeny Postny beat back an attack by Rauf Mamedov to conjure up one of his own for the victory.

    Judit was presented with a birthday gift, but would not receive one from veteran Yasser Seirawan. Photos by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    The USA and Hungary was the last of the drawn matches and featured a “spoiler” with Yasser Seirawan beating Judit Polgar on her birthday. The two have know each other for many, many years and Polgar was certainly a good sport about it. Judit is only 35 years old which gives an idea about how long she’s been playing at the top level. She is far and away the greatest woman in the history of chess without peer.

    Finally, Egypt was crushed by China to give the host country good chances with three rounds remaining. Wang Hao scored an impressive win over Ahmed Adly when the Egyptians position had too many weaknesses and Wang ended the game with a mating attack. Bassem Amin sacrificed a piece for two passed pawns aided by a “dragoned” bishop. The b-pawn did eventually promote to a queen, but white had a passed pawn of his own and in the end it would be the deciding factor.

    GM Ahmed Adly (right) is still looking for answers despite playing with determination. Photos by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    IM Samy Shoker is on an even score which is remarkable, not only because he is one of only two IMs in the field, but because his team has fared poorly and morale may be an issue. Shoker has shown an interesting style this tournament with a mixture of positional play and tactics. His positional queen sacrifice against Li Chao was an interesting idea, but perhaps black could have improved on his play. White actually had good play with his two pieces for a queen. This certainly was not a “mercy draw” as the game was extremely tense. Good result for Shoker as he may be competing for a GM norm.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    Photos by Fan Lulu, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

  19. Standings after Round #6

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Armenia
    4
    2
    0
    10
    16.0
    0
    2 Russia
    3
    2
    1
    8
    14.0
    0
    3 Hungary
    3
    2
    1
    8
    13.5
    0
    4 China
    3
    1
    2
    7
    14.5
    1
    5 Ukraine
    3
    1
    2
    7
    12.5
    0
    6 Azerbaijan
    2
    2
    2
    6
    13.0
    1
    7 USA
    2
    2
    2
    6
    12.0
    0
    8 Israel
    2
    1
    3
    5
    10.0
    0
    9 India
    1
    1
    4
    3
    9.5
    0
    10 Egypt
    0
    0
    6
    0
    5.0
    0

  20. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #7
    China 2½-1½ Russia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Wang Hao
    2718 1-0 Karjakin
    2788
    1.2 Wang Yue
    2709 ½-½ Grischuk
    2746
    1.3 Li Chao
    2669 ½-½ Nepomniachtchi
    2711
    1.4 Yu Yangyi
    2672 ½-½ Svidler
    2739
    India 2½-1½ Egypt
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Harikrishna
    2669 1-0 Amin
    2609
    2.2 Sasikiran
    2681 ½-½ El-Gindy
    2510
    2.3 Ganguly
    2627 1-0 Shoker
    2475
    2.4 Gopal
    2576 0-1 Ezat
    2430
    Hungary 1½-2½ Armenia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Leko
    2717 ½-½ Aronian
    2805
    3.2 Almasi
    2726 0-1 Movsesian
    2700
    3.3 Polgar
    2699 ½-½ Akopian
    2667
    3.4 Balogh
    2643 ½-½ Sargissian
    2663
    Azerbaijan 1½-2½ USA
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Radjabov
    2744 0-1 Kamsky
    2741
    4.2 Gashimov
    2760 ½-½ Onischuk
    2675
    4.3 Mamedov
    2679 1-0 Shulman
    2617
    4.4 Mamedyarov
    2765 0-1 Seirawan
    2635
    Ukraine 2½-1½ Israel
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Ivanchuk
    2768 1-0 Sutovsky
    2700
    5.2 Eljanov
    2697 0-1 Roiz
    2669
    5.3 Moiseenko
    2715 1-0 Postny
    2618
    5.4 Areshchenko
    2682 ½-½ Nabaty
    2584
    Games
  21. Round #7
    Sunday, 24 July 2011

