China too strong for UK

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
China proved too strong a country for the United Kingdom in a team match that was held this week in Liverpool, as part of the lead-up to its status of 2008 European City of Culture. Each team consisted of four boards, plus two junior boards and two ladies boards. On paper, the two sides were fairly evenly matched in rating terms. However, the greater youth of China combined with the excellent "training" they recently enjoyed (beating the Russian team in a similar match played in Nizhny Novgorod last month!) turned out to make the difference: 28-20.

The line-up was as follows:

 				Age    Rating
GM Michael Adams 		34 	2724 	  	
GM Nigel Short 	        	42 	2683 	  	
GM Jonathan Rowson 		30 	2599 	  	
GM Nick Pert 			26 	2536 	  	
GM Gawain Jones 		18 	2526 	  	
GM David Howell 		16 	2519 	  	
WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant 	39 	2419 	  	
IM Jovanka Houska 		27 	2401 	  	

Average: 29 2551

  	 	 		Age    Rating
GM Bu Xiangzhi 			22 	2685
GM Wang Yue 			20 	2696
GM Ni Hua 			24 	2681
GM Zhang Pengxiang 		27 	2649
GM Wang Hao 			18 	2619
WGM Hou Yifan 			13 	2523
WGM Shen Yang 			18 	2439
WFM Ding Yixin 			16 	2278

Average: 20 2571

During the opening ceremony the teams met informally with the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Paul Clark.

In round one the Chinese visitors already made clear what they were up to, winning three games and losing one, with four draws. Wang Hao beat Nigel Short, Zhang Pengxiang beat Jonathan Rowson, Ni Hua beat Gawain Jones and Arakhamia-Grant beat Shen Yang. The second round saw the same result of 3-5 for China: Ni Hua beat Jonathan Rowson, Zhang Pengxiang beat Nicholas Pert and Wang Hao beat David Howell. The UK honor was saved by Gawain Jones who defeated Hou Yifan.

The playing hall with the open tournament and the UK-China match next to it.

In round three the United Kingdom team found their form, winning four games to China's two, with two draws. Adams and Short both won, against Ni Hua and Bu Xiangzhi respectively. David Howell added a victory for the UK, against Zhang Pengxiang, and so did Keti Arakhamia-Grant agains Shen Yang. For China Hou Yifan scored a point against Nicholas Pert.

The third round of the match.

Round four saw another 3-5 win for China: Adams lost with White against Zhang Pengxiang, Bu Xiangzhi beat Gawain Jones, Jovanka Houska lost to Shen Yang and Arakhamia-Grant beat Ding Yixin. Round five was an even bigger win for China: 2.5-5.5, without loss of a game. Ni Hua beat Nicholas Pert, Bu Xiangzhi defeated David Howell and Yixin Ding scored her first win, against Jovanka Houska.

Another shot of the team match.

In the last round the UK needed a 7,5-0,5 victory to tie the match but they lost again: 3,5-4,5. Mickey Adams won with White against Hou Yifan, Wang Yue defeated David Howell and Yixin Ding won again, against Arakhamia-Grant.

Final standings:

United Kingdom  
GM Adams, Michael        2724   3?Ǭ?
GM Short, Nigel          2683   3
GM Rowson, Jonathan      2599   1?Ǭ?
GM Pert, Nicholas        2536   1?Ǭ?
GM Jones, Gawain         2526   2?Ǭ?
GM Howell, David         2519   2
IM Arakhamia-Grant, Keti 2418   4
IM Houska, Jovanka       2401   2

China GM Wang, Yue 2696 4 GM Wang, Hao 2626 4 GM Zhang, Pengxiang 2649 4 GM Bu, Xiangzhi 2685 3?Ǭ? GM Ni, Hua 2681 4 WGM Hou, Yifan 2523 2?Ǭ? WGM Shen, Yang 2439 2?Ǭ? WFM Ding, Yixin 2278 3

----------------------------------- United Kingdom 20 China 28

Photos: Stephen Connor. Many more at the tournament website, where excellent reports by Steve Giddins (used for this report) can be found as well.

Here the games of the team match in PGN.

During the UK-China match, a strong open tournament was held which was won by GM Daniel Fridman, before GMs such as Dgebuadze, Gormally, Berg, Alberto, Ghaem Maghami, Lalic, Lie and IMs such as Vovk, Greet, Haslinger and Smerdon.

Here the games of the open tournament in PGN.
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