6th World Team Chess Championship: Beer Sheva 2005

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Basic data

6th World Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 31st October - 11th November 2005
City: Beer Sheva, Israel
Venue: The Yad Lebanim House
Chairman of Organizing Committee: Mr. Israel Gelfer (ISR)
Director of Organizing Committee: Mr. Israel Zinger (ISR)
Chief Arbiter: IA Nikolopoulos Panagiotis (GRE)
Teams participating: Israel - host nation;
Ukraine, Russia, Armenia - top three teams from 2004 Olympiad;
China (women) - winners of women's 2004 Olympiad;
Georgia - third at 2003 European Team Championship (winners Russia and runners-up Israel already qualified);
China - winners of 2003 Asian Team Championship;
Cuba - winners of 2003 Panamerican Team Championship;
Egypt - winners of 2003 All-Africa Games(did not arrive);
Netherlands - invited to substitute Egypt (did not arrive);
USA - invited team.
Players participating: 60 (incl. 54 GMs, 2 WGMs and 1 WIM)
Games played: 144
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points; 3. Direct score; 4. Berlin system; 5. Extra match; 6. Drawing of lots
Time control: 40 moves in 100 minutes, then 20 moves in 50 minutes, then 10 minutes for the rest of the game. 30 seconds added after every move.
Official logo: BEER SHEVA 2005
Website: http://www.wccisrael.com (dead)
Other Websites: Alon Greenfeld's daily reports (pdf, 5 MB)
WTCh news from www.fide.com
ChessBase reports: report 1, report 2, report 3
Daily comments by Ignacio Dee at ECU site (cached)
WTCh kibitzing at www.chessgames.com
Some annotated games from WTCh: part 1, part 2
Downloadable game file: 05wtch.zip

Tournament review

The Yad Lebanim HotelThe 6th World Team Championship took place in the Beer Sheva city, Israel. Most of the world's strongest teams took part including defending World and Olympiad Champions Ukraine, Calvia medal winners Russia and Armenia, Asian Champions China, Israel, the host team and others. There was a great deal of controversy over participation of Dutch team. The Netherlands won the 2005 European Team Championship but the WTCh qualifier was the 2003 Championship. Georgia qualified instead from 2003 event though they finished only in third (Russia and Israel, the two winning teams have already qualified). What was strictly in line with FIDE rules was not very warmly welcomed by some players who criticized the system (read here for example). Also, according to FIDE Executive Board resolution women's Olympiad winners have now permanent tickets for WTCh.

The opening ceremonyA total of eight players were rated over 2700: 3 from Russia, 2 from Ukraine and Armenia and one from Israel. Many regretted that the event did not have honour to host mega stars like Topalov, Anand or Lékó. Russia were strongest side according to ELO tables lying 20 points ahead of Ukraine and next 20 points over Israel and Armenia. These team were big fish of the Championship. The rest of teams were rated no less than 60 points lower than top four.

Bird's view at the game hallIn the first round Russia beat Cuba 3-1, with Svidler and Morozevich winning their games on boards one and four against Bruzon and Quezada. Dreev and Grischuk drew. The USA defeated Georgia 2½-1½, the winner coming from Ibragimov against Pantsulaia. Armenia and Israel drew 2-2, while the Chinese men ungallantly trounced the Chinese women 4-0. In the round two Cuba defeated the Chinese Women 3-1, Georgia lost to Armenia 1-3, and Ukraine defeated the US 2½-1½, with Ivanchuk and Volokytin scoring against Onischuk and Goldin, and Eljanov losing to Ibragimov. In the top encounter Russia defeated hosts Israel 2½-1½ to grab solo lead at 5½ points, ahead of Armenia. On day three Russia beat Georgia 2½-1½ to maintain lead with 8 points. Armenia upset Olympiad champions Ukraine 2½-1½ to trail in second with 7½ points in a tie with China men who wiped out Cuba 3½-½ while Israel beat relentless Chinese women by only 2½-1½.

GM Pantsulaia wearing his dark glassesOn day four Russia beat Olympic Champions Ukraine. Grischuk picked decisive win beating Volokytin who played quite poorly on that day. The Chinese men stepping from one win to another beat hosts Israel 2½-1½ to trail a half point behind Russia. Armenia and the USA decided that two free days are not enough and made four short draws. The Chinese women continued their recovery with a lucky draw against Georgia. On the next day China overwhelmed Georgia 3½-½ as the Georgians, again without Azmaiparashvili, had reasonable positions, but suddenly collapsed. Russia beat USA, or we should rather write USSR "A" beat USSR "B" as far as place of birth is concerned. Israel ran over Cuba but only by the smallest possible margin. Sunday was the rest day for everyone (thus Israel and Armenia having two rest days in a row!). Standings in the halfway: China 13½ (extra match to play); Russia 13; Israel 10; Armenia 9½; Ukraine 9. In round six the Chinese again proved their superiority disposing of Ukraine who definitely lost chances to defend the title. Russia beat Armenia 2½-1½. As in the previous round, against USA, Evgeny Bareev brought the victory with the only decisive game of the match. USA moved into third position with a ruthless 4-0 vs Chinese women.

Ni Hua-Morozevich, the most important game of the eventStunning China beat the USA 3½-½ on day seven to pull away with the lead at 19½ points, clear 4 points ahead of second running Russia who received a two point bye on that day. There were many who claimed Chinese chess crossed yet another threshold on that day, very much like the famous game Liu – Donner played at the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1978. Armenia dropped two fractions vs Chinese women while Israel lost badly to Georgia with the winner coming from Pantsulaia, the player widely recognized from wearing dark sunglasses while playing, like Benko and Korchnoi in distant past. Cuba held Ukraine to a draw, not satisfactory for anybody. Penultimate round saw China's premier defeat as they lost to Armenia by the smallest possible margin scoring three draws and one loss (Asrian beat Ni Hua). Russia were not fully satisfied with the day summary though as they dropped a clear point vs Chinese women. Rublevsky had the better game vs Shen Yang throughout but couldn't find a clear win. He got confused, declined move repetition and suddenly found himself in deep trouble and lost. With last round to be played China retained considerable 2½ point advantage over Russia and both teams were drawn to play each other in the last round. Armenia held third spot ahead of Ukraine who beat disappointing Israel.

This is heaven! (Morozevich won)...and this is hell... (Ni Hua lost)Things couldn't have gone more exciting that last round's Russia-China clash. The Russians needed to overtake the Chinese by the margin no less than 3½-½ which seemed sheer imagination. But the impossible came true and the Russians went back to the top in a splendid style just to take a draw at board one and clean up on bottom boards which put them a fraction ahead of despaired Chinese. The tension was indescribable when Russia led 2½-½ and needed another win in the last game to finish. Eventually Morozevich converted his advantage in an endgame of Rooks and Bishops of opposite colors vs Chinese teen Ni Hua, whose eyes filled up in tears. A brisk draw vs Cuba sealed Armenia's third bronze. Ukraine finished in fourth ahead of USA. Israel came only 6th.

Russia have won again. Team captain Dolmatov and his men (l-r): Svidler, Dreev, RublevskyThus the Russians fulfilled their goal, which became all the more important after the Gothenburg fiasco. Bareev's performance at 2968 ELO is one of all-time best. The Chinese must be extremely disappointed after already having the world title in the bag. But they played absolutely brilliantly throughout the event and proved that they belong to the top of the top. Having virtually four men (two reserves played a total of three games only) they came in excellent second with four +2700 scores. Armenia came third again (like in 2001 and 1997 WTCh, or 2004 and 2002 Olympiad, or 1997 European TCh!) being an extremely firm team - only two game loses out of 32. Legendary Vaganian was and still is the only man to compete in all of six World Team Championships held so far. The Ukrainians, holding both Olympic and World Championship were quite disappointing. The team of kids did not manage to retain top form from memorable Calvia Olympiad scoring only +3 at 2640 ELO (some 50 points below par). Also Israel mustn't be proud of what they've created at home. Smirin's best result at board #2 is sort of consolation but was more than balanced by Sutovsky's pathetic 1/5. Appearance of Chinese women was certainly huge social support but it still couldn't be taken seriously from purely chess point of view.

/ Photos and comments based on reports from fide.com, wccisrael.com and chessbase.com /

Individual medals

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Svidler, Peter RUS 5 7 71.4
2. GM Bu Xiangzhi CHN 5 8 62.5
2. GM Aronian, Levon ARM 5 8 62.5

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR 5 70.0
1. GM Smirin, Ilia ISR 5 70.0
3. GM Zhang Pengxiang CHN 6 58.3

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Grischuk, Alexander RUS 7 64.3
1. GM Asrian, Karen ARM 7 64.3
3. GM Ni Hua CHN 5 8 62.5

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Morozevich, Alexander RUS 7 78.6
2. GM Zhang Zhong CHN 5 7 71.4
3. GM Avrukh, Boris ISR 3 6 50.0
3. GM Nogueiras, Jesús CUB 3 6 50.0

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Bareev, Evgeny RUS 6 91.7
2. GM Ibragimov, Ildar USA 6 75.0
3. GM Arencibia, Walter CUB 3 5 60.0

2nd Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Karjakin, Serhyi UKR 7 64.3
2. GM Anastasian, Ashot ARM 5 50.0
3. GM Erenburg, Sergey* ISR 1 4 25.0
3. GM Gagunashvili, Merab* GEO 1 4 25.0

* these are not mistakes. Official FIDE rules clearly state that medals for best board results are given to best players who took part in at least 50% of the rounds. Since only four players completed at least four games all of them were put at the medal list (no tie-breaks are used in case of equal percentage score). See FIDE's handbook chapter D.III.07, article 8.6.4.

Interesting games

The last game of the last round decided who the winner will be.
Ni Hua (CHN) - Morozevich, Alexander (RUS) 0 - 1

Gelfand's position was no good at all but he blundered to lose immediately.
Gelfand, Boris (ISR) - Svidler, Peter (RUS) 0 - 1

Pair of Bishops is usually ample reward for sacrificed Rook but not this time.
Aronian, Levon (ARM) - Ivanchuk, Vasyl (UKR) 1 - 0

Black Rook trapped in the corner and left undefended.
Ibragimov, Ildar (USA) - Pantsulaia, Levan (GEO) 1 - 0

Both Kings were exposed to major piece attack.
Eljanov, Pavel (UKR) - Morozevich, Alexander (RUS) ½ - ½

Shortest decisive game.
Avrukh, Boris (ISR) - Huang Qian (CHNw) 1 - 0

What a game! Black first sacrificed Queen then underpromoted.
Shen Yang (CHNw) - Zhou Jianchao (CHN) 0 - 1

Far-sighted sacrifice of a very appealing passed pawn
to go into a won pawn endgame.
Bu Xiangzhi (CHN) - Jobava, Baadur (GEO) 1 - 0

That is what we call a mortal back rank attack.
Ivanchuk, Vasyl (UKR) - Onischuk, Alexander (USA) 1 - 0