China Wins World Title To Follow Olympic Gold

China Wins World Title To Follow Olympic Gold

| 31 | Chess Event Coverage

On Tuesday China won the World Team Championship in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia. The Olympic champions finished three match points ahead of Ukraine; Armenia came third.

From our report after the fifth round we know that Russia had a horrible start in Tsaghkadzor. It had already dropped six match points and was out of contention for gold. In the end, the top seed didn't even win a medal.

For a long time, the fight went between Ukraine and China, who were both sitting on eight match points after five rounds.

The sixth round took place after the rest day. On that day, April 24, Armenians around the world had something else on their minds. (Fittingly, the tournament website was completely in black and white, which you can still see when you click on "Day 6.")

Both China and Ukraine won their round six matches, and in similar fashion: draws on boards one, two and three, and decisive results on board four.

For China it was the young star GM Wei Yi who sealed the deal against Israel. The 15-year-old grandmaster played fantastic chess in Tsaghkadzor, with five wins and four draws. After gaining 15.9 Elo points he is now 34th in the world in the live ratings list with 2717.5.

15-year-old Wei Yi, now 2717. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

GM Yuriy Kryvoruchko was the match winner for Ukraine against Cuba. It was a game where the white player clearly had himself to blame, with several unforced errors and a self-mate to top it off.

Yuriy Kryvoruchko. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

Russia scored its second straight win: 2.5-1.5 against India. Armenian and Hungary played 2-2 and USA defeated Egypt 3-1.

The top encounter between China and Ukraine was played in round seven and ended in 2-2:

7.2 5 China Rtg 2 - 2 3 Ukraine Rtg
1 GM Ding Liren 2751 ½ : ½ GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2713
2 GM Yu Yangyi 2724 0 : 1 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2731
3 GM Bu Xiangzhi 2681 1 : 0 GM Eljanov Pavel 2733
4 GM Wei Yi 2703 ½ : ½ GM Moiseenko Alexander 2697

Here's Ivanchuk's convincing win over Yu, who really didn't stand a chance. In a difficult position he dropped an exchange, and after that Chuky was very accurate. When every single bit of counterplay was neutralized, Yu resigned.

Vassily Ivanchuk. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

USA scored an excellent win over Israel, with another 2700-draw for Shankland (against Gelfand), a loss for Onischuk (versus Smirin) but wins for Lenderman and Naroditsky (versus Sutovsky and Postny respectively). Look what happend to Sutovsky's king!

Russia suffered yet another loss, this time to Armenia. Three games were drawn, but GM Sergey Karjakin went down against GM Gabriel Sargissian. Something went wrong early on, because White was controlling everything more or less from the start. An impressive game!

Thanks to Gabriel Sargissian, Armenia beat Russia. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

GM Richard Rapport was incredibly creative again in his game with GM Ahmed Adly, who joined the party with some inventive moves as well. It's enough to mention the opening moves and you'll want to see the whole game: 1.b3 a5 2. e4 a4 3.b4 e6 4.Bb2 d5 5. a3 dxe4 6. Nc3 Nf6 7.g4!?. Eventually the Egyptian player came out on top:

1.b3 wasn't eccentric enough for Richard Rapport. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

The eighth round was a key one for the tournament. Ukraine suffered a surprising defeat against USA, who drew on boards one, three and four but won board two. The hero of the day was GM Aleksandr Lenderman, who brought down the mighty GM Vassily Ivanchuk:

Aleksandr Lenderman beats a chess legend. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

Meanwhile, China simply continued winning: a solid 3-1 without losses against Cuba. Here's another nice one from Wei Yi, who used his king in the endgame to create a checkmake pattern:

Ukrained dropped another match point in the final round against Hungary. China defeated India and thus finished three match points ahead of the pack. A most convincing win for the Olympic champions, who can now call themselves world champions too.

Here's the long battle between Sethuraman and Yu:

Yu Yangyi. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

It's no surprise that Wei Yi had the best performance on board four. Both GM Yuniesky Quesada Perez (Cuba) and GM Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia) scored 5.5/8 on board three. GM Aleksandr Lenderman had the best percentage score on board two, with 5.0/7.

With an undefeated 6.0/9, GM Levon Aronian scored the best on board one.

Levon Aronian won a modest 5.8 rating points on home soil. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.
With one loss and eight draws, Alexander Grischuk dropped 14.5 Elo points. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

2015 World Team Championship | Final Standings

Rank Team Gam. + = - MP Pts.
1 China 9 6 3 0 15 23
2 Ukraine 9 5 2 2 12 21
3 Armenia 9 5 1 3 11 18
4 Russia 9 4 2 3 10 20½
5 USA 9 4 2 3 10 19½
6 Hungary 9 2 5 2 9 17
7 Israel 9 3 2 4 8 18½
8 Cuba 9 3 1 5 7 16½
9 India 9 3 1 5 7 16
10 Egypt 9 0 1 8 1 10


The Chinese team with their gold medals and cup. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

The World Team Championship took place April 18-29 at the Golden Palace Hotel Resort & Spa in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia.

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