China, USA Will Battle In Sunday Superfinal At FIDE Online Nations Cup

China, USA Will Battle In Sunday Superfinal At FIDE Online Nations Cup

| 62 | Chess Event Coverage

China and the USA will face each other in Sunday's Superfinal of the FIDE Online Nations Cup. On Saturday, the USA lost to Europe in round one, but then they became the only team to beat China in the tournament. Thus, USA finished in a tie with Europe, advancing to the Superfinal due to scoring precisely half a board point more.

Tomorrow: Superfinal at 7:00 a.m. Pacific / 10 a.m. Eastern / 16:00 CEST
All games will be played on the live server and can be followed on our events page and in our Android and iOS apps under "Watch." Commentary by GM Robert Hess, IM Daniel Rensch, and special guests can be enjoyed at where the games will be discussed and explained.

The Day 5 Live Broadcast for replay.

Round 9

Bo. Fed USA Rtg 1½:2½ Fed Europe Rtg
2.1 Nakamura, Hikaru 2829 ½ - ½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2860
2.2 Caruana, Fabiano 2773 ½ - ½ Aronian, Levon 2778
2.3 So, Wesley 2741 ½ - ½ Giri, Anish 2731
2.4 Krush, Irina 2392 0 - 1 Dzagnidze, Nana 2447

The big clash between the USA and Europe was likely going to decide the fight for second place, considering the pairings for the final round where the USA would face the leader China, while Europe would play the Rest of the World.

After three tense games on the top three boards, where GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was closest to a win vs. GM Hikaru Nakamura, it was the ladies' board where this key match was decided. GM Nana Dzagnidze always had a slight edge, and she eventually outplayed GM Irina Krush in a rook endgame:

Nana Dzagnidze Online Nations Cup
A big win for Nana Dzagnidze.
Bo. Fed India Rtg 1½:2½ Fed China Rtg
3.1 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2636 ½ - ½ Wang Hao 2750
3.2 Harikrishna, Pentala 2690 ½ - ½ Wei Yi 2752
3.3 Adhiban, Baskaran 2624 0 - 1 Yu Yangyi 2738
3.4 Harika, Dronavalli 2450 ½ - ½ Hou Yifan 2621

With no chance for qualifying for the final, team captain Vishy Anand and player Vishy Anand must have agreed that he could take the day off.

Meanwhile, GM Yu Yangyi was the absolute star player of this event. Well, at least for nine rounds. He improved his score even further to 6.5/8 with another excellent win, this time against GM Baskaran Adhiban.

Yu Yangyi Online Nations Cup
A tremendous 6.5/8 for Yu Yangyi.
Bo. Fed Rest of the World Rtg 2 : 2 Fed Russia Rtg
1.1 Radjabov, Teimour 2758 1 - 0 Artemiev, Vladislav 2769
1.2 Firouzja, Alireza 2703 1 - 0 Karjakin, Sergey 2709
1.3 Amin, Bassem 2608 0 - 1 Andreikin, Dmitry 2740
1.4 Muzychuk, Mariya 2506 0 - 1 Girya, Olga 2471

In a match that was only played for the history books, GM Sergey Karjakin learned the hard way how fast GM Alireza Firouzja has improved lately. He was completely outplayed and then beaten with a kingside attack: 

The legendary Judit Polgar joined our live broadcast for a bit during the break.

Round 10

Bo. Fed China Rtg 1½:2½ Fed USA Rtg
2.1 Ding Liren 2836 1 - 0 Nakamura, Hikaru 2829
2.2 Wang Hao 2750 0 - 1 Caruana, Fabiano 2773
2.3 Yu Yangyi 2738 0 - 1 So, Wesley 2741
2.4 Ju Wenjun 2610 ½ - ½ Krush, Irina 2392

Europe was going into the final round a match point ahead of the USA, and as said, with a much better pairing. But the unthinkable happened.

While Europe couldn't win their match, the USA did manage, with GM Wesley So becoming the first player to beat Yu in this tournament and, with that win, securing the two match points.

Bo. Fed Europe Rtg 2 : 2 Fed Rest of the World Rtg
3.1 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2860 ½ - ½ Radjabov, Teimour 2758
3.2 Aronian, Levon 2778 0 - 1 Firouzja, Alireza 2703
3.3 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2774 1 - 0 Amin, Bassem 2608
3.4 Dzagnidze, Nana 2447 ½ - ½ Saduakassova, Dinara 2412

So where did it go wrong for Europe? As always, it's a team effort, but the one board that was lost was GM Levon Aronian's game with Firouzja. Unfortunately for Aronian and his team, the Iranian star had his best day of the event as he scored 2/2 with two fine games:

Alireza Firouzja Online Nations Cup
A great day for Alireza Firouzja.

Bo. Fed Russia Rtg 2½:1½ Fed India Rtg
1.1 Artemiev, Vladislav 2769 1 - 0 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2636
1.2 Karjakin, Sergey 2709 ½ - ½ Harikrishna, Pentala 2690
1.3 Andreikin, Dmitry 2740 1 - 0 Adhiban, Baskaran 2624
1.4 Girya, Olga 2471 0 - 1 Koneru, Humpy 2483

In another match where not much was at stake, GM Vladislav Artemiev stole the show with a flashy attack on GM Vidit Gujrathi's king. The Indian player later apologized on Twitter for his disappointing level of play in the event.

 FIDE Online Nations Cup | Final Standings

Rk. Team 1a 1b 2a 2b 3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5
1 China 3 2 3 17 25.5 0 473.5 61
2 USA 1 3 2 3 13 22 0 418.8 58.5
3 Europe 1 3 2 2 2 13 21.5 0 414.3 53
4 Russia 2 1 2 2 3 2 8 19 0 370.8 45
5 India 2 2 2 5 17.5 0 353.3 43
6 Rest of the World 1 ½ 1 2 1 2 4 14.5 0 295.5 39.5

Tomorrow's Superfinal will start an hour later, so 7:00 a.m. Pacific / 10 a.m. Eastern / 16:00 CEST. China will have white on boards one and three. As the winner of the round-robin, China got to choose colors and also has draw odds in the one match that is the final.

In other words, the USA needs to do for a second time what no other team has managed: beat China.

The FIDE Online Nations Cup is a team competition held from May 5-10, 2020 on featuring Russia, USA, Europe, China, India, plus a team representing the "Rest of the World." The total prize fund is $180,000, sponsored by

The first stage consists of a double round-robin, with each team playing each other twice. The top two teams after 10 rounds qualify for a "Superfinal" match. 

All matches are played on four boards: three with male players and one with female players. The time control for all games is 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move one.

Games Day 5 for replay/download

During today's live broadcast, the songwriter and musician Juga released her latest chess song.

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