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World Chess Team Championship starts with fireworks

world-team-chess-2013The 2013 edition of the World Chess Team Championship is off to an exciting start at Antalya, Turkey. With multiple GMs over 2700 ELO and balanced teams, the show in Turkey is guaranteed.

Germany, Azernaijan, and Ukraine are in the lead with full match points 4,0/4. They are closely followed by Armenia with 3,0/4. The rating favorite Russia is near the bottom of the table with 1,0/4, after drawing with Armenia at the start and losing to USA in round 2.

Scroll down for full standings and round reports. Do not forget to visit the official website, which is rapidly updated and features video broadcast with GM Oleksienko and IM Arduman.

More: Official website / Live games with analysis / Watch TCEC Superfinal / Play free online chess

Round 3 top games

Levon Aronian 2801 – Hikaru Nakamura 2786 (live with Komodo, Stockfish, and Houdini here)
Sergei Movsesian 2700 – Gata Kamsky 2721 (live with Komodo, Stockfish, and Houdini here)
Vassily Ivanchuk 2731 – Rauf Mamedov 2647 (live with Komodo, Stockfish, and Houdini here)
Vladimir Kramnik 2793 – Li Chao B 2679 (live with Komodo, Stockfish, and Houdini here)

All games live with analysis

Round 1 report

2013 World Team Chess Championship has started today in a very combative mood, perhaps the stormy weather in Antalya inspired players to fight at any cost, who knows? In any case, fortunately for chess fans, the opening round was rich in chess content and almost all the games were very instructive and exciting.

The most important pairing of the round was obviously the epic Russia-Armenia battle. The main favourites of the tournament fought until the bitter end. Perhaps the most expected game of the tournament, Kramnik-Aronian, saw a very sharp struggle in a Botvinnik Slav. The exchange sacrifice of Kramnik resulted in an queen+bishop vs. queen+rook ending, where Kramnik had two pawns for the exchange. The position was in dynamic equilibrium and although Kramnik tried a bit to play for a win, Aronian never let him get anything and finally the ex-champion decided to repeat the moves. Replay Kramnik – Aronian here On the second board Movsesian achieved a nice advantage and wanted to torture Karjakin which didn’t materialize in the end as Karjakin managed to exchange pieces to relieve the pressure and saved the game. Replay Movsesian – Karjakin here Also on the fourth board Armenia seemed to have the advantage but when Sargissian missed the double attack 39…Qa7 he had to concede the draw to his resourceful opponent Nepomniatchi. The last game was Grischuk-Akopian in which Russians hoped that Akopian would falter under the pressure of Grischuk in a rook endgame up a pawn but their hopes haven’t got realized and the experienced grandmaster Vladimir Akopian saved the game and the match for Armenia: 2-2!

IMG 6880
GM Hikaru Nakamura - USA
IMG 6882
GM Ray Robson -USA

Another heavyweight battle was between Ukraine and USA. Perhaps under the influence of recent Anand-Carlsen match Nakamura wanted to employ the impenetrable Berlin Wall but Chucky preferred not to bother dealing with it and chose instead the old Two Knights System. As he didn’t manage to create something out of this well studied line however the game ended in a draw. Replay Ivanchuk – Nakamura here Moiseenko-Onischuk was also a quiet affair in which neither side could imbalance the game. On the remaining two boards Akobian couldn’t convert his nice positional edge into a full point due to the dynamic defense of Kryvorouchko and thus when Korobov punished Kamsky’s over-optimistic pawn sacrifice in a long endgame it was time to cheer for Ukrainians. USA will for sure try to make a comeback in the race for the world team champion title.

Actually the first match to finish in the first round was Netherlands-China. On first board after a Caro-Kann opening Anish Giri decided to force a repetition in a balanced position pretty quickly whereas second and fourth boards saw two longer draws in which Dutch players showed strong and solid play, giving their Chinese opponents no chance to take advantage of white pieces. The only decisive result of the match came from the Tiviakov-Bu Xiangzhi game. Bu had obviously prepared thoroughly for Tiviakov’s pet line Alapin Sicilian and even being perhaps the most formidable expert of the variation Tiviakov couldn’t achieve any advantage with white. To make things worse for Netherlands he soon lost control of position under time pressure and collapsed giving China the chance to score an important match victory.

