Chess

USA and China take gold in Baku Chess Olympiad

The United States of America have won their first Olympic gold medals since 1976 after a grueling and exciting last round. Despite clearly outrating opponents and neighbors Canada, they could only manage a 2.5-1.5 win.

This gave rivals Ukraine a chance to overtake them on tie-breaks; they did put in a spirited performance, culminating in a 3.5-0.5 win against Slovenia, but it turned out not to be enough.

Thus, the Open section of the Baku Chess Olympiad concluded in a tie for first place, with the American team celebrating victory by the narrowest of margins.

Baku Crystal Hall

Baku Crystal Hall

The pre-tournament favorites Russia could only manage winning bronze, courtesy of a convincing win against Italy. The youthful team of India finished 4th, followed by record performances by Norway (5th), Turkey (6th) and Peru (10th), while Greece (18th) remained the only other undefeated team in the tournament (along with the USA).

The Women’s section’s gold medals would be decided in the last-round clash between China and Russia. Despite a promising start for the Russians, the perseverance of the Chinese team helped them prevail in the end with a 2,5-1,5 victory; this defeat left their opponents out of the medals altogether.

The Polish ladies won silver on tie-break over Ukraine.

Thanks to their excellent performance in both sections, Ukraine won the combined Gaprindashvili Cup.

Fairmont Baku Flame Towers

In the special rating categories, rewarding lower-rated teams that overperformed, there were medals for India, Iran, the third team of Azerbaijan, Sudan and Chinese Taipei (Open section), as well as for Russia, Belarus, Malaysia, Syria and Indonesia. Finally, 28 international title norms were scored in the event.

List of best board performances and individual medal winners below.

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Open Board 1

1 GM Jobava Baadur Georgia 2926
2 GM Dominguez Perez Leinier Cuba 2839
3 GM Caruana Fabiano United States of America 2838

Board 2

1 GM Kramnik Vladimir Russia 2903
2 GM Kovalyov Anton Canada 2852
3 GM Cori Jorge Peru 2810

Board 3

1 GM So Wesley United States of America 2896
2 GM Almasi Zoltan Hungary 2845
3 GM Torre Eugenio Philippines 2836

Board 4

1 GM Fressinet Laurent France 2809
2 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian Russia 2804
3 GM Indjic Aleksandar Serbia 2786

Board 5

1 GM Volokitin Andrei Ukraine 2992
2 IM Khader Sami Jordan 2932
3 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej Belarus 2760

Women Board 1

1 GM Muzychuk Anna Ukraine 2629
2 GM Hou Yifan China 2547
3 GM Cramling Pia Sweden 2537

Board 2

1 GM Gunina Valentina Russia 2643
2 GM Ju Wenjun China 2501
3 IM Daulyte Deimante Lithuania 2481

Board 3

1 WGM Mammadova Gulnar Azerbaijan 1 2559
2 WGM Szczepkowska-Horowska Karina Poland 2547
3 WGM Nguyen Thi Mai Hung Vietnam 2442

Board 4

1 WGM Tan Zhongyi China 2565
2 IM Batsiashvili Nino Georgia 2533
3 WGM Kulon Klaudia Poland 2506

Board 5

1 IM Guo Qi China 2394
2 WIM Navrotescu Andreea-Cristiana France 2285
3 IM Gara Anita Hungary 2277

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