2nd World Team Chess Championship: Lucerne 1989

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Basic data

2nd World Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 27th October - 9rd November 1989
City: Lucerne, Switzerland
Venue: Grand Casino Luzern
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: Switzerland - host nation;
USSR, England, Netherlands, USA, Hungary, Yugoslavia - top six teams from 1988 Olympiad;
China - winners of Asian play-off;
Cuba - winners of 1987 Panamerican Team Championship;
Africa - Combined Team.
Please note: no European Team Championship was held since last WTCh.
Players participating: 60 (incl. 38 GMs, 20 IMs and 1 FM)
Games played: 180
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points; 3. Direct score
Time control: N/A
Downloadable game file: 89wtch.zip

Tournament review

The second ever World Team Championship was held in Lucerne, the same as in 1985. Due to failure of 1986 European Team Championship as much as 6 top teams from Thessaloniki Olympiad qualified. Two other continental champions came to Lucerne: China, the Asian champions and Cuba, who won the Panamerican cup. Africa, same as in 1985, sent combined team. Switzerland qualified as host nation to complete the ten. The Philippines were first reserves, but unfortunately no-one withdrew. The round robin system had been preserved but the number of boards was reduced to four to making it compatible with the Olympiad format.

The Soviets were big favourites, of course, with Karpov and Beliavsky at top boards. Kasparov was missing as he did not seem to be interested in this sort of event. England, the runner-ups from Thessaloniki sent their iron squad to Lucerne and were recognized as major contenders. Holland (another Olympic medalists) saw Timman (who did not play at the Olympiad) at top board and top five men from Olympic squad. USA were missing Gulko and Benjamin but Fedorowicz appeared at second board as some consolation. Hungary's prospects seemed poor at first glance as their top stars Portisch and Ribli were missing from the squad. Yugoslavia, lead by Ljubojević and Nikolić, were the team to send six GMs to Lucerne. Team Africa, commonly said to be by far the weakest, comprised of 2 Egyptians, an Algerian, an Angolan, a Tunisian and a Moroccan.

The Soviet Union took off well as expected wiping out Africa easily. Switzerland beat USA thanks to Kortschnoj who defeated Fedorowicz at top board. Holland dropped clear 2 points vs Cuba. On day two USA produced another disappointment for their fans losing 3-1 to USSR and the Netherlands lost sensationally to Africa. England-Hungary went on for four draws, same as England's round one match. In round 3 the Soviets clearly extended their lead with another huge win (3½-½ over Yugoslavia). USA recovered hammering desperately poor Holland 3-1. England moved into joint 2nd thanks to 3-1 over Switzerland. Standings: USSR 10, Hungary and England 7. Day four saw USSR beating modestly the host nation (only Gurevich managed Franzoni). England hammered Cuba 3-1 despite Speelman's loss. Hungary dropped two draws vs Africa and Yugoslavia easily ran over pathetic Dutchmen. On day 5 USSR extended their lead with a thumping 3-1 over England whereas Yugoslavia destroyed China and Hungary lost to USA virtually losing any chances to level on points with the leaders. With four days to go standings were: USSR 15½ ahead of Hungary and Yugoslavia 11½, then England 11. On the next day Yugoslavia moved into clear second position beating Hungary in the top clash of the day with three draws at top three boards and Damljanović beating Lukács at bottom board to decide the match result. USSR-Holland 3½-½ was far from sensational result. England were still within medal zone but modest 2½-1½ over Africa was not the result of their dreams. Round seven was a piece of cake for the Soviets who demolished China to virtually seal their gold medals. Yugoslavia fought hard only to achieve a draw vs Cuba and were caught by England who ran over the Netherlands. Kortschnoj's excellent win over Sax lead the hosts to an unexpected win over Hungary to throw the Hungarians 1½ point behind the medal area. In the penultimate round Hungary made up for a lost ground halving vs USSR (Adorján lost to Karpov but Tolnai beat Gurevich) and USA suffered humiliating debacle vs England who won at top three boards and drew at board 4. Yugoslavia's 3½-½ over Africa let them level on points with England. Holland bottomed out losing 3½-½ again. With one round to go USSR were in huge lead with 24½ and already impossible to dethrone. England and Yugoslavia were lying in tied second with 19½. Hungary were fourth but clear 3 points behind - far too much to dream about reaching the podium. USSR polished the victory off smoothly with a 3-1 vs Cuba. The Yugoslavs won both games with white pieces and drew with black to beat USA 3-1 and win silver as England barely drew in a fierce battle vs China (no draws though and Short lost to Ye). Holland were lucky to scratch four draws vs Hungary and finish in 9th, a point ahead of Africa.