One of the most exciting games of the round was played on the fourth board of Germany-Egypt match between Bassem Amin and David Baramidze. Feeling perhaps the need to win as the leading player of Egypt, Amin didn’t allow a threefold repetition and instead moved his king to h4 in a complicated middlegame with queens on the board! It was a very risky decision which was at the end efficiently punished by Baramidze. What was perhaps unfortunate for the representative of Africa was the fact that although in the first three boards they were definitely the underdogs they managed to held their ground and their cause of defeat came from the most unexpected board. But such is chess!

Replay Abdel – Meier 0:1

Finally in the first round the hosts had a tough challenge against the Azerbaijani team but they were obviously hoping to get a good start to the championship. The positions of Turkish players were looking mostly fine at one point however Azeris didn’t give them a chance to score a win in the end and the defeat of Yilmaz at the hands of Nidjat Mamedov meant a disappointing loss for the Turkish team. Let’s see if the host country will be able to make use of their home advantage in the coming matches.

All results round 1.

1.1 1 Germany 2½ – 1½ 10 Egypt
1 GM Khenkin Igor 2612 ½ : ½ IM Ezat Mohamed 2454
2 GM Meier Georg 2623 1 : 0 IM Abdel Razik Khaled 2450
3 GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2727 0 : 1 IM Shoker Samy 2500
4 GM Baramidze David 2614 1 : 0 GM Amin Bassem 2652
1.2 2 Turkey 1½ – 2½ 9 Azerbaijan
1 GM Ipatov Alexander 2630 ½ : ½ GM Mamedov Rauf 2647
2 GM Solak Dragan 2618 ½ : ½ GM Safarli Eltaj 2653
3 GM Yilmaz Mustafa 2577 0 : 1 GM Mamedov Nidjat 2616
4 GM Esen Baris 2565 ½ : ½ GM Durarbayli Vasif 2559
1.3 3 Netherlands 1½ – 2½ 8 China
1 GM Giri Anish 2732 ½ : ½ GM Ding Liren 2711
2 GM Van Wely Loek 2678 ½ : ½ GM Wang Yue 2725
3 GM Tiviakov Sergei 2663 0 : 1 GM Bu Xiangzhi 2683
4 GM Sokolov Ivan 2625 ½ : ½ GM Yu Yangyi 2668
1.4 4 Ukraine 2½ – 1½ 7 United States of America
1 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2731 ½ : ½ GM Nakamura Hikaru 2786
2 GM Korobov Anton 2713 1 : 0 GM Kamsky Gata 2721
3 GM Moiseenko Alexander 2709 ½ : ½ GM Onischuk Alexander 2672
4 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy 2701 ½ : ½ GM Akobian Varuzhan 2625
1.5 5 Russia 2 – 2 6 Armenia
1 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2793 ½ : ½ GM Aronian Levon 2801
2 GM Karjakin Sergey 2756 ½ : ½ GM Movsesian Sergei 2700
3 GM Grischuk Alexander 2785 ½ : ½ GM Akopian Vladimir 2681
4 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2721 ½ : ½ GM Sargissian Gabriel 2676

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Round 2

With only two rounds so far, it already deserves to be on the list of greatest tournaments of 2013, especially for chess fans who are bored of seeing highly theoretical and ultra-safe played games one after the other.

Today all the eyes were focused on one match: USA-Russia. A classic rivalry in all kinds of sports, USA-Russia battles have always drawn the attention of fans worldwide. Today’s match was again a fantastic battle, living up to the expectations. Perhaps not to the expectations of Russian team though. It was sure that Kramnik won’t have an easy time against Nakamura with black but few expected such a ruthless win by the American. Nakamura made Kramnik taste his own drop of poison, by very precise moves he exploited the bad position of black knight in an almost mathematical fashion. Certainly a very pleasant game for the American and for sure Kramnik will be thirsting for revenge in their next encounter. Replay Nakamura – Kramnik here In the other decisive game of the match, the young American star Ray Robson overcame Vitiugov in a very complicated fight ensued after the ultra-sharp Marshall Gambit variation in Semi-Slav. The game lasted just 28 moves and this spectacular win of Robson will probably make its way into the list of exciting games of the year. Replay Grischuk – Kamsky here A peculiar fact of the match was that both teams had players of name Alexander -ischuk, Grischuk(RUS) and Onischuk(USA). Both made a draw with their opponents respectively and thus the match has ended in a very clean score for USA: 3-1! While the Americans do have a very good reason to party tonight, Russian team will have to think about how to make a comeback after this slow start. Hear the train A (America) coming!

