The World Team Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk have come to their equator. After tough and uncompromising battles of Round 5 the players are finally having their long-awaited day-off. It is up to the participants and their coaches to decide how to spend it. Teams of Norway and Poland preferred to have a match. But this was not the match played of the chess boards, but on the football field.
The idea to play football on a day-off came to Polish team, so they offered other participants of the Championships to join them. Team Norway accepted the proposal without hesitation.
“Normally, I don’t play football very often, – confesses Johan Salomon of Norway. – Still I am doing some physical training regularly. I go to the gym four times a week to lift weights and to run. Our opponent today is very strong but let’s be optimistic, we still want to win”.
It is worth noting that not only male players turned to be
die-hard fans of football, there were girls playing as well.
“The stadium is very nice, it looks very professional. I haven’t played on such a big stadium for a very long time, – says Jolanta Zawadzka representing team Poland. – I used to play much more football before, but today I am just doing it to relax on a free day, to move and exercise a bit not just to sit in a room. I think it is a big fighting so far. We are having one extra player in the team of Poland, so hope we will win. But the main point is to play and to relax not the score”.
The only thing that interfered into the game Poland vs Norway were clouds of mosquitoes flying around players. “There are all kinds of insects around there, – adds Jolanta Zawadzka. – But it is quite common here I guess, as we face this every day in Khanty-Mansiysk”.
Of course, football battles are louder than those played on the chess boards, but there is one rule common for both plays. No matter how the game goes, who wins and who loses, every game ends with firm and friendly handshakes of the opponents.
Today, on June 22, chess players, arbiters and media team of the World Team Chess Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk had a chance not only to get some vitamin D walking on this warm and sunny day but also to satifsfy their hunger for information, getting to know more about history and culture of Ugra.
A sightseeing tour around the city has united those who got tired of the look of the playing hall of Ugra Chess Academy as well as a landscape seen from the hotel windows. Teams of Norway, China, India, USA and Vietnam have set their chess boards aside and took part in the excursion around Khanty-Mansiysk.
The first and the most remarkable stop on their bus tour was at the visit card of the Ugra capital – Archeopark. Huge mammoths, saber-toothed tigers and other ancient animals impressed many chess players. The most brave and cold-blooded ones managed to climb on their backs despite the fact that the bronze figures were heated by the sun. The hot metal was “biting” chess players who wanted to caress prehistoric animals.
The city tour also included visits to the boat station of Khanty-Mansiysk where all the participants managed to make a photo on the bank of river Irtysh, the Winter Sports Center and the the Church of Resurrection of Christ.
Although many players have already visited Khanty-Mansiysk before, they were surprised to see the city green and blooming. “I was here in November 2016 but didn’t have a chance to walk around the city then as it was very cold outside, – says Board 1 of women’s team of China Ju Wenjun, – Today is warm and sunny so I feel relaxed and enjoy the excursion. Khanty-Mansiysk is so beautiful in summer. My favourite place here is a park in the center of the city, it has so many beautiful green trees. I hope to be back here next year for the Women’s World Championship”.
The final stop of a 2-hour excursion around Khanty-Mansiysk was the green heart of the city – its Central park. Fountains, white birch trees and, of course, smiles of people will stay not only on the pages of the participants of the tournament in social networks, but also in their hearts and memory.
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Team Russia defeated Norway 3 to 1 and took clear first.
Fedoseev radically responded to Hauge’s attempt to avoid basic theory in the Caro-Kann Defense: 1.e4 c6 2.Ne2 Qa5!?!
L. Hauge-V. Fedoseev
White tried to appear creatively different (3.c4 Nf6 4.Nbc3 e5 5.f4 exf4 6.Nxf4 Bb4 7.Bd3), but when situation became more or less normal, it turned out that Black had handled his pieces much more reasonably. After a little skirmish in the center, Fedoseev gained an edge due to his opponent’s pawn weaknesses and passive light-squared bishop. In the resultant endgame Black knights had eliminated a good half of the enemy’s infantry, and Hauge acknowledged his defeat.
In the middlegame of his duel with Vitiugov, Elsness had compensation for his minimal material losses, but active advance of black pawns in the center did not have a desired effect. Soon the position was simplified to a clear White’s advantage and, immediately after time-trouble was over, black king got mated in the endgame.
