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World Team Championship Begins In Jerusalem, Played With Rapid Time Control
Hans Niemann (left, U.S.) and Radek Wojtaszek (Poland) start their game in the World Team Championship. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

World Team Championship Begins In Jerusalem, Played With Rapid Time Control

PeterDoggers
| 38 | Chess Event Coverage

Azerbaijan and China are the early leaders at the FIDE World Team Chess Championship which started on Sunday in Jerusalem, Israel. The tournament is played under the rapid time control of 45+10 and has a pool stage followed by a knockout stage.

How to watch?
The games of the World Team Championship can be found here as part of our live events platform.
2022 FIDE World Team Chess Championship Live Games


Like the Olympiad, the World Team Championship is held every two years with separate open and women's sections that are not always organized concurrently. Since the first edition in 1985, the format has always been a round-robin among 10 teams but for this year, FIDE has changed things quite a bit.

There are 12 teams this time, divided into two pools that each play a round-robin of five rounds. The top four teams from each pool qualify for a knockout stage. The biggest change, however, is the time control: this year the games are played with 45 minutes plus a 10-second increment. This, in fact, falls into the category of rapid chess according to Appendix A of the FIDE Laws of Chess:

A.1 A ‘Rapid chess’ game is one where either all the moves must be completed in a fixed time of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player; or the time allotted plus 60 times any increment is of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player.

Some have argued that the tournament should be called World Team Rapid Chess Championship, while FIDE's CEO Emil Sutovsky prefers to speak of "semi-classic." One thing is clear: the games will count for rapid ratings, not classical.

The venue is the Dan Hotel Jerusalem. In a press release in early November, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) urged FIDE to relocate the tournament elsewhere. The reason was that the hotel is located in eastern Jerusalem, seen by the Palestinians as an illegal Israeli settlement of Palestinian territory.

Russia, the title holder, is obviously not present in Jerusalem but Ukraine is. Led by GM Vasyl Ivanchuk, their team also includes GM Igor Kovalenko, who was fighting in the army in the Donbas region in the summer. He is one of just three players who has started the tournament with two wins.

Ukraine chess World Teams 2022
Ukraine pictured with, left to right, Vasyl Ivanchuk, team captain Oleksandr Sulypa, Kirill Shevchenko, and Andrei Volokitin. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

In Pool B, Azerbaijan is the only team that has started with two match victories. They defeated the U.S. in the second round, a team that is missing many of its strongest players. Interestingly, GM Hans Niemann is playing board one (alongside GMs Lazaro Bruzon, Alexander Onischuk, Varuzhan Akobian, and Yuniesky Quesada).

Niemann played GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in that second round, who played his seventh match of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals later that evening. 

Mamedyarov Niemann World Teams 2022
 Niemann resigns vs. Mamedyarov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Missing GM Anish Giri, the Netherlands suffered two narrow 1.5-2.5 losses on Sunday. The match against France (a team that is missing GM Alireza Firouzja, likely related to the location of the tournament) was especially a tough loss as GM Max Warmerdam managed to lose a pawn-up(!) queen endgame to GM Laurent Fressinet:

Warmerdam Fressinet
Fressinet can't believe he won this game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

It's clear that South Africa will be having a hard time even scoring a match point, but it was nice to see their top board, GM Kenny Solomon, hold a draw against the legendary Ivanchuk. Solomon was well prepared for the 3.Bb5+ Najdorf:

Kenny Solomon World Teams Chess
Kenny Solomon. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Pool A Round 2 Standings

Rk. Flag Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5
1 China 3 4 6.5 14 4.5 17
2 Ukraine 4 6 13.5 5 14
3 France 2 4 16.5 3 11.5
4 Spain 1 2 3.5 14 3 9
5 Netherlands 0 3 11.3 0 6
6 South Africa ½ ½ 0 1 6.3 0 2.5

Pool B Round 2 Standings

Rk. Flag Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5
1 Azerbaijan 3 4 5.5 20.5 7,5 16
2 Uzbekistan 2 4 17 3.5 9
3 India 2 2 2 4 14 3.5 10.5
4 United States 1 2 3.5 14.3 3.5 7
5 Israel 2 1 3.5 14 2 8.5
6 Poland 2 1 3.5 13.3 2 9

The FIDE World Team Championship takes place November 19-26, 2022, in Jerusalem, Israel. The format is a round-robin for teams with five rounds, followed by a knockout with the top eight finishers. The time control is 45 minutes for the entire game plus a 10-second increment starting on move one.

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