    China 2½-1½ Russia
    India 2½-1½ Egypt
    Hungary 1½-2½ Armenia
    Azerbaijan 1½-2½ USA
    Ukraine 2½-1½ Israel

    China beats Russia as Wang Hao overuns Karjakin…
    Olympiad champion Ukraine creeps into 3rd…
    Armenia wins… eyes on gold

    Armenia won their fourth consecutive match thereby putting them within reach of the gold medal. They only need two points in their last two matches against Azerbaijan and the Ukraine to stake this claim. They nipped Hungary in their encounter when Zoltan Almasi bungled a strong initiative by dropping the exchange. The other games were drawn. Sargissian-Balogh was a brawl.

    The marquee matchup ended with a win for China. Wang Hao’s win on board one was the sole decisive game. Photo by Wang Liang, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    In China-Russia, Wang Hao scored an important victory in a see-saw game whose outcome was in doubt until Wang took command toward the end. Svidler was unable to convert an advantage against Yu Yangyi. The victory moves China up to second position with two rounds to go. They play regional nemesis India in round eight.

    India got their second win of the tournament over hapless Egypt win by a narrow margin. Egypt’s Ahmed Adly has had a rough tournament (½/6) and took a rest. Harikrishna converted a long ending against Bassem Amin who is looking to break his losing streak, now at five. El-Gindy and Sasikiran drew a game that stood level throughout. Samy Shoker had his unbeaten string against Grandmasters stopped at three when his Pirc Defense failed to Ganguly. Mohammed Ezat got the win over G.N. Gopal, who has struggled in Ningbo.

    The USA bested Azerbaijan after Mamedyarov played a dubious opening against Seirawan and was royally spanked for his lack of opening composure. The game started 1. d4 c5 2. d5 f5?! 3. e4!? fxe4 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. g4! as white quickly seized space, exploited weak squares and got a favorable ending. The Azeri sacrificed two pawns in hopes that his passed a-pawn would save him, but Seirawan stifled these plans and went on to a clean victory. By beating both Polgar and Mamedyarov, Seirawan has proved that he can still play at a high level.

    Ukraine-Israel was an interesting encounter as Ivanchuk-Sutovsky play a very entertaining game in which spell-binding complications occurred. The Israeli may have gotten a bit overzealous with his attack and Ivanchuk was able to stave him off and collect the point after Sutovsky’s king dangled in the line of attack from heavy pieces. In other games, Roiz won against Eljanov where the Ukraine got the decider when Moiseenko exploited Postny’s open king in a game rich with nimble piece play. Nabty and Areschenko drew a Rossolimo.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    Photos by Wang Liang, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

  22. Standings after Round #7

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Armenia
    5
    2
    0
    12
    18.5
    0
    2 China
    4
    1
    2
    9
    17.0
    0
    3 Ukraine
    4
    1
    2
    9
    15.0
    0
    4 Russia
    3
    2
    2
    8
    15.5
    0
    5 Hungary
    3
    2
    2
    8
    15.0
    0
    6 USA
    3
    2
    2
    8
    14.5
    0
    7 Azerbaijan
    2
    2
    3
    6
    14.5
    0
    8 India
    2
    1
    4
    5
    12.0
    0
    9 Israel
    2
    1
    4
    5
    11.5
    0
    10 Egypt
    0
    0
    7
    0
    6.5
    0

  23. Tony Rich, “World Team Update: US Team on a Roll,” uschess.org, 24 July 2011.

    In a happy mood, Seirawan sat down with his coaches and fellow team member Hess to go over the game. On move two, Seirawan said, “I already feel like something went wrong for Shak”, as Mamedyarov is known. Peter Leko even commented, “This is the way to show them when they show no respect”, referring to Mamedyarov’s dubious opening decision.

