World Cities Team Chess: Baku, Novi Sad, Tashkent, Hoogeveen Qualify for Semifinals
The latest chess news updates from the World Cities Team Chess event in Al-Ain are here via Fide: In the quarterfinal matches, the city of Baku was the first to go through as they outclassed the Wu Xi team of China 3:1. The Azerbaijan strategy paid off as Eltaj Safarli and Gadir Guseinov held to draws the two stronger Chinese players, GM Wang Yue and Ji Dan. The battle shifted to the lower boards. Baku’s GM Rauf Mamedov outplayed Li Wenliang and Nidjat Mamedov outmaneuvered Fang Yuxiang to give Baku the 3:1 victory and a slot in the semifinals.
The Tashkent team qualified next at the expense of Athens, Greece. Saidali Iuldachev scored first on board 4 against Andreas Tzermiadianos in 38 moves of a King and Pawn endgame arising from a Ruy Lopez. After two draws on the middle boards, Marat Dzhumaev sealed the win for Tashkent by beating Ioannis Papaioannou for a 3:1 score. After the game we asked Uzbekistan Chess Federation head Husain Turdialiev “Good prize money?” He replied “If we win next even better.” The fourth placed semifinalist receives $10,000 prize money out of a total $150,000 in this team tournament.
In the last match of the round, Hoogeveen came from behind to beat Saratov. The Russians scored first as Alexei Iljushin beat Jan Smeets on board 4 in 41 moves of a minor piece endgame. Much was expected of Dutch top board Anish Giri but he was held to a draw by Evgeny Tomasevsky. Dutch captain Ivan Sokolov also drew on second board with Igor Lysyj leaving the decision to the third board match between Hoogeveen’s Sergei Tiviakov and Evgeny Romanov. The Russian GM lost a pawn on the 43rd move but as Sokolov commented later, the game looked drawish which would give the victory to the Russians.
It was nearly midnight and everyone left in the hall had their eyes glued to the monitor as Tiviakov nursed a one pawn advantage in a precise same-colored Bishop endgame to force resignation on the 67th move. This meant Hoogeveen won the match by the Berlin system where more weight is put on the higher boards.
From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
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