USA Upsets China At World Team Chess Championship
The start of the China-USA match. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

USA Upsets China At World Team Chess Championship

| 28 | Chess Event Coverage

A fine combination by Aleksandr Lenderman was part of the USA's upset victory against China in round two of the World Team Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan. In the women's section, China won an important match vs Georgia.

With Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So and Sam Shankland on the team in the Batumi Olympiad, the U.S. drew China on all boards in the final round and had to be content with silver. 

With four 2600 grandmasters, the U.S. this time managed to beat China in Astana. And that Chinese team wasn't much weaker than its gold-winning-squad last year.

With draws on the top three boards it was Lenderman, who served as coach in Batumi, who decided the match with a win against Ni Hua. It involved a nice combination based on trapping the opponent's queen in the middle of the board.

Bo. Fed 8 United States of America Rtg - Fed 4 China Rtg 2½:1½
3/1 GM Swiercz, Dariusz (w) 2655 - GM Ding, Liren (b) 2812 ½ - ½
3/2 GM Sevian, Samuel (b) 2642 - GM Yu, Yangyi (w) 2761 ½ - ½
3/3 GM Onischuk, Alexander (w) 2647 - GM Wei, Yi (b) 2733 ½ - ½
3/4 GM Lenderman, Aleksandr (b) 2637 - GM Ni, Hua (w) 2683 1 - 0

The comparison with Batumi goes further if we take into account the opening in Ni vs Lenderman. This line in the Open Catalan came on the board in two of the four games last September.

Ni got a tiny advantage, but started to play inaccurately in the middlegame. Lenderman's trick, and his subsequent technique, was just wonderful.

Aleksandr Lenderman World Team Chess Championship Astana 2019
Aleksandr Lenderman scored a big win for team USA. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Lenderman interviewed after the game.

Team USA now leads with two other teams that have four match points: England and Russia. The English squad again scored a 2.5-1.5 victory despite another loss for its top board Michael Adams.

Bo. Fed 7 Azerbaijan Rtg - Fed 5 England Rtg 1½:2½
2/1 GM Naiditsch, Arkadij (w) 2710 - GM Adams, Michael (b) 2708 1 - 0
2/2 GM Mamedov, Rauf (b) 2701 - GM Mcshane, Luke J (w) 2661 0 - 1
2/3 GM Guseinov, Gadir (w) 2664 - GM Howell, David W L (b) 2693 ½ - ½
2/4 GM Safarli, Eltaj (b) 2662 - GM Jones, Gawain C B (w) 2681 0 - 1

Gawain Jones ground down Eltaj Safarli in an endgame, and Luke McShane won a good game against Rauf Mamedov on board two in a Sveshnikov. Usually two rooks are better than a queen, but not this time.

Luke McShane World Team Chess Championship Astana 2019
Luke McShane, about to convert his queen-vs-rooks endgame. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Russia scored an expected victory over Egypt, although the latter managed to draw on two boards. Sweden suffered its second loss, this time to Kazakhstan. One match ended in 2-2 as Iran once again proved to be a force to reckon with, vs India.

Bo. Fed 1 India Rtg - Fed 2 Iran Rtg 2 : 2
5/1 GM Adhiban, B. (w) 2683 - GM Maghsoodloo, Parham (b) 2673 1 - 0
5/2 GM Sasikiran, Krishnan (b) 2678 - GM Idani, Pouya (w) 2604 0 - 1
5/3 GM Ganguly, Surya Shekhar (w) 2633 - GM Tabatabaei, M.Amin (b) 2600 ½ - ½
5/4 GM Sethuraman, S.P. (b) 2637 - GM Firouzja, Alireza (w) 2657 ½ - ½

The 23-year-old GM Pouya Idani isn't a name that's been mentioned a lot when there's talk about rising stars in the country. He does have a youth title though; he was the under-18 champion in 2013. Last year he won the Goa Open, and in today's match he beat the seasoned GM Krishnan Sasikiran:

The round three pairings include the big match China–Russia, as well as Iran–Sweden, Egypt–India, England–USA and Kazakhstan–Azerbaijan.

Women's section

The pre-tournament favorites China and Russia are the only two teams on four match points. It was the former world champion Tan Zhongyi that won the match for China vs Georgia today.

Bo. Fed 8 Georgia Rtg - Fed 4 China Rtg 1½:2½
3/1 GM Khotenashvili, Bela (w) 2474 - GM Tan, Zhongyi (b) 2513 0 - 1
3/2 IM Arabidze, Meri (b) 2392 - IM Shen, Yang (w) 2453 ½ - ½
3/3 IM Javakhishvili, Lela (w) 2455 - WGM Huang, Qian (b) 2441 ½ - ½
3/4 GM Batsiashvili, Nino (b) 2454 - GM Lei, Tingjie (w) 2477 ½ - ½

Tan Khotenashvili World Team Chess Championship Astana 2019
Khotenashvili vs Tan, the decisive game in the match. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Russia is looking strong after its convincing victory over Armenia, which only managed one draw in today's match.

Bo. Fed 1 Armenia Rtg - Fed 2 Russia Rtg ½ :3½
5/1 GM Danielian, Elina (w) 2402 - GM Lagno, Kateryna (b) 2559 0 - 1
5/2 IM Mkrtchian, Lilit (b) 2390 - GM Gunina, Valentina (w) 2515 ½ - ½
5/3 WFM Sargsyan, Anna M. (w) 2340 - GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra (b) 2504 0 - 1
5/4 WIM Ghukasyan, Siranush (b) 2221 - WGM Girya, Olga (w) 2456 0 - 1

Danielian Lagno World Team Chess Championship Astana 2019
Danielian (right) vs Lagno. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Round three pairings: Russia–Egypt, India–Armenia, China–Kazakhstan, USA–Georgia, Ukraine–Hungary.

You can follow the games of the tournament live at

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