  24. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #8
    Russia 4-0 Israel
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Grischuk
    2746 1-0 Roiz
    2669
    1.2 Nepomniachtchi
    2711 1-0 Smirin
    2676
    1.3 Svidler
    2739 1-0 Postny
    2618
    1.4 Vitiugov
    2733 1-0 Nabaty
    2584
    USA 1½-2½ Ukraine
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Kamsky
    2741 ½-½ Ivanchuk
    2768
    2.2 Onischuk
    2675 ½-½ Efimenko
    2706
    2.3 Seirwan
    2635 ½-½ Moiseenko
    2715
    2.4 Hess
    2609 0-1 Areshchenko
    2682
    Armenia 2-2 Azerbaijan
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Aronian
    2805 ½-½ Radjabov
    2744
    3.2 Movsesian
    2700 ½-½ Gashimov
    2760
    3.3 Akopian
    2667 1-0 Mamedov
    2679
    3.4 Sargissian
    2663 0-1 Mamedyarov
    2765
    Egypt 1-3 Hungary
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Amin
    2609 ½-½ Leko
    2717
    4.2 El-Gindy
    2510 0-1 Almasi
    2726
    4.3 Shoker
    2475 0-1 Polgar
    2699
    4.4 Ezat
    2430 ½-½ Erdos
    2613
    China 3-1 India
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Wang Hao
    2718 1-0 Harikrishna
    2669
    5.2 Wang Yue
    2709 1-0 Sasikiran
    2681
    5.3 Li Chao
    2669 ½-½ Ganguly
    2627
    5.4 Ding Liren
    2654 ½-½ Parimarjan
    2642
    Games
  25. Israel’s 4-nil lost to Russia is shocking. They are clearly the worst team in the tournament in terms of expectations. Egypt has not won a single match, but have not been whitewashed and continue to fight… creating a few upsets. Israel seems to give up in their matches. The Vitiugov-Nabaty game was a complete disaster.

  26. Round #8
    Monday, 25 July 2011

    Russia 4-0 Israel
    USA 1½-2½ Ukraine
    Armenia 2-2 Azerbaijan
    Egypt 1-3 Hungary
    China 3-1 India

    Russia crushes Israel 4-nil, still in contention…
    Armenia, China, Ukraine all win to hold positions…
    Hungary beats the USA and also has a miniscule chance for a medal

    Ian Nepomniachtchi has been the star for Russia. Can they win big over India? Photo by Fred Lucas, https://www.fredlucas.eu/.

    The World Team championship had its penultimate round today and the most shocking of the results was Russia’s whitewash of Israel, 4-nil. Despite Boris Gelfand’s and Maxim Rodshtein’s absence, Israel was expected to put up a more respectable showing. They are the first team in the tournament to lose by 4-nil and the Olympiad bronze medalists have been listless in their play. The games were relatively competitive, but Nabaty-Vitiugov was a complete disaster. There is nothing more to say about the match.

    The battle for medal tightened as Armenia had to fight Azerbaijan to a draw while the other top contenders won their matches. Armenia was behind in the match after Shahkriyar Mamedyarov beat Gabriel Sargissian in a heart-pumping battle ending in a frantic pawn race. The Armenian’s desperate dash for queendom was negated by white own’s queening and the Azeri had the overwhelming material advantage. However, the match was leveled by Akopian’s clutch win and the match was drawn. This gives Armenia at least a bronze medal and needing only a draw to secure the gold medal.

    Yu Yangyi being encouraged by Li Chao. Cameraderie is one of the recipes of traditional success for China. Many of these players evolved as schoolkids together. Photo by Wang Liang, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    China kept pace by humbling their Asian counterpart and regional rival India in a match that featured a nice king hunt by Wang Hao starting with 48.Rxg7+ (see below). In Krishnan Sasikiran-Wang Yue, black back white’s kingside ambitions and launched a lightening counterattack. With the white king on the run, the game ended with a nice tactical coup, 47…Rxe3! winning on the spot. While Negi-Ding was drawn, Li Chao tried to steal another half-point by trying to win rook and bishop verus bishop. Ganguly defended and the match ended in a 3-1 verdict.

    In Wang Hao-Harikrishna, white smoked the black king from its refuge on g6 with 48.Rxg7+ (diagram #1) and at sword point marched the monarch up the board until it met its death on f2 after white’s 59.Rc3-c1! (diagram #2) White threatens 60.Bd4# and only massive material losses avert mate.

    The Ukraine kept pace with a win over a hopeful USA. Robert Hess lost a crucial game against a resurgent Areshchenko won started the tournament poorly. The Ukraine remains in third, but have a poor tiebreak status with 17.5 board points. Russia on the other hand beat Israel 4-0 and now have 19.5 board points and play an out-of-form India in the finale.

    Thus if the Ukraine draws with Armenia, then Russia could surpass the Ukraine with a win over India (even by 2½-1½). The Ukraine will then be forced to play for a match win to prevent being pushed from medal contention by Russia. Hungary probably has no chance for a medal unless they beat China handily and the Ukraine also loses. China-Hungary match will be hotly-contested.

    Hungary beat Egypt with Almasi and Polgar winning in a romp. Shoker collapsed in a battered heap after blundering against Polgar. Egypt scored two draws and have yet to be whitewashed despite being outrated by a 100 points in every match. They have shown resilience, especially on the lower boards. However, Ahmed Adly is off-form and took a rest for the second day in a row. This tournament has been largely disastrous for the Adly-Amin duo. They end on a date with Azerbaijan hoping to win a few moral victories.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    Photos by Wang Liang, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

  27. Standings after Round #8

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Armenia
    5
    3
    0
    13
    20.5
    0
    2 China
    5
    1
    2
    11
    20.0
    0
    3 Ukraine
    5
    1
    2
    11
    17.5
    0
    4 Russia
    4
    2
    2
    10
    19.5
    0
    5 Hungary
    4
    2
    2
    10
    18.0
    0
    6 USA
    3
    2
    3
    8
    16.0
    0
    7 Azerbaijan
    2
    3
    3
    7
    16.5
    0
    8 India
    2
    1
    5
    5
    13.0
    0
    9 Israel
    2
    1
    5
    5
    11.5
    0
    10 Egypt
    0
    0
    8
    0
    7.5
    0

  28. Armenia has clinched at least a bronze (even with a loss). Here are some of the other scenarios playing out:

    • If Armenia-Ukraine is a draw (probable) then Armenia gets gold and Russia can get bronze (over Ukraine) with the smallest of victories over India because of board points. Hungary has to hope that they beat China and the Ukraine loses to have a chance at a bronze.
    • China winning over Hungary could get them at least a silver, but even a gold if Armenia loses (1. China, 2. Armenia, 3. Ukraine). Armenia-Ukraine drawing, China-Hungary drawing, then Russia must win at least 3-1 to have a chance at a silver (1. Armenia 2.Russia 3. China). Russia lost to China in their match, so they have to get 22.5 points if China draws (22.0 points).
    • If Armenia LOSES by 3-1 (or worse) to the Ukraine and China draws, then Ukraine would get the gold, Armenia silver and China/Russia bronze. Russia would have to win by at least 3-1 in this scenario for a bronze (same reason as above).

    Someone check this.

  29. 2011 World Team Championship
    July 16th-26th, 2011 (Ningbo, China)
    Round #9
    India 2½-1½ Russia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Harikrishna
    2669 0-1 Grischuk
    2746
    1.2 Sasikiran
    2681 1-0 Nepomniachtchi
    2711
    1.3 Ganguly
    2627 1-0 Svidler
    2739
    1.4 Parimarjan
    2642 ½-½ Vitiugov
    2733
    Hungary 1½-2½ China
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Leko
    2717 ½-½ Wang Hao
    2718
    2.2 Almasi
    2726 0-1 Wang Yue
    2709
    2.3 Polgar
    2699 0-1 Li Chao
    2669
    2.4 Balogh
    2643 1-0 Yu Yangyi
    2672
    Azerbaijan 2½-1½ Egypt
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Radjabov
    2744 1-0 Adly
    2631
    3.2 Gashimov
    2760 1-0 Amin
    2609
    3.3 Mamedov
    2679 0-1 Shoker
    2475
    3.4 Mamedyarov
    2765 ½-½ Ezat
    2430
    Ukraine 2-2 Armenia
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Ivanchuk
    2768 ½-½ Aronian
    2805
    4.2 Eljanov
    2697 ½-½ Movsesian
    2700
    4.3 Efimenko
    2706 ½-½ Akopian
    2667
    4.4 Moiseenko
    2715 ½-½ Sargissian
    2663
    Israel 1½-2½ USA
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Sutovsky
    2700 ½-½ Kamsky
    2741
    5.2 Roiz
    2669 ½-½ Onischuk
    2675
    5.3 Smirin
    2676 ½-½ Seirwan
    2635
    5.4 Postny
    2618 0-1 Hess
    2609
    Games Coming!
  30. Round #9
    Tuesday, 26 July 2011

