FIDE Online Olympiad Division 1, Day 2: Russia, Kazakhstan, USA Perfect

FIDE Online Olympiad Division 1, Day 2: Russia, Kazakhstan, USA Perfect

| 16 | Chess Event Coverage

Today, the FIDE Online Olympiad players have crossed division one's equator.

Let's see what happened during the second day of the top division's matches in each of the pools. It was even more eventful than the first one as leaders of many groups have played multiple matches with each other, switched places, and in a few groups, some rather unexpected outcomes have occurred! 

How to watch?
The Division 1 games of the FIDE Online Olympiad can be found on our live events platform: Pool A | Pool B | Pool C | Pool D. On playing days, expert commentary is provided on starting at midnight Pacific / 9:00 a.m. Central Europe.

Live coverage of day one. Watch all of the live coverage at

Pool A

Yesterday, after the end of the first day, China and Kazakhstan had the perfect score of six points and were about to play each other in the very next round.

China was a big rating favorite, given their top male players, GM Ding Liren and GM Wei Yi, as well as having the world's very best female players GM Hou Yifan and GM Ju Wenjun. However, the outcome of the match was rather unexpected. The two first boards showed domination by the Chinese superstars, but GM Zhansaya Abdumalik outplayed Hou with the white pieces in the Petroff, and the fourth board drew. The two last boards, where the young prodigies compete, saw Kazakhstan win, resulting in a 3.5-2.5 result in their favor.

This is definitely a match that is very likely to shape the outcome of the entire pool's final standings, so it is certainly worth seeing some games from the match.

In the same round, Armenia convincingly beat Romania 4.5-1.5, Australia outplayed Georgia 4-2 (not a single draw, those are all very ambitious and fighting players!), Indonesia won 4-2 against Greece (not a single draw in the match, either!), while Iran managed to beat Mongolia 3.5-2.5 in a tough match.

Round five saw Kazakhstan in a very difficult match versus Armenia, which they also went on to win with the minimal advantage, 3.5-2.5. Of course, their entire team is having a great run, but it is worth especially pointing out Abdumalik and IM Bibisara Assaubayeva, who won all of their games of the second day. China had a big win over Greece, not conceding a single point: 5-0. Iran convincingly beat Indonesia 5-1, while Romania and Australia had a very tense encounter that ended in the victory of the former by the single point, 3.5-2.5.

Coming to round six, Kazakhstan was in the sole lead, which they maintained by scoring a terrific win against Greece, 5.5-0.5. It is truly incredible to observe the fantastic shape several players of their team are in, especially Abdumalik and Assaubayeva. Meanwhile, China was having a hard time with Iran but went on to win by the sole point, 3.5-2.5. The outcome was decided on the female boards, with Ju and WIM Ning Kaiyu winning their games.

Of course, nothing final has been decided yet, but it looks like there are very clear contenders for the first and second place, while third place remains wide open. Currently, Kazakhstan has 12 points, China 10, and Iran sits at eight, while Armenia and Indonesia are a bit behind with six. Friday will be a very exciting day for this pool as Kazakhstan tries to score a crushing and a somewhat unexpected victory in the pool.

Online Olympiad, Pool A Results

Pool B

Yesterday we left this pool with Hungary in the sole lead at three match wins and six points, while India had five. France and Moldova were a bit behind with four points each.

However, by the end of the second day, the leader had changed. Let us see how that happened.

To begin with, in round four, the leader Hungary tied the underdog team of Egypt 2.5-2.5 (the first board game is below), while India went on to beat the secondary Chinese team by a very convincing score of 5-1, moving into share the first place. France also won their match against Slovenia, 3.5-2.5, now just one point behind the leader. At the same time, Moldova lost 4-2 to Sweden to fall behind in the race.

This pool's model game was the following highly instructive encounter:

In round five, Hungary tied again, this time with Belarus. The latter didn't have a great first day, but in this round, GM Alexei Fedorov struck on board one, equalizing the outcome of the match. That allowed India, who beat Azerbaijan 4-2 behind wins by GM Humpy Koneru and GM Nihal Sarin, to become the leader. Meanwhile, France beat Egypt 3.5-1.5 and started sharing second-third with Hungary, while Moldova lost another match, this time by a whopping 5.5-0.5 score to China. Slovenia climbed up a bit, beating Sweden 4-2.

In the final round of the day, India outplayed Belarus 3.5-2.5 to stay in the sole lead, while Hungary did a great service to their tournament standings by taking down their closest rival France 3.5-2.5, as youngsters GM Adam Kozak and WFM Gaal Zsoka scored for them. At the same time, Moldova continued its downfall, having lost 5-1 to Azerbaijan.

As a result, we now have India sitting at 11 points, Hungary at 10, France at 8, while three teams—Azerbaijan, Slovenia and Sweden—each have six points. While it will not be easy to catch the two leaders during the last day, there is definitely going to be a lot of fight for the third place.

