World Teams: What's Going On With Russia?

World Teams: What's Going On With Russia?

| 7 | Chess Event Coverage

Ukraine and China are tied for first place at the World Team Championship in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia. With four rounds to go both teams have eight match points, with Ukraine sitting on an extra half-board-point. Russia only managed to win one match so far.

So far the main story about the World Teams is about Russia. What is going on with the red, blue and whites?

With four rounds to go Russia is four points behind leaders Ukraine and China, and so a gold medal will be almost impossible...once again.

After its loss against Ukraine, Russia again collected zero match points in the second round. It lost against Cuba, with the decisive game being Grischuk-Dominguez, 0-1 on board one.

The game became a battle of Cuban knights vs Russian bishops. After one trade of minor pieces, the queen-and-knight combination was stronger than the queen and bishop.

Ukraine suffered its only loss so far in the same round, against the hosting country Armenia. Also here, boards two, three, and four were drawn, but Aronian defeated Ponomariov:

Aronian and Ponomariov, about to start their game. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

In the third round Russia played 2-2 with China, the Olympic gold winner last year. That was a match with four draws. Cuba beat Armenia 2.5-1.5.

Hungary beat USA 2.5-1.5, but look how GM Sam Shankland drew with GM Peter Leko. It was all theory, but spectacular nonetheless!

The next day came the next disappointment for Russia, who only managed 2-2 vs USA. In a match with four 2700s vs four 2600s, that was an excellent result for the USA.

GM Sam Shankland and GM Alexander Onischuk held GM Alexander Grischuk and GM Sergey Karjakin to a draw. GM Varuzhan Akobian went down against GM Evgeny Tomashevsky.

The hero of the day was our Friday columnist GM Daniel Naroditsky, who beat GM Dmitry Jakovenko:

GM Daniel Naroditsky. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

In the fifth round on Thursday, Russia finally won a match, and with a bang: 3.5-0.5 vs Hungary. Only Leko held the draw vs Grischuk on board one. Here's Karjakin's win:

USA lost to Armenia 1.5-2.5, with Shankland keeping his fourth consecutive 2700-GM to a draw. This time Naroditsky was the one whose game decided the match in a negative way. 

A hard-fought draw between Shankland and Aronian. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

One player that deserves some attention is Egypt's GM Samy Shoker. Playing for a team that's surely going to finish in last place he lost three, but won two games.

In the second round, he beat GM Emil Sutovsky as Black, and in round five he even managed to win against Qatar Masters Open winner GM Yu Yangyi:

GM Samy Shoker. | Photo Arman Karakhanyan.

2015 World Team Championship | Round 5 Standings

Rank Team Gam. + = - MP Pts.
1 Ukraine 5 4 0 1 8 13
2 China 5 3 2 0 8 12½
3 Israel 5 3 1 1 7 12
4 Cuba 5 3 1 1 7 11½
5 India 5 2 1 2 5
6 Russia 5 1 2 2 4 10½
7 Armenia 5 2 0 3 4
8 Hungary 5 1 2 2 4
9 USA 5 0 2 3 2
10 Egypt 5 0 1 4 1


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

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