China wins with white
In all four decisive games in the semi-finals of the World Team Championship between China and Spain, the Chinese representative played with the white pieces. Three of those games were won by the Asian team.
In the first set, Li Di defeated Miguel Santos on board 4, but Xu Xiangyu was defeated by David Anton, keeping the score even before the players switched colors for the 4-game second set.
While China kept their line-up for the second mini-match, Spain fielded Daniil Yuffa on board four to replace Santos. Victories from Lu Shanglei (over Jaime Santos) and Bai Jinshi (over Alexei Shirov) gave China overall victory and a chance to win gold medals in Friday’s final game against Uzbekistan.
Bai and Shirov went from a Slav defense into a sharp, theoretical line where the Spaniard gave up a pawn for activity and the Chinese responded evenly from the start.
Shirov’s 13…Bh6 was the novelty in this double-edged position, deviating from 13…Qe7, which also attacks the weak pawn on e3 (the queen’s move was played in a correspondence game).
To 14.Qa3which prevents Black from castling and controls the all-important e7-square, followed 14…Bxe3 15.Ke2when Bai started a creative 3-move maneuver to find a safer square for his king and activate one of his rooks.
A special construction requires special methods – the game went on 15…Bf4 16.Re1 Be6 17.Kd1 dxc4 (17…Bd6 was better) 18.Bxc4 Qe7
For the first time in the game, Bai thought long and hard, knowing he was in better position and wanting to make sure trading queens was his best alternative to convert his advantage. After spending over 15 minutes making up his mind, he made his choice 19.Qxe7+ Kxe7 20.g3simplified to a more technical position.
Shirov didn’t give up easily – in some places it seemed like he had some chances to escape – but Bai kept putting pressure on Black’s position until he won. It was a fun, hard fought fight!
Spain faces China | Photo: Mark Livshitz
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Uzbekistan tries again to beat the odds
At the record-breaking Chennai Olympiad that year, Uzbekistan entered the competition as the fourteenth seedling, eventually winning the tournament convincingly. At the World Team Championship, the young squad is now missing their best representative – Nodirbek Abdusattorov – but still defeated nominally stronger teams to reach the final in Jerusalem.
After his successful performance at the Olympiad, Ivan Sokolov was again hired to work as a team captain at this event. The inimitable coach showed his well-known fighting spirit in a tweet shared after his team defeated India in the semi-finals.
Victory in tense semi-final against India.
Tomorrow final against China.
Of course we go for it!!
— Sokolov Ivan (@GMSokolovIvan) November 24, 2022
Similar to the other semi-final, the first set ended in a draw. In the second mini-match of the day, victories by Nodirbek Yakubboev and Javokhir Sindarov gave the Uzbek team overall victory.
Sindarov played a nice final move to prompt Nihal Sarin’s surrender on board 2.
Black then threw in the towel 52.Qxd3 since 52…Qxd3 fails at 53.Rf7+ Nxf7 54.Rxf7 Rg7 55.Rxg7+ Kh8 56.Rd7+ (see diagram below).
A nice driving sequence that the 16-year-old from Uzbekistan duly foresaw.
Uzbekistan’s top bodies — Nodirbek Yakubboev and Javokhir Sindarov | Photo: Mark Livshitz
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