14 March 2019

Five in Gold

Round 8 of the World Team Championships reported by Eteri Kublashvili

Pitted against Sweden in the penultimate round, team Russia ended up scoring hugely in her favor– 3.5:0.5. 

Board one game was the first to finish as Nils Grandelius vs Sergey Karjakin agreed a draw.

Sergey Karjakin, “My opponent, Nils Grandelius, is a strong player and one of Magnus Carlsen's seconds. I was Black in that game and, taking into consideration a huge disparity in class on the remaining boards, a draw is an absolutely acceptable result. This is why I did not try to spice things up, and the game was a rather calm one. The opponent was trying to lure me into an opening trap, but I was well prepared for it. Enjoying a minute edge, he failed to come up with any meaningful threats. A draw was agreed after simplifications.”

There followed three victories, scored literally one after another. 

Playing White, Alexander Grischuk defeated Hans Tikkanen and joked after the game that victory always comes unexpectedly.

Grischuk – Tikkanen


14. g4

Alexander Grischuk, “In lieu of 14. g4 I could have taken a pawn back with a more cautious 14.exf6 gxf6 15. Dxc5, but it somehow didn't appeal to me.”

14…Nge7 15. gxf5 Nxf5? 

Grischuk believes 15…Nxf5 to be a blunder that tips the scales in White’s favor after 16. Bg2. “After 15…exf5 it would have been a complex position, while this blunder resulted in his getting in time trouble and losing the game.” 

Board three Dmitry Andreikin was superior to Erik Blomqvist. The game was opened into the Caro-Kann Defence with a roughly equal maneuvering struggle taking place afterwards. However, Black's pressing on the queenside brought him success as White committed an inaccuracy that Andreikin did not hesitate to capitalize upon. 

Blomqvist – Andreikin


30. b4? fails  to 30…axb3! 31. Rxb3 Na5! 32. Rb4 Qc7 33. Nb3 Nc6 34. Ra4 Qb6 35. Qc2 Qb5, with the black rook and queen making a tempo infiltration into the opponent's home rank.   

Scoring his fifth victory in a row as White over Axel Smith is Vladislav Artemiev. Transposition of moves led to the Panov attack that created Black some weaknesses in the middlegame. White snapped a pawn and got a bishop pair advantage. The Swedish GM’s several underwhelming moves resulted in his pieces stalemated on the kingside, which cost him material in an attempt to sort things out. Smith resigned without transposing into a hopeless endgame. 

The Russian men’s team has won the championship with one round to go since the gap from the nearest pursuing teams of England and India has increased to as many as three points. In the penultimate round team England went down to team China 1:3, and the USA drew India. 

Let me remind that out team’s previous success dates back as far as 2013, which is over five years. This is Russia’s fifth triumph at the world championships. Our congratulations! 

The Russian Team's chief coach, RCF President Andrey Filatov, “It has been a hard-fought and emotionally-charged victory. This championship has demonstrated an increased level of players' skills and competitiveness and that surprises should be expected from any team. Not everything has worked well out for the tournament favorite – team China – while our team has delivered a superb display. We have a true and well-knit team, the success of which has been largely contributed to by our first-timer Vladislav Artemiev’s phenomenal play. It feels great to bring gold medals to our country!”

Tournament standings after round 8:

1. Russia - 14; 2-3. India, England - 11; 4. China - 10; 5-6. Iran, USA - 8; 7. Azerbaijan - 6; 8-9. Kazakhstan, Sweden - 4; 10. Egypt - 3.;

Pairings of round nine:

England - Sweden, Kazakhstan - China, Azerbaijan - Egypt, USA - Iran, Russia - India. 


Women’s team China has become world champion with one round to go after defeating USA with a 3:1 score.Taking their games for China were Tan Zhongyi and Lei Tingjie, who have been performing superbly at this event.

The Russians are actively contesting the medals, contributing to this goal with a whitewash victory over Hungary. 

Alexandra Kosteniuk and Hoang Thanh Trang opened into the French Defence. White seemed better prepared in the opening as the Russian player was spending less time and managed to achieve certain advantage. Even the trade of queens and the position simplifying a great deal didn’t stop White from vying for more. Alexandra achieved her goal in a better minor-piece endgame in an instructive manner. 

Valentina Gunina was at last in her type of position when facing Ticia Fara. Playing Black, the Russian traded her bishops for knights in the Slav; however, Valentina’s knights are known as absolutely merciless creatures. This scenario happened indeed as Black launched an offensive against the opponent's king. It had to do with exposing own king and thus contributing to the overall success.

Gara – Gunina


22…g5! Feeling no regrets about having to part with material. 

23. Bxf5 gxh4! 24. Bxe6 Qxe6 25. Kg2 hxg3 – there is no fending off an offensive like this. White resigned after Black's move 37. 

Aleksandra Goryachkina has delivered a splendid positional display over Julianna Terbe. The game was opened into the Slav that was a complete failure for Black. White's edge was stable due to space superiority, which she went on to gradually build upon with maneuvering on both flanks. Alexandra demonstrated a high-class display when converting into the endgame.

Goryachkina – Terbe

29. a6! Rd7

Grim-looking is 29…Qxa6 because of 30. Qc8. 

30. Qd3 Qxd3 31. Nxd3 Ke8 32. b5 – which looks like a positional bind so beloved by Boris Gelfand. Aleksandra lacked no skills in converting her superiority. I highly recommend this endgame to everyone willing to improve their technique.

Playing Black, Olga Girya literally shellacked Bianka Havanecz in the Nimzo-Indian. Olga Girya suggested that her opponent was probably prepared for the line from her previous game against Rochelle Wu, but the Russian continued otherwise, although she had had games in that continuation as well. White gave an underwhelming middlegame performance, carrying out a number of wrong trades and not preventing Black from posting her bishop on b5, which was in White’s way of short castling her king. Havanecz”s move 25 afforded Black a tempo execution of her coveted ideas.

Havanecz – Girya

25. Rb4?!

Tougher is 25. Qc2, intending to transfer the king to d2. 

25…a5! 26. Rb3 Qc6 27. Qb2 Qc4, and the Hungarian player recognized her defeat several moves later. 

Having outplayed team India 2.5:1.5, team Ukraine is back to place three owing to Georgia’s drawing Armenia, which could not but upset the Georgians overall standings.

Tournament standings after round 8:

1. China - 16; 2. Russia - 13; 3. Ukraine - 12; 4. Georgia - 11; 5-6. India, Kazakhstan - 8; 7. USA - 5; 8. Armenia - 4; 9. Hungary - 3; 10.; Egypt - 0.

The matchup Russia – Georgia is something to look forward to. Ukraine is taking on China.