The Soviet Union triumphed with impressive ease despite Karpov's limited activity. They lost only two games and Ivanchuk went on for a thumping record of 6½/7. They were 5 points ahead of the runner-ups and they produced best individual performances at boards 2, 4 and 5.Yugoslavia were obviously happy to see themselves in second position in their only WTCh appearance until today. The medal must be credited mainly to the top two boards Ljubojević and Nikolić who both played all 9 games and scored +4 in overall (only one game lost). But it was Damljanović at bottom board who scored excellent 6/7 to boost team's performance mostly. England easily took bronze while Hungary never seemed like it since they only won 6 games (!) and none of them at top two boards. Switzerland's good 6th must be credited only to a superb veteran Kortschnoj who had best individual result at board 1. Holland's performance was a disaster and a team with such players as Timman, Van der Wiel, Sosonko and Piket managed only 2 game wins of a total 36. A rock-bottom for them.

Best board results

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Kortschnoj, Viktor SUI 6 9 66.7
2. GM Short, Nigel David ENG 8 56.3
3. GM Ljubojević, Ljubomir YUG 5 9 55.6

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Beliavsky, Alexander URS 5 6 83.3
2. GM Nikolić, Predrag YUG 6 9 66.7
3. GM Speelman, Jonathan Simon ENG 6 58.3

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM De Firmian, Nick USA 4 6 66.7
1. GM Grószpéter, Attila HUN 4 6 66.7
3. GM Popović, Petar YUG 3 5 60.0

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Vaganian, Rafael URS 6 75.0
2. GM Chandler, Murray Graham ENG 4 6 66.7
3. IM Horváth, József HUN 6 58.3

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Ivanchuk, Vasyl URS 7 92.9
2. GM Christiansen, Larry USA 4 6 66.7
3. GM Adams, Michael ENG 5 50.0
3. GM Hernández, Román CUB 3 6 50.0
3. IM Boudiba, Mahfoud AFR 3 6 50.0

2nd Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Damljanović, Branko YUG 6 7 85.7
2. GM Gurevich, Mikhail URS 5 6 83.3
3. IM Tolnai, Tibor HUN 5 70.0

Interesting games

Karpov's endgame mastery zugzwanged Short.
Karpov, Anatoly (URS) - Short, Nigel (ENG) 1 - 0

Amazing that Gurevich didn't lose his nerves
as his Queen was pinned for so long...
Gurevich, Mikhail (URS) - Franzoni, Giancarlo (SUI) 1 - 0

What a crowd in the middle of the board!
Short, Nigel (ENG) - Seirawan, Yasser (USA) 1 - 0

The Queen has been trapped, game over.
Ivanchuk, Vasyl (URS) - Sosonko, Gennadi (NED) 1 - 0

Strategical advantage converted into "small tactics" -
and he went on for a nice win.
Ehlvest, Jaan (URS) - Chandler, Murray (ENG) 0 - 1

Queenside advantage compensated weakness of white squares.
Hamdouchi, Hichem (AFR) - Fedorowicz, John (USA) 1 - 0

Is that one called "The Dzindzo-Indian defence"?
Piket, Jeroen (NED) - Dzindzichashvili, Roman (USA) ½ - ½

Shortest decisive game.
Ivanchuk, Vasyl (URS) - Velimirović, Dragoljub (YUG) 1 - 0