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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

World Team Chess Round 1: Russia - Armenia Draw

Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hello everyone,

The World Team Chess Championship 2013 has begun in Antalya, Turkey. The most important pairing of the first round was Russia versus Armenia, but it ended in a hard-fought draw!

The top game of the day, Vladimir Kramnik versus Levon Aronian was a very sharp struggle in a Botvinnik Slav. The exchange sacrifice by 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, but Aronian didn't let him get anything. 

On the second board Movsesian, achieved a nice advantage and wanted to torture Karjakin which didn't materialise in the end as Karjakin managed to exchange pieces to relieve the pressure and save the game. 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 the Russians hoped that Akopian would falter under the pressure of Grischuk in a rook endgame up a pawn but the game was drawn. 

The other big fight was the Ukraine versus USA match. Nakamura wanted to employ the impenetrable Berlin Wall (possibly inspired by the recent Anand - Carlsen World Chess Championship), but Ivanchuk 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, the game ended in a draw. 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!

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. 

In the second round pairings include USA-Russia! Also don't forget to follow the live commentary by GM Oleksienko and IM Arduman.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
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