China-Russia tied after three rounds

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0 | Chess Event Coverage
The now traditional country match between China and Russia is already taking place for the fifth time. After three rounds, the score is exactly even: 15-15. The Russian women beat their Chinese opponents in round two to make up for the first-round loss by the Russian men.

Every one year the match between Russia and China takes place somewhere in Russia, and every other year in China. Since last year's event was held in Nizhniy Novgorod (Russia) this time it's China again: the city of Ningpo.


The city of Ningpo | photo Jiong Sheng



Wikipedia tells us that Ningpo, literally meaning "tranquil waves", is a seaport with sub-provincial administrative status. Officially the city has a population of a bit over two million people but other sources say five million. It's situated in the northeastern Zhejiang province of China.




Last year China beat Russia 52.5-47.5 and since they have travelled without Morozevich, Kramnik and Grischuk, again it won't be easy for the Russians, who are meeting a Chinese team with a line-up at almost full-strength, including their best four players. Well, this was only describing the men's section, while the match also includes five women boards!

In the Chinese women team, 2008 world championship runner-up Hou Yifan is missing (besides the non-active Xie Jun), whilst the Russian ladies have to do without their new world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk (and Alisa Galliamova).

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The match takes place 18-27 September and consists of three phases: from 18 to 22 September the teams play five matches with the FIDE time control, followed by a free day. 24, 25 and 26 September the teams will play rapid chess and on the final day, September 27, a blitz match.

The average ratings of the teams (2581 for Russia and 2578 for China) predict a close match and indeed in the first thee rounds, in both the men's and the women's matches the score was 2.5-2.5 twice. In the first round the Russian ladies coped better with the hassle of the long travelling and drew their match, while their male colleagues suffered a 3.5-1.5 loss. In the second round it was the other way around: a tie in the men's match and a 3.5-1.5 win for the Russian women.

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Here are the decisive games of the first three rounds for replay:



Here are some photos from the opening ceremony and first round, kindly provided by Mark Gluhovsky who travelled with the Russian team to China to report for his magazine "64" and for the website of the Russian Chess Federation:

The opening press conference, with from left to right Bao Lei (the chief organizer and sponsor at the same time), Chinese team coach Jean Weida, ex-world champion Xu Yuhua, the head of the Russian delegation Natalia Shustaeva, Peter Svidler and the translator, strategically situated right next to Svidler.

The Russian team at the opening diner...

...and their Chinese opponents for the coming week

Svidler-Bu Xiangzhi: an interesting Najdorf Sicilian that ended in a draw

Wang Hao defeated Jakovenko with the White pieces...

...and Li Chao made matters worse for the Russian men by beating Alekseev

The only win by the Russians on the first day: Pogonina's victory against Ruan Lufei


All photos ?Ǭ© Mark Gluhovsky

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