With second board Peter Svidler riding to the rescue from Switzerland, Russia jumped right back toward the top of the table. They stomped the powerful Israeli team 3.5-0.5 and are now only a point off the lead. Surprising Bulgaria nipped Poland and are now tied with India.
It was a decisive day on the top boards. Vassily Ivanchuk continued his tremendous run by leading Ukraine to another victory. He beat Radjabov and now has a 5.5/6 score and a performance rating over 3000!
It's more of a good thing for Ivanchuk this year. He tied for first in the European Championship, although he was knocked-out by Kasimdzhanov in the third round of the FIDE KO.
His next opponent is someone he knows well. In round seven (after Thursday's rest day) Ukraine will face India in a battle of old power versus new. Ivanchuk will likely meet his old foe Anand on board one.
Alexei Shirov's explosive win over Fressinet was the difference in Spain's narrow victory over France. Georgiev, playing board one in Topalov's absence, beat Macieja to defeat the Poles. England started back up the table by beating Mexico. Top board Mickey Adams has matched Ivanchuk's score of 5.5/6. Spanish number two Vallejo Pons has also impressed so far with his 4.5/5.
The other top matches weren't so close. Russia's demolition of Israel couldn't be expected. Morozevich beat Gelfand; Svidler beat Sutovsky in 31 explosive moves, and Dreev beat Huzman. Russia is paired with the over-matched Bulgarians in round seven so we might see them take their first lead of the event.
India continued to move up with a 3-1 win over Netherlands. Anand did his part with a win over van Wely. Fourth-seeded Armenia finally picked up the pace with a 3.5-0.5 win over Canada. The United States edged Croatia with wins by Goldin and Kaidanov.
A beautiful festival of chess. Photo by Paul Truong
So far no one has taken up our suggestion to rename Israel and the USA "USSR A" and "USSR B". For the first time the entire American team is the product of the Soviet school. Even the team captain, Postovsky, led Russian teams in the past.
You may wonder how young American star Hikaru Nakamura is doing. After his remarkable fourth round result in the FIDE world championship, it's natural that the 16-year-old would be getting a lot of attention. Unfortunately, he's not on the US team! The US qualification system uses rating points going back to April, 2003, so Nakamura's recent excellent results had little impact. His latest FIDE rating would make him the number two player on the team, tied with Goldin.
FIDE champ Kasimdzhanov (left) laughs with Onischuk after their game. Paul Truong
In the women's event, China continued their relentless march to the gold by beating second seed Russia. At least they finally lost a game, although we're sure super-sub Huang Qian will settle for her 5/6 score. Xie Jun defeated Alexandra Kosteniuk on board one to keep her perfect score. China still leads by three points, now over France. The Skripchenko-lead French team upset Ukraine.
There was a real classic further down as the United States met Georgia. Two great women's world champions met on board one, where Susan Polgar defeated Maia Chiburdanidze. That allowed the US to score an important win and move up the table.
Polgar jokes with Chiburdanidze as Krush and Dzagnidze look on. Paul Truong
The Ukrainian women hope to match the men. Lahno, Gaponenko, Zhukova. Paul Truong
Standings after round 6
1 Ukraine 19.0
1 China 16.0
Filippov-Quezada, after 41...Bxc4
White gives a fine tutorial on the power of the bishops and the removing the guard sacrifice.
42.Bxg7+! Qxg7 43.Bxf5+ Kg8 44.Rg6 Rd1+ 45.Kf2 1-0
Shirov-Fressinet, after 25...Kg8
Shirov finished off a spectacular game with his usual flair.
26.Ne7+ Kh7 [26...Nxe7 27.Rg1+] 27.Nxg6 fxg6 [27...Qh5 28.Ne7+] 28.Ne5! 1-0 Clearing the d7 square for the rook. There is no way for Black to avoid mate.
[28...Qxe5 (28...Rhg8 29.Rd7+ Kh8 30.Nf7+ Kh7 31.Ng5+ Kh8 32.Rh7#) 29.Rd7+ Kg8 30.Qxg6+ Kf8 31.Qf7#]
Svidler-Sutovsky, after 25...Qxb5
Svidler got of the plane from Switzerland and immediately started throwing rooks around.
26.Rxg7+! A very pretty breakthrough. 26...Kxg7 27.Ng4 Rh8 28.Nxf6 Bxf6 29.Rg1+
[Fritz says both Bxf6+ and Qg2+ were faster, but this is more than enough material to convince Sutovsky to call it a day.]
29...Kh7 30.Bxf6+ Na4+ 31.Kc1 1-0