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Caught! Russians win the World Team Championship

11/11/2005 – It could not have been closer. Going into the final with a 2.5 point lead the Chinese men needed just one point to win the championship. They got half of that after 21 moves on board one. But on boards 2-4 the Russians cleaned up, and the 3-0 there put them half a point ahead in the final score. Triumph and despair.
 

The championship takes place in the Yad Lebanim House, Reger Ave, Menahem Begin Square, Beer Sheva City, Israel. The world's strongest teams are participating, headed by Ukraine, Russia, Armenia and the USA. Israel, the host, is ranked fifth worldwide.

Final Report

On board one Bu Xiangzhi played a pragmatic 21-move draw against Peter Svidler, the second-highest seed in this tournament. Now all that was needed was for his team mates to get one draw from the other three games. Of course they were facing a daunting opposition: the two Alexanders, Grischuk and Morozevich, both with 2700+ rating points, and veteran Evgeny Bareev, who has been at the top of the world rankings for a decade.


The audience following the games with great excitement on the transmission screen

The best chance the Chinese had was Ni Hua on board three against Morozevich. The 22-year-old Chinese GM started off extremely well, playing six of the first seven rounds, scoring four wins and two draws with a sensational 2863 performance. Ni lost in round eight against Armenian GM Karen Asrian, but there he had had the black pieces. Against Moroz Ni had white...

Ni Hua (2603) - Morozevich,A (2707) [B22]
World Team Ch Beer Sheva ISR (9), 10.11.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 d6 7.Bc4 Nb6 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.exd6 e6 10.0-0 Bxd6 11.Nc3 Ne7 12.Bd3 Bc6 13.Qe2 Nbd5 14.Rd1 0-0 15.Ne5 Bxe5 16.Qxe5 Qb6 17.Qh5 Ng6 18.Bxg6 hxg6 19.Qh4 Nxc3 20.bxc3 Qb5 21.Re1 Rac8 22.Qg3 Rfd8 23.h4 Qf5 24.Bf4 f6 25.a4 Bd5 26.Bd6 Bxg2 27.Be7 Rd7 28.Bxf6 Bd5 29.Be5 Rf7 30.Re3 a5 31.Rc1

White's last move was a mistake – it was necessary for him to play 31...f4 to protect the e1 square with his queen. Now Black had 31...Rc4 32.f4. Not 32.Ra1 Rxa4 33.Rxa4?? Qb1+ with mate on h1 to follow! 32...Rxa4. Now Black has an extra pawn and a very nasty queenside setup.


Morozevich during the game

33.Qg5 b5 34.Qxf5 gxf5 35.Kf2 Ra2+ 36.Re2 Ra3 37.Rb2 Rb3 38.Rxb3 Bxb3 39.Ke3 Rd7 40.Ra1 a4 41.Kd2 Ra7 42.Bd6 Ra6 43.Ba3 Kf7 44.Ke3 Ra8 45.Kf2 Rh8 46.Rh1 Bd5 47.Rh3 Be4 48.Ke3 Rh6 49.h5 Ke8 50.Rg3 Rxh5 51.d5 g5 52.dxe6 g4 53.Kd4 Rh3


The game Ni Hua vs Morozevich was the last to finish. It was watched with
indescribable tension by players and spectators in the press room (that's
Bu Xiangzhi in the checkered shirt in the middle)

Ni Hua has been putting up stiff resistance, and could have possibly hung on with 54.Re3. The next move, however, spoils it all: 54.Rg1? This allows the black pawn to advance to g2. 54...g3 55.Ke5 g2 56.Rd1 Rh1 57.Rd7 g1Q 58.Bd6 Bc6 0-1.


Chess is such a brutal game – Ni Hua after his loss to Morozevich

Here are the individual results of the critical match in round nine.

Bu Xiangzhi
2637
½-½
2740 Svidler, Peter
Zhang Pengxiang
2613
0-1
2720 Grischuk, Alexander
Ni Hua
2603
0-1
2707 Morozevich, Alexander
Zhong, Zhang
2608
0-1
2675 Bareev, Evgeny

None of the other matches changed the order of the teams on the final table. Israel lost 1.5-2.5 against the US, with Ibragimov taking a point off Sergey Erenburg. Cuba and Armenia drew all their games, which secured Bronze for the Armenians. And the Georgians lost 1.5-2.5 to Ukraine, with 15-year-old Sergey Karjakin playing the decider against Mikheil Mchedlishvili.


Sergey Karjakin in round nine, playing 1.e4 to win

Final Standings

  Team wins losses draws points
1 Russia
8
0
0
22
2 China Men
6
2
0
21.5
3 Armenia
4
1
3
18.5
4 Ukraine
4
3
1
17.5
5 USA
3
3
2
16.5
6 Israel
2
5
1
14.5
7 Georgia
2
5
1
13.5
8 Cuba
1
4
3
13
9 China Women
0
7
1
7

All games so far in zipped PGN

The official web site had live transmission of the games, which were also broadcast on Playchess.com. There are a lot of pictures, mostly uncaptionen. In the Reports section you will find excellent comments and annotated game fragments by Alon Greenfeld. Alon's diagrams are great (he makes excellent use of arrows and highlighted squares) and his notes are very enlightening. The commentary is not replayable.

Picture Gallery


The top board in the decisive round. Bu pragmatically made a draw against
Peter Svidler, who is over one hundred points higher on the rating list.


Evgeny Bareev, one of the most experienced players in this team championship,
outplayed his opponent to help secure the narrowest of victories for his team.


The triumphant Russians get their trophy and medals


Team captain Sergey Dolmatov with Svidler, Dreev and Rublevsky


Ni Hua, still shattered by his final game, gets his silver medal


The Chinese Team celebrating – more or less


Grischuk, Dolmatov, Bareev and Svidler at dinner. In the background FIDE
and Israeli brass, with Florencio Campomanes second from right.


The Ukrainians: Alexander Moiseenko and Sergey Karjakin, with organiser Moshe Slav (middle)

The Teams

Armenia
Levon Aronian 2724
Vladimir Akopian 2707
Asrian Karen 2645
Rafael Vaganian 2614
Smbat Lputian 2614
Ashot Anastasian 2596
Captain: – Tigran Nalbandyan
 
China Men
Xiangzhi Bu 2637
Pengxiang Zhang 2613
Hua Ni 2603
Zhang Zhong 2608
Jianchao Zhou 2516
Chong Liang 2515
Captain: Ye Jiang Chuan
 
China Women
Xue Zhao 2478
Huang Qian 2398
Wang Yu 2396
Qianyun Gong 2374
Shen Yang 2326
Yifan Hou 2220
Captain: Zhang Wei Da
Cuba
Lazaro Bruzon 2677
Lenier Dominguez 2635
Neuris Delgado 2551
Jesus Nogueiras 2547
Walter Arencibia 2510
Yuniesky Quezada 2505
Captain: Jose Luis Altuna
 
Georgia  
Zurab Azmaiparashvili 2658
Baadur Jobava 2601
Giorgi Giorgadze 2601
Levan Pantsulaia 2578
Mchedlishvili Mikheil 2564
Merab Gagunashvili 2542
 
 
Israel
Boris Gelfand 2717
Ilia Smirin 2673
Emil Sutovsky 2654
Boris Avrukh 2653
Michael Roiz 2600
Sergey Erenburg 2582
Captain Alex Kaspi
Russia
Peter Svidler 2740
Alexey Dreev 2694
Alexander Grischuk 2720
Alexander Morozevich 2707
Evgeny Bareev 2675
Sergei Rublevsky 2652
Captain: Sergey Dolmatov
 
Ukraine
Vassily Ivanchuk 2748
Ruslan Ponomariov 2704
Andrei Volotkin 2666
Pavel Eljanov 2663
Moiseenko Alexander 2663
Sergey Karjakin 2658
Captain: Leonid Tymoshenko
 
USA
Alexander Onischuk 2628
Boris Gulko 2589
Gregory Kaidanov 2614
Alexander Goldin 2615
Ildar Ibragimov 2605
Igor Novikov 2589
Captain: Postovsky Boris
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