10th World Team Chess Championship: Tsakhkadzor 2015

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Basic data

10th World Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Dates: 18th - 29th April 2015
City: Tsakhkadzor, Armenia
Venue: Golden Palace Hotel
Tournament Director: GM Smbat Lputian (ARM)
Chief Arbiter: IA Ashot Vardapetian (ARM)
Deputy Chief Arbiter: IA Stephane Escafre (FRA)
Teams participating: According to FIDE Regulations D.
Armenia - host nation;
Russia - defending champions from 2013 World Team Ch
Azerbaijan - winners of 2013 European Team Ch (did not arrive)
China - winners of 2014 Asian Team Cup
United States - winners of 2013 Panamerican Team Ch
Egypt - winners of 2011 All-Africa Games;
China, Hungary, India, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Cuba - best teams from 2014 Olympiad*
Israel - team nominated by FIDE president;

* if any team would have already qualified according to one of the above criteria, its place would be given to the next highest ranked country in the Olympiad preceding the Women’s World Team Championship
Players participating: 50 (incl. 47 GMs and 3 IMs)
Games played: 180
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Match points; 2. Game points
Time control: 40 moves in 90 minutes + 30 minutes for the rest of the game, 30 sec. increment starting from move
Website: http://wtcc2015.am
Other websites: ChessBase reports: r3, r5, r6, r7, r8, finish
Official logo: Tsakhkadzor  2015
Downloadable game file: 15wtch.zip

Tournament review

Top favorite Russia had a bad start at the World Team Championship in Tsaghkadzor with a first-round loss to Ukraine. Armenia also went down, against Israel. The pairings of the World Team Championship resulted in a match between the number-one and two-seeded teams in the very first round. Russia came to Tsaghkadzor with clear intentions, bringing a squad of five 2730+ players! Nevertheless, it lost right away. In a match where three games ended in draws (including Karjakin-Ivanchuk on board one), Ukraine's GM Pavel Eljanov's win over GM Evgeny Tomashevsky proved decisive. More or less the same happened in the Armenia-Israel match. Board one (Gelfand-Aronian) was drawn, and so were boards two and three. GM Vladimir Akopian, a member of the golden Olympic team in 2006, 2008 and 2012, couldn't help his team this time. And if we continue the theme, the U.S. loss to higher rated China was rather acceptable with again three draws. Board one decided this match, where half of the game was an interesting queen ending with lots of pawns. Egypt is by far the lowest-rated participant, and so it...will be learning a lot in this tournament. In the first round Egypt lost 3-1 to India but scored one win. Mohamed Ezat refuted S.P. Sethuraman's reckless play in an important variation of the Caro-Kann. Hungary and Cuba tied 2-2 with two wins and two draws each. Quesada showed how to play as White against the Modern: as aggressive as possible. Rapport didn't have much of a chance.

Round 2. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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.

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 sixth round took place after the rest day. On that day, April 24, Armenians around the world had something else on their minds. Both China and Ukraine won their round six matches, and in similar fashion: draws on boards one, two and three, and decisive results on board four. For China it was the young star GM Wei Yi who sealed the deal against Israel. The 15-year-old grandmaster played fantastic chess in Tsaghkadzor, with five wins and four draws. After gaining 15.9 Elo points he is now 34th in the world in the live ratings list with 2717.5. GM Yuriy Kryvoruchko was the match winner for Ukraine against Cuba. It was a game where the white player clearly had himself to blame, with several unforced errors and a self-mate to top it off. Russia scored its second straight win: 2.5-1.5 against India. Armenian and Hungary played 2-2 and USA defeated Egypt 3-1.

The top encounter between China and Ukraine was played in round seven and ended in 2-2. Ivanchuk's convincing win over Yu, who really didn't stand a chance. In a difficult position he dropped an exchange, and after that Chuky was very accurate. When every single bit of counterplay was neutralized, Yu resigned. USA scored an excellent win over Israel, with another 2700-draw for Shankland (against Gelfand), a loss for Onischuk (versus Smirin) but wins for Lenderman and Naroditsky (versus Sutovsky and Postny respectively). Russia suffered yet another loss, this time to Armenia. Three games were drawn, but GM Sergey Karjakin went down against GM Gabriel Sargissian. Something went wrong early on, because White was controlling everything more or less from the start. An impressive game! GM Richard Rapport was incredibly creative again in his game with GM Ahmed Adly, who joined the party with some inventive moves as well. It's enough to mention the opening moves and you'll want to see the whole game: 1.b3 a5 2. e4 a4 3.b4 e6 4.Bb2 d5 5. a3 dxe4 6. Nc3 Nf6 7.g4!?. Eventually the Egyptian player came out on top.

The eighth round was a key one for the tournament. Ukraine suffered a surprising defeat against USA, who drew on boards one, three and four but won board two. The hero of the day was GM Aleksandr Lenderman, who brought down the mighty GM Vassily Ivanchuk. Meanwhile, China simply continued winning: a solid 3-1 without losses against Cuba. Another nice one from Wei Yi, who used his king in the endgame to create a checkmake pattern.

Ukrained dropped another match point in the final round against Hungary. China defeated India and thus finished three match points ahead of the pack. A most convincing win for the Olympic champions, who can now call themselves world champions too. It's no surprise that Wei Yi had the best performance on board four. Both GM Yuniesky Quesada Perez (Cuba) and GM Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia) scored 5.5/8 on board three. GM Aleksandr Lenderman had the best percentage score on board two, with 5.0/7. With an undefeated 6.0/9, GM Levon Aronian scored the best on board one.

/ Based on reports by Peter Doggers from chess.com /

Best board results

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Aronian, Levon Armenia ARM 6 9 66.7
2. GM Ding Liren China CHN 9 61.1
3. GM Domínguez Pérez, Leinier Cuba CUB 5 9 55.6

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Lenderman, Aleksandr United States USA 5 7 71.4
2. GM Ivanchuk, Vasyl Ukraine UKR 9 61.1
3. GM Karjakin, Sergei Russia RUS 8 56.3

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Quezada Pérez, Yuniesky Cuba CUB 8 68.8
2. GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny Russia RUS 8 68.8
3. GM Smirin, Ilia Israel ISR 7 64.3

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Wei Yi China CHN 7 9 77.8
2. GM Kryvoruchko, Yuriy Ukraine UKR 6 75.0
3. GM Moiseenko, Olexandr Ukraine UKR 4 6 66.7

Interesting games

The game became a battle of Cuban knights vs Russian bishops.
Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) - Domínguez Pérez, Leinier (CUB) 0 - 1

The game was utterly unusual and the result was unconventional too.
Rapport, Richárd (HUN) - Adly, Ahmed (EGY) 0 - 1

Look what happend to Sutovsky's king!
Sutovsky, Emil (ISR) - Lenderman, Aleksandr (USA) 0 - 1