    India 2½-1½ Russia
    Hungary 1½-2½ China
    Azerbaijan 2½-1½ Egypt
    Ukraine 2-2 Armenia
    Israel 1½-2½ USA

    Armenia (GOLD), China (SILVER), Ukraine (BRONZE)
    Samy Shoker of Egypt gets GM norm beating Mamedyarov!

    Final Round!

    The 2011 World Team Championship has come to a close and Armenia has won the title in convincing manner. The only undefeated team in the tournament, the two-time Olympiad gold medalists were led solid performances by Sergei Movesesian and Vladimir Akopian both scoring 6/9. Levon Aronian also had a strong showing with 5/8 and 2826 performance rating. Their last match with the Ukraine took an interesting turn as Russia begin losing their match to India.

    Russia fell behind quickly as Peter Svidler was utterly destroyed by Surya Ganguly in 24 moves. Vitiugov-Negi was drawn after the Russia forced a three-fold repetition a pawn down. Russia then tied after Grischuk beat Harikrishna on board one. With this scenario, medal chances were fading for Russia, but if Nepomniachtchi could beat Sasikiran, then it may come down to board points. A draw would not suffice. Armenia-Ukraine had already drawn their match. It was not to be.

    “Sasi” played Najdorf and got a very solid position and was never in danger of losing. Nepomniachtchi’s desperate “cheapshots” were parried as black 44…Bc6! liquidated into a favorable ending with white’s king exposed. What was clear at this point was that Russia’s medal chances were dashed an the Russia was merely trying to salvage his personal honor. However, Sasikiran won the queen ending in smooth fashion and Russia’s “big ELO” team failed once again.

    Wang Yue was China’s top scorer with 7/9 and 2916 performance.

    China went into this match against Hungary knowing that a draw would most likely give them a medal. However, they trotted out their most reliable lineup and in the end, got the maximum result. Both Wangs (Wang Hao and Wang Yue) had spectacular tournaments. Wang Hao scored 6/9 with 2854 performance while Wang Yue scored 7/9 with a stratospheric 2916 performance!! Li Chao’s undefeated 5/8 and 2743 performance was also remarkable. The Chinese gave two rising stars Yu Yangyi and Ding Liren valuable experience while stronger players were playing abroad. China has a strong foundation for the future.

    Egypt’s IM Samy Shoker apparently scored a GM norm! Photos by Wang Liang, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/.

    Egypt won nary a match ending on 0/9, but got a wonderful consolation when IM Samy Shoker (2475) beat an erratic Shahkriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan earning a GM norm with 4/9 against nine GMs (2675 average opposition; 2632 performance). He start off the tournament by shocking Areshchenko of the Ukraine and ending by beating an elite Grandmaster. This must be a breakthrough for the young IM who has gone unnoticed, even in African tournaments. Shoker along with Mohammed Ezat gained valuable experience and played top-level competition for nine rounds, a rare opportunity for African players.

    Israel ended a dismal tournament dropping their last match to the USA. In what will go down as their poorest performance in many years, they simply seemed like a rudderless team without a couple of key players including Boris Gelfand. Robert Hess scored a crushing win to score the decisive result. Sacrificing a piece with 28.dxe6! lead the way into black’s camp. The Yale-bound GM shredded a path toward the black king and in a hopeless position, black resigned.

