China, Poland Lead World Team Championship
The not-so-surprising leader after two rounds in the World Team Championship held from June 17-26 in Ugra, Russia is the top-seeded China. Sharing first on the leaderboard is the somewhat less expected Poland who won dramatic matches against India and the United States.
The opening ceremony featured some impressive production value
and dancing. | Photo courtesy of the official site.
The World Team Championship takes place every two years and has since 2007. This year for the first time, the open championship is being held concurrently with the Women's Championship. The open tournament consists of the following 10 teams selected as follows according to the FIDE Handbook per section D.188.8.131.52:
World Team Championship: Open Teams
Many teams are handicapped as their top players were unable to play due to commitments in Norway Chess or the Grand Chess Tour. China has most of their top players playing and are the top seed. They won convincingly (3.5-0.5) against Belarus in round one, but their victory against India in round two was by the slimmest half-point margin. The most interesting game was probably Wei Yi vs Krishnan Sasikiran in which Black's rook was trapped for ten moves but could never be taken.
Poland's board one, Radoslaw Wojtaszek was arguably the most interesting player to watch in both rounds so far. He first lost in 27 to Santosh Vidit Gujrathi who used an opening idea first unveiled by Anish Giri (who Vidit seconds for) in the Speed Chess Championship!
Wojtaszek had one very bad day and one very good one. | Photo courtesy of the official site.
Wojtaszek's loss was avenged by the newly minted 2700 Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Kacper Piorun. Piorun won with a pleasing attack.
In round two, Wojtaszek scored an impressive rebound win, scoring the Poland-U.S.A. match's only victory as he defeated Sam Shankland in only 25 moves.
This agonized picture was taken while Shankland's position was still fine ... | Photo courtesy of the official site by Anastasia Balakhontseva.
A surprising non-leader is Russia who was somewhat shockingly held to a draw by the Turkish team.
World Teams | Round 2 standings
World Women's Team Championship: Women's Teams
The women's championship has gone brilliantly for the home team thus far as the Russians have defeated both the Chinese and Vietnamese teams by the score of 3-1. They have the only perfect score. One critical game in the Russia-China match was the new Women's World Champion Tan Zhongyi being defeated with the White pieces by Kateryna Lagno.
The Chinese team was also held to a draw by Ukraine in round two. Only two rounds in, the top seed will have a hard time making a realistic run to catch the Russians.
The critical Russia-China match opened the tournament in round one. | Photo courtesy of the official site by Anastasia Balakhontseva.
World Teams | Women, round 2 standings