Online Olympiad, Pool B Results

Pool C

We left this pool yesterday with Russia on a terrific run, having beaten all their opponents. Argentina was on the second place with five points, while the four teams of Spain, Italy, Israel and Ukraine were a bit behind with four points each.

A lot changed.

The day began with Russia beat Paraguay 4.5-1.5, even though GM Alexander Grischuk sensationally lost on board one to IM Guillermo Vasquez, who initially got a worse position with White in the Italian Game, but then played extremely well to regain the advantage after a few imprecise moves by the Russian super-grandmaster. Argentina fell out of second place with a 3.5-2.5 loss to Italy, who made a big step forward. So did Ukraine, whose team brilliantly beat Czech Republic 5-1, and Israel, winning 3.5-2.5 against Spain. The leaders are taking each other down, which is always very exciting to watch. Meanwhile, Germany beat Latvia 4-2 to climb its way up the standings.

Round five saw Russia very convincingly outplay Israel 5-1 to keep the lead. Spain dragged Argentina even further down, winning 4-2. Ukraine continued strongly, beating Paraguay 4.5-1.5, while Latvia, who has been playing without a single GM on the team, took down Italy 3.5-2.5, kicking the latter out of competition for the top spots, at least for now. Finally, Germany crushed Czech Republic 5.5-0.5, getting back to the top of the pack.

The last round unfolded with yet another disaster for Argentina. This team, which started so brilliantly yesterday with 5/6, lost all three matches of the second day, the last one to Russia 6-0. Ukraine pushed its way up to second place, winning a very tense 3.5.-2.5 match against Israel that could have gone either way. The difference was this game, where WGM Masha Klinova could not convert an entirely winning position against IM Iulija Osmak:

Finally, Germany continued today's streak, crushing Paraguay 6-0, which enabled them to rise up to the clean third, and Spain tied Italy 3-3.

As a result, Russia still has a perfect score of 12 points. Ukraine is two points behind with 10, Germany has eight, and Italy together with Spain are trying to catch up with seven.

It would be rather surprising if any other teams challenged Russia for the first spot, but any team can change the standings in no time, so it is highly exciting to see what the last three rounds will bring.

Online Olympiad, Pool C Results

Pool D

The D-pool also saw quite a noticeable change of leaders today.

The day began with different outcomes for the two leaders, as USA beat England 4.5-1.5 while Peru lost its top position with a 4-2 loss to Cuba. A somewhat shocking result occurred this round, as Poland with their two super-grandmasters, GMs Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Jan-Krzysztof Duda, tied Turkey 2.5-2.5, which is playing without a single GM on their team. To add even more intrigue, Canada also rather unexpectedly beat the higher-rated Dutch team 4-2.

In round five, team USA reinforced its lead, beating Turkey 3.5-1.5. However, Turkey has nothing to be ashamed of, as the team without a GM managed to take 1.5 points from the highest-ranked team in the pool. At the same time, Peru's tough day continued as they got demolished by Poland, 5.5-0.5. Underdog Canada scored another fantastic win, 5-1 versus England. The Brits, despite having so many legendary players on their team, have not been doing well at all this tournament and unexpectedly found themselves in last place, which is something very few would have predicted before the event. Additionally, Brazil beat the Netherlands 4-2, pushing the latter even further down the crosstable.

The sixth round did not bring any relief to Peru: the team lost all its matches today, this time 1.5-4.5 to USA. Meanwhile, Poland and Canada reinforced their excellent standings, having respectively beaten Cuba and Turkey with identical scores of 5-1.

This is, perhaps, the group where I would be least willing to bet against the clear top three finishers, as by the end of the day USA is at 12 points, having won all their matches, Canada and Poland are tied for 2nd-3rd with 10 points, and the fourth place team, Cuba, only has six points with three rounds to go. Cuba needs a miracle to compete for the medals. Within the top three, however, nothing is clear yet.

I have chosen the following game of today from this pool both because I find the way White played rather instructive, and because it's nice to cheer up the British fans a bit; their team has had a rough time, but in this game, their favorite, GM Michael Adams, shone.

Online Olympiad, Pool D Results

To conclude, this day saw a lot of groups change leaders. For example, India overtook Hungary to grab the lead in Pool B while Peru lost all the three matches in Pool D to leave the U.S. the sole leader there.

At the moment, it looks like the situation in the C and D pools is clearest, as there are clear leaders and contenders for second and third. However, nothing is clear when it comes to fighting for the actual places within the top three, as any match loss by one of the leaders can flip the situation upside down in those groups.

At the same time, there will still be a lot of fight in Pool A, as Kazakhstan needs to maintain its lead, and multiple teams are fighting for third place. 

Finally, in Pool B, nothing at all is clear so far, as India's lead is so fragile; a single game can, as usual, completely turn the tables.

The final day's matches look as exciting as ever, so we are all thrilled to see those.

The FIDE Online Olympiad, a major online chess event for national teams, runs August 20-September 15 on the server. More than 1,000 participants and 153 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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