World Mind Games: Nepomniachtchi, Hou Yifan Win Basque

World Mind Games: Nepomniachtchi, Hou Yifan Win Basque

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Dec 18, 2014, 2:21 AM |
12 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia and GM Hou Yifan of China emerged as the winners of the Basque tournament at the World Mind Games.

Introduced last year in Beijing, the “Basque System” was the last of three chess events of the World Mind Games. Named after a tournament held in San Sebastian three years ago, the system basically entails playing two rapid games simultaneously against the same opponent.

This most remarkable event took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, with three (double!) rounds played on the first day and two more on the next. The time control was 20 minutes plus 10 seconds increment.

“Double chess”: the Basque system (image taken from the official video coverage).

The advantage of the system is, like in a double round robin, it eliminates the advantage of the white color.

You're playing two games, with each color, against one opponent. Therefore, strategy now also involves choosing on which board to calculate first, and moving quickly between boards!

Mariya Muzychuk, somewhere in between boards. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

In her official report, Alina l'Ami gave some tips for aspiring Basque players:

Basque is not too popular worldwide, so it is still unknown which is the best and most balanced match strategy. There have been speculations that taller players, with long arms and legs, have an advantage; stretching abilities and a good physical condition are not only recommended but absolutely essential! And those practicing Yoga may also have the upper hand...

Here you can watch the mini-match Harikrishna vs Nepomniachtchi with commentary by GM Erwin l'Ami and IM Alina l'Ami:

It was Ian Nepomniachtchi who prevented Alexander Grischuk from clinching his third gold in Beijing. For starters, he won the individual “match” in the second round, 1.5-0.5. Both games were fascinating:

Ian Nepomniachtchi was the strongest in the Basque tournament. | Photo Alina l'Ami.


In the same round, the following, absolutely amazing draw between Aronian and Radjabov was played. On the other board the players also split the point.

Don't miss Teimour Radjabov's textbook combination against Pentala Harikrishna; to be included in the chapter “demolish the kingside.”


Radjabov eventually grabbed silver here, and bronze went to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave — it was the other way around in the blitz tournament.

2014 World Mind Games | Basque, Final Standings

Rank SNo. Title Name Rtg Fed Pts Res. Vict. BLR Ø
1 7 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2801 RUS 0 5 5 2747
2 11 GM Radjabov Teimour 2776 AZE 6 0 4 5 2770
3 4 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2728 FRA 6 0 3 5 2761
4 5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2739 AZE 6 0 3 5 2747
5 14 GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2763 CUB 2 3 5 2767
6 2 GM Grischuk Alexander 2828 RUS 0 4 5 2760
7 3 GM Leko Peter 2773 HUN 0 2 5 2767
8 10 GM Wang Hao 2719 CHN 5 1 4 5 2783
9 12 GM Aronian Levon 2813 ARM 5 1 2 5 2720
10 6 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2684 POL 0 1 5 2747
11 1 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2738 UKR 0 1 5 2742
12 13 GM Wang Yue 2765 CHN 0 0 5 2754
13 9 GM Harikrishna P. 2701 IND 4 0 2 5 2773
14 8 GM Gelfand Boris 2719 ISR 4 0 0 5 2756
15 16 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2811 UKR 0 0 5 2740
16 15 GM Bacrot Etienne 2731 FRA 3 0 1 5 2751

After winning the blitz, World Champion Hou Yifan also finished first in the Basque tournament. It was close, though: after four rounds her compatriot Zhao Xue was topping the standings with 6.0/8.

Zhao playing Valentina Gunina. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

However, Zhao went down 2-0 against Alexandra Kosteniuk, while Hou defeated Humpy Koneru (at that point shared second with her opponent, half a point behind Zhao) also with 2-0.

An important moment was the following.



2014 World Mind Games | Basque (Women), Final Standings

Rank SNo. Title Name Rtg Fed Pts Res. Vict. BLR Ø
1 1 GM Hou Yifan 2600 CHN 0 7 5 2544
2 16 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2577 RUS 7 0 6 5 2491
3 13 GM Zhao Xue 2485 CHN 6 0 5 5 2550
4 2 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2578 BUL 6 0 5 5 2526
5 11 GM Koneru Humpy 2611 IND 0 5 5 2539
6 12 GM Ju Wenjun 2555 CHN 0 5 5 2490
7 6 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2547 GEO 0 4 5 2525
8 9 GM Muzychuk Anna 2546 UKR 0 4 5 2522
9 4 GM Gunina Valentina 2552 RUS 5 0 4 5 2515
10 10 GM Ushenina Anna 2489 UKR 5 0 4 5 2511
11 15 GM Harika Dronavalli 2421 IND 0 2 5 2524
12 3 GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2505 RUS 0 3 5 2562
13 7 GM Cramling Pia 2443 SWE 0 3 5 2498
14-15 5 IM Muzychuk Mariya 2445 UKR 3 2 3 5 2499
14-15 8 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2407 GEO 3 2 3 5 2499
16 14 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2485 GER 3 2 3 5 2464


A thumbs up from representatives of different mind sports. Photo Alina l'Ami.

The World Mind Games took place December 11-17 in Beijing, China. It was a multi-sport event that includes five mind sports: bridge, chess, draughts, go and xiangqi (Chinese chess).

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