World Team Championship has started

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
World Team ChYesterday the World Team Championship started in Bursa, Turkey. The participating teams are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Russia, Turkey and the USA. Quite a few strong players (such as Aronian, Gelfand, Grischuk and Nakamura) travelled to Turkey, where in the first round Azerbaijan defeated Armenia thanks to Mamedyarov, who beat Pashikian.

To our surprise we found out that the World Team Ch is a tournament we've never covered before at ChessVibes, simply because the last edition was held before this site even existed! The event, an invitational round-robin, is being held every four years, and was established in 1985. The first edition, in Lucerne, was won comfortably by the USSR. (France, led by former World Champion Spassky did surprisingly well finishing in fourth position.) The last edition was in 2005, when China was performing very well. Russia had to beat the Chinese by 3½-½ in the last round to outpace them and they did it. (More historical details at the great Olimpbase.)

The 7th edition, the '2009 World Team Championship' takes place at the Merinos Congress Centre in Bursa, Turkey from January 3rd till 14th, 2010. It's a 9-round round-robin with 10 teams of 6 players ('athletes', according to the official website): 4 players + 2 reserves, and one coach/captain. The time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves +30 minutes to end the game, with 30 seconds increment from the start. At the tournament the zero-tolerance rule is in effect, and draw offers are not allowed before move 30.

Here are the participating teams with their line-ups:

World Team Ch 2010 | Teams & players

Sergey Karjakin was supposed to play his first team event for Russia, after he changed federations, but due to some unclear restrictions of FIDE he was not able to play in Bursa for Russia yet. (In the comments, ebutaljib makes clear that it's not so unclear.) He was replaced by Jakovenko.

It's a bit of a strange event, with some very strong teams but also some weak ones. The qualifiying rules are:

Continental Champions: Russia, Brazil, China, Egypt 3 Qualifiers from Olympiad: Armenia, Israel, USA Organiser Country and two invited federations by FIDE President's approval: Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Greece.

Somehow the World Team Championship never became a really prestigious event, where all the top teams and players play. Dutch GM Loek van Wely already expressed his disappointment back in 2005:

Between the WTCh 2001 and the WTCh 2005 three European Team Championships have taken place, of which The Netherlands managed to win two. Unfortunately this did not give us the right to participate in the WTCh. As you can see, Fide really appreciates winning the strongest continental championships.

Back to 2010. The first round was played yesterday; it was delayed by one day and the rest day was canceled. The tournament website says that

by the Request of FIDE and consultation of the Chief Arbiter of event the first round moved to 5th January and free day cancelled. That is only for giving more time to players to prepare for their opponents. All players, and coaches as it is clearly mentioned in regulations must participate to the Opening Ceremony on 4th January at 10:00 am.

"More time to prepare" is quite a remarkable reason to postpone a first round, we must say. No doubt some players would have preferred to arrive a day later, but well, at least they can safely skip the planned excursion this way.

India replaced China, who dropped out as the Asian representative shortly before the tournament. The organizers were not very happy about this, to put it mildly, considering the way they communicate this on the tournament website:

Just one week before event starts, 23 December evening, Chinese Chess Association withdrew from event. That is very pitty [sic], considering talented young Chinese Team, and no reason beyond that scandelous withdrawal. Fortunately, the owner of the 2nd place of Asian Team Championship, India, jumped on the seat and accepted to participate.

The reason for China's absence is probably a political one, connected to the ethnic and religious connections between Turkey and the Uyghur minority in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang. In the last few months, diplomatic relations between China and Turkey have gone from bad to worse.

Back to chess. Here are the results of the first round, the standings and the games. Don't miss Can-Shulman.

World Team Ch 2010 | Results round 1

World Team Ch 2010 | Round 1 standings

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