Svidler and Nepomniachtchi had unsettled supporters of team Russia just a bit, but in the end their respective games against Tari and Urkedal were tied.
Before their clash with each other, both Chinese and Turkish chessplayers (and the Russians, too) have not lost a single game. Well, the status quo was left undisrupted. Three games turned out to be quite nonconfrontational, and on the last board Li Chao, playing against Sanal, had frittered away has enormous advantage with his move 23 and, try as he might after that, was unable to turn his endgame initiative into something more tangible. 2:2, and now China shares the second place with Poland and is a point ahead of their today’s opponents.
Team Poland defeated Ukraine 3 to1. On the top board Ponomariov had developed a powerful attack against Wojtaszek’s kingside castled position, but failed to put his dark-squared bishop to a good use, and Black launched a crushing counterattack soon.
R. Ponomariov-R. Wojtaszek
Computer sees no satisfactorily defense for Black after 30.Bd2 with the idea of Bc3, but after 30.R5g3 Qf5 31.Bh6 Qf8 32.Rg6 c3 33.b4 Bg4 34.Bf4 Rf7 35.Bc1 a5 the bishop, which has lost several tempi, is of no use either in offense or in defense.
The second point-scorer for Poland was Gajewski who had vanquished Kravtsiv. In a sharp position, the Ukranian player was a move late with taking on c3 with his rook and, instead of perpetual check, there arose a technical ending with an extra pawn for White.
Adhiban, who had completely recovered from his initial misfortunes, supplied a decisive point in the match Egypt vs. India. Fawzy was unable to prove that his pawn sacrifices had been correct. In the ending White gave up his major pieces for the sake of assuring a carefree way to the cherished goal for his three passed pawns on the Q-side.
B. Adhiban-A. Fawzy
26.Qxf3! exf3 27.Rxe5 Rc8 28.Rxe6! fxe6 29.a5 Qd4 30.b6. 1-0.
In the other games Egyptians by and large carried the play but failed to equalize the score.
In the close match USA vs. Belarus all the games were tied. In the longest dual of the round Kovalev – Onischuk, where Black managed to hold out in the two-pawns-down queen endgame, a draw was agreed on the move 115.
Both leaders of the women’s championship tied their matches.
In the confrontation Russia vs. USA both teams would live through moments when positions on certain boards became alarming; nevertheless, four draws can be considered a fitting result.
In the Ukrainians’ match against Poland, Ushenina in a safe position had made critical move with her edge pawn ant then failed to find a correct plan of defending it. Socko obtained a material advantage and confidently converted it into a win. In a roughly similar vein, Majdan spoiled an even position against Buksa while passing the time control.
China beat Georgia by a surprisingly big score 3.5 to 0.5, which, however, reflects developments on the chessboards adequately enough. In a many-piece ending, Dzagnidze spent three tempi on her light-squared bishop’s transfers, thus allowing Ju Wenjun to develop a decisive initiative on the Q-side. Javakhishvili had ceded her central pawn to Tan Zhongyi, but then overlooked a continuation that promised good compensation first and missed a chance for an escape in the bishops-of-opposite-color ending after that. The reason for Khotenashvili’s loss to Lei Tingjie was the Georgian’s dropping a pawn in one move. Batsiashvili drew against Guo Qi from a position of strength; she had no real chances for a win, though.
While playing with Black in their match against Vietnam, Azerbaijanian players demonstrated careless attitude to pawns and lost both games because of it. As for their opponents, Vietnam managed to save one of the two clearly worse positions on even-numbered boards and won.
Egypt lost once again, but it was in their match against India that the main sensation of the round had struck: on the first board Wafa took advantage of Harika’s blunder on the move 21 and happily turned her advantage into a win. Indians were liable to do even worse and give up another half-point, but the Egyptian lady playing on the 3rd board overlooked a rather simple blow on the theme of last rank weakness.
E. Elansary-E. Karavade
Instead of 34.h3=, White played 34.Nd4?? Qxe3+! 0-1.
Thursday is a free day on both championships, and on Friday key matches the 6th round in the men’s event will be Poland vs. Russia and China vs. Ukraine. In the women’s competition India faces Russia and Ukraine plays against Azerbaijan.