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India, Russia To Play Sunday's Online Olympiad Final
Alexandra Kosteniuk decides the match in Russia's favor.

India, Russia To Play Sunday's Online Olympiad Final

PeterDoggers
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64 | Chess Event Coverage

India and Russia qualified for Sunday's big final of the FIDE Online Olympiad. While India needed an armageddon game to beat Poland, Russia beat the United States with a 3.5-2.5 win followed by a 3-3 tie. 

How to watch?
The games of the FIDE Online Olympiad can be found here as part of our live events platform. The playoffs are played August 27-30 with expert commentary on Chess.com/TV.
Schedule Sunday, August 30:

India-Russia
Round 1, 11:00 UTC = 4 a.m. Pacific / 13:00 Central Europe / 14:00 Moscow / 16:30 India
Round 2, 12:00 UTC = 5 a.m. Pacific / 14:00 Central Europe/ 15:00 Moscow / 17:30 India

India*-Poland: 1-1 (6.5-6.5)

Bo. 1   India Rtg 2 : 4 2   Poland Rtg
1.1 GM Anand, Viswanathan 2751 0 - 1 GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2774
1.2 GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2636 0 - 1 GM Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2662
1.3 GM Koneru, Humpy 2483 ½ - ½ GM Socko, Monika 2321
1.4 GM Harika, Dronavalli 2450 ½ - ½ IM Cyfka, Karina 2330
1.5 GM Nihal, Sarin 2418 1 - 0 IM Janik, Igor 2531
1.6 WIM Divya, Deshmukh 1775 0 - 1 WIM Sliwicka, Alicja 2059
Bo. 2   Poland Rtg 1½:4½ 1   India Rtg
1.1 GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2774 0 - 1 GM Anand, Viswanathan 2751
1.2 GM Gajewski, Grzegorz 2515 0 - 1 GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2636
1.3 GM Socko, Monika 2321 0 - 1 GM Koneru, Humpy 2483
1.4 IM Cyfka, Karina 2330 0 - 1 GM Harika, Dronavalli 2450
1.5 IM Janik, Igor 2531 1 - 0 GM Praggnanandhaa, R 1781
1.6 WIM Sliwicka, Alicja 2059 ½ - ½ WIM Vantika, Agrawal 1729

The first semifinal of the day was played between India and Poland. The latter started with an excellent 4-2 team victory, led by GMs Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radoslaw Wojtaszek on top boards who beat GMs Viswanathan Anand and GM Vidit Gujrathi respectively.

While Duda, with the black pieces, slowly squeezed Anand, Wojtaszek first won a pawn and then decided his game in a mating attack:

India struck back in the second match: 4.5-1.5. In an adventurous game on board one, Anand beautifully outplayed Duda in a Nimzo-Indian, but with little time on the clock for both players, the five-time world champion lost his advantage. In the opposite-colored bishop endgame with rooks, he seemed to be going all-in (in this must-win for the team), and his efforts were awarded as Duda blundered in a drawn endgame:

Viswanathan Anand chess
An important win for Anand. Photo: Peter Doggers/Chess.com.

Anand's second, GM Grzegorz Gajewski, played for Poland in round two (instead of Wojtaszek), but he couldn't save the draw against Vidit. Wins for GM Humpy Koneru and Harika Dronavalli then sealed the deal for India.

An armageddon, already the fourth in this playoff phase, was then played, and the random choice fell on the women's board, where Koneru had just beaten GM Monika Socko as Black in the regular game of match two.

Koneru got black again (while Socko played her second armageddon in two days!), needed only a draw, but won again:

Russia-United States 1.5-0.5 (6.5-5.5)

Bo. 1   Russia Rtg 3½:2½ 2   United States Rtg
1.1 GM Grischuk, Alexander 2784 ½ - ½ GM So, Wesley 2741
1.2 GM Dubov, Daniil 2770 ½ - ½ GM Shankland, Sam 2609
1.3 GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2502 1 - 0 IM Zatonskih, Anna 2327
1.4 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2517 1 - 0 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 2358
1.5 GM Esipenko, Andrey 2629 ½ - ½ GM Xiong, Jeffery 2730
1.6 WGM Shuvalova, Polina 2379 0 - 1 IM Wang, Annie 2384
Bo. 2   United States Rtg 3 : 3 1   Russia Rtg
1.1 GM So, Wesley 2741 1 - 0 GM Grischuk, Alexander 2784
1.2 GM Shankland, Sam 2609 0 - 1 GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2778
1.3 IM Yip, Carissa 2421 1 - 0 GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2502
1.4 IM Zatonskih, Anna 2327 0 - 1 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2517
1.5 GM Xiong, Jeffery 2730 1 - 0 GM Esipenko, Andrey 2629
1.6 IM Wang, Annie 2384 0 - 1 WGM Shuvalova, Polina 2379

Russia's win was based on their 3.5-2.5 victory in the first match, where the two top boards drew their games. While the U.S. won on the U20 boards 1.5-0.5, Russia scored a decisive 2-0 on the top women's boards.

While WGM Tatev Abrahamyan had little chance against GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, IM Anna Zatonskih was actually fine out of the opening against GM Aleksandra Goryachkina, but too many inaccuracies quickly became fatal:

The second match was absolutely brilliant as White scored 6-0 with nothing but fascinating games. We've picked GM Jeffery Xiong's win over GM Andrey Esipenko on the U20 board as the Game of the Day, which started with a topical line of the Nimzo-Indian and ended with a king running up the board:

With 2-3 on the scoreboard, Kosteniuk secured Russia's place in the final as she managed to beat Zatonskih from an initially drawn position. The American player blundered and had her knight cornered by a bishop:

Alexandra Kosteniuk chess
Kosteniuk saved the match for Russia. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

One other game deserves attention too, as Polina Shuvalova found a lovely way to finish off Annie Wang in an endgame. The American player should have sacrificed an exchange, after which she would have had the better chances:

The final will be played between India and Russia on Sunday starting from 11:00 UTC, which is 4 a.m. Pacific, 13:00 Central Europe, 14:00 Moscow, and 16:30 India.

Semifinals | All games

The FIDE Online Olympiad is a major online chess event for national teams that runs July 25-August 30 on the Chess.com server. More than 1,500 participants and 163 teams from all over the world are playing.

Each team consists of six players, including at least two women, at least one player who is 20 or younger, and at least one female player who is 20 or younger. The time control for all matches is 15 minutes for the game and a five-second increment per move, starting from move one.


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