 

The other important match of the round was Ukraine vs. China. Both teams had won their first round matches with the score 2,5-1,5 and obviously they were in a very fine mood before the match. After the match however only one of them could be happy and it was Ukraine. The first game to end was Yue Wang against Kryvorouchko. The Chinese grandmaster set problems to his opponent continuously which he couldn’t solve and after Kryvorouchko realized his final blunder he resigned. Having a point in hand China could look forward to a match win one would think, but in the first two boards they were in a bad shape. Especially Ivanchuk’s game against Li Chao was a joy to watch with its non-standard opening play and position afterwards, once again Chucky showed the greatness of his talent by outplaying a world-class opponent in a non-standard position. To break the rules is a privilege of titans such as Vassily! Replay Li Chao – Ivanchuk On the second board Korobov squeezed Ding Liren positionally and when the positional bind was resolved he was left with a strong passed pawn on e6 which ultimately led to the resignation of Ding. As the fourth board game was drawn, the match score was settled: 2,5-1,5 for Ukraine! Let’s see if they can continue their winning streak tomorrow.
IMG 6890
GM Loek Van Wely – Netherlands
Teimour Radjabov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov may be resting for this tournament but the Azeri team continues to show that no one should underestimate them! Going into the third round they share the lead with Germany and Ukraine. They managed to inflict another defeat on Netherlands thanks to wins by Safarli and Nidjat Mamedov on second and third boards: 3-1. Such a luckless start is a bitter pill to swallow for the Dutch team as one can guess. However there are seven more rounds and it’s always possible to make it up for two-three losses.
IMG 6914
GM Barış Esen – Turkey
Today it was a rest day for Aronian but for the super strong Armenian team it wasn’t of a big importance against Egypt at the end of day. Wins with white and draws with black, a perfect strategy for team matches, meant a 3-1 score for Armenia. However the Egyptian players fought well against their stronger opponents and should also be praised for their efforts. Keep it up!

Germany vs. Turkey saw a tough fight however on the second and third boards Meier and Naiditsch outclassed their opponents in impressive fashion to score two wins for Germany. Two draws on the first and last boards were certainly not what hosts desired but what can you do against such a solid team of Germany’s caliber? If Germans keep up their fine performance, perhaps we’ll be saying that chess is a game which lasts approx. six hours and in the end Germans win; but that still remains to be seen.

All results round 2

2.1 10 Egypt 1 – 3 6 Armenia
1 IM Ezat Mohamed 2454 ½ : ½ GM Movsesian Sergei 2700
2 IM Shoker Samy 2500 0 : 1 GM Akopian Vladimir 2681
3 GM Amin Bassem 2652 ½ : ½ GM Sargissian Gabriel 2676
4 IM Labib Ibrahim Hasan 2411 0 : 1 GM Petrosian Tigran L. 2660
2.2 7 United States of America 3 – 1 5 Russia
1 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2786 1 : 0 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2793
2 GM Kamsky Gata 2721 ½ : ½ GM Grischuk Alexander 2785
3 GM Onischuk Alexander 2672 ½ : ½ GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2721
4 GM Robson Ray 2613 1 : 0 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2741
2.3 8 China 1½ – 2½ 4 Ukraine
1 GM Li Chao B 2679 0 : 1 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2731
2 GM Ding Liren 2711 0 : 1 GM Korobov Anton 2713
3 GM Wang Yue 2725 1 : 0 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy 2701
4 GM Bu Xiangzhi 2683 ½ : ½ GM Areshchenko Alexander 2720
2.4 9 Azerbaijan 3 – 1 3 Netherlands
1 GM Mamedov Rauf 2647 ½ : ½ GM Giri Anish 2732
2 GM Safarli Eltaj 2653 1 : 0 GM Van Wely Loek 2678
3 GM Mamedov Nidjat 2616 1 : 0 GM Sokolov Ivan 2625
4 GM Guseinov Gadir 2607 ½ : ½ GM L’ami Erwin 2648
2.5 1 Germany 3 – 1 2 Turkey
1 GM Khenkin Igor 2612 ½ : ½ GM Ipatov Alexander 2630
2 GM Meier Georg 2623 1 : 0 GM Solak Dragan 2618
3 GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2727 1 : 0 GM Yilmaz Mustafa 2577
4 GM Baramidze David 2614 ½ : ½ GM Esen Baris 2565

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