    The USA finished below their 2009 silver medal, but without their top gun Hikaru Nakamura, they would have been very fortunate to get a medal. The field was much stronger than in 2009. Despite finished ahead of Egypt, Israel’s result may be considered the most disappointing of the tournament. They did beat China, yet suffered the only whitewash of the tournament.

    Games (Java, PGN Games)
    Official Site, https://ningbo2011.fide.com/
    Photos by Wang Liang, https://sports.sina.com.cn/chess/
    China Chess Blog, https://blog.sina.com.cn/chessnews/

  31. Standings after Round #9 (Final)

    # Team
    +
    =
    Match Pts.
    Board Pts.
    TB3 
    1 Armenia
    5
    4
    0
    14
    22.5
    0
    2 China
    6
    1
    2
    13
    22.5
    0
    3 Ukraine
    5
    2
    2
    12
    19.5
    0
    4 Russia
    4
    2
    3
    10
    21.0
    0
    5 Hungary
    4
    2
    3
    10
    19.5
    0
    6 USA
    4
    2
    3
    10
    18.5
    0
    7 Azerbaijan
    3
    3
    3
    9
    19.0
    0
    8 India
    3
    1
    5
    7
    15.5
    0
    9 Israel
    2
    1
    6
    5
    13.0
    0
    10 Egypt
    0
    0
    9
    0
    9.0
    0

  32. Russia’s failure must make the idea of “Russian dominance” a thing of the past. Kasparov recently wrote an essay in New in Chess saying that there is still life in the tradition. That may be true if he considers Armenia and the Ukraine, but Russia? Not so. They had the highest average ELO in all the team events since they won gold in Bled in 2002 and gold at 2009 World Team in Turkey, but they certainly are not dominating as in days of old. They had FIVE teams in the 2010 Olympiad and did not take the gold. Something is in disarray with Russian chess as echoed by Kramnik after the 2008 Olympiad. The schism during the FIDE election brought some of this turmoil to light.

  33. BOARD MEDALS (gold, silver, bronze)

    Board #1: Wang Hao (China), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Gata Kamsky (USA)
    Board #2: Wang Yue (China), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Sergei Movesesian (Armenia)
    Board #3: Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia), Vladimir Akopian (Armenia), Li Chao (China)
    Board #4: Alexander Moiseenko (Ukraine), Yasser Seirawan (USA), Csaba Balogh (Hungary)
    Reserve: Nikita Vitiugov (Russia), Robert Hess (USA), Tamir Nabaty (Israel)

  34. Congrats to Armenia. I thought both India and Israel would do better and that Egypt would make some kind of noise. Not this trip.

    Glad to see Seirawan of USA represent!

    LOL @ #5 Hungary. Polgar and Leko are stereotypical of their styles. Polgar the relentless attacker comes away with a +5.0 by way of 4 outright wins, 3 outright losses and only 2 draws. Impregnable defender Leko comes away with a +5.0 with only 1 outright win, no losses and 8 draws!!!

    1. Actually that would read as a “+1” for both if you are using the parlance used for tournament records. It just means that your score (divided into two parts) is on the positive side… win/loss difference. Polgar (+4-3=2) is equal to 5-4 or +1. Leko (+1-0=8) is also 5-4 or +1. Wang Yue (+5-0=4) is 7-2 or +5.

      Polgar was a bit erratic in the second half of the tournament. Leko’s drawing tendency is not particularly bad for board #1, but of course Almasi did not have a good result on board #2. Balogh was fantastic on board #4.

      India seems to struggle in team play. Their match strategy, lineup choices and preparation seems to be substandard. Israel was missing Gelfand and Rodshtein, two of their top players. Most other teams were only missing one top player. However their performance was abysmal. Egypt’s reserves actually did them proud. Shoker got a GM norm and Ezat got a chance to play and beat strong competition. Adly (½/7) and Amin (1½/9) were simply outclassed. They were outrated by 100 points each round.

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