Asian Cup: China takes gold, India is silver

by Albert Silver
5/31/2014 – The final round of the men's competition was a cliffhanger since the medals were not assured, and a slip could end in tragedy. The Chinese men played Iran-A, and barely scraped through a win, thus taking gold, while India had an easy round and took silver. Iran's GM Elshan Moradiabadi sent us a report of the tour of Tabriz, with many fascinating glimpses into the culture of the region.

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The 2014 Asian Nations Cup is underway in Tabriz, Iran, and will run from May 20-30, 2014. It is a team event with men's and women competitions in blitz, rapid, and standard time controls. The first event is the rapid games competitions followed by the standard time controls, and finally on the last day the blitz event will be held.

Standard competition

Open - Final round

The final round of the Asian Nations Cup was a tough exciting one in which the medals were still undecided. China was the favorite with a match point lead over India, while Vietnam and Kazakhstan were tied for third-fourth, separated by a meager tiebreak score.

The only easy match of the leaders was India's, as they faced the vastly lower-rated Sri Lankans and as a consequence could spend time rooting against the Chinese after their unsurprising 4-0 demolition. The Chinese team faced Iran-A, and although they were the clear favorites on paper, the Iranians had been putting on quite a show for the home crowd, and in the rapids had come close to an upset as they lost by a narrow 1.5-2.5. As it were, history repeated itself as the Chinese were given a scare when the top three boards were unable to do better than draw, despite a significant ratings advantage, until fourth board Ma Qun beat Hamayoon Toufighi to secure the minimum 2.5-1.5 victory and gold.

Iran-A did their country proud with fine individual performances

The Chinese had their scare but they never backed down and deservedly won the gold

Despite beating China in their individual matchup, India had to be content with silver

The match between Kazakhstan and Vietnam was even more dramatic as a win by either would mean Bronze or missing out on a medal. The tension showed as both teams exchanged blows with three decisive games out of four, but the Vietnamese had the final word as they took it by 2.5-1.5.

The Vietnamese team came through at the eleventh hour by beating Kazakhstan in a thrilling
match and took bronze

The Chinese women were indomitable in their event

India, led by Harika Dronavalli and Tania Sachdev, took silver

The Iranian women took a much desserved bronze after they drew India in the last round

Final standings

Rk
SNo
Team
Gms
  + 
  = 
  - 
TB
1
4
CHINA
9
8
0
1
16
2
2
INDIA
9
7
2
0
16
3
1
VIETNAM
9
6
2
1
14
4
9
KAZAKHSTAN
9
6
0
3
12
5
6
IRAN A
9
4
3
2
11
6
5
IRAN B
9
4
1
4
9
7
7
JORDAN
9
2
1
6
5
8
8
SRI LANKA
9
2
1
6
5
9
10
IRAQ
9
1
0
8
2
10
3
OMAN
9
0
0
9
0

Visiting Tabriz

By GM Elshan Moradiabadi

On the morning prior to round eight, I chose to take a tour of Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan in Iran. Readers unfamiliar with the history of the region may wonder why a region of Iran is called East Azerbaijan, and whether there is a relation with the republic with the same name. The answer is a big yes. In fact there is also a region called West Azerbaijan, and all three namesakes, the two regions and the republic, share the same culture and language. They once belonged to the Persian Empire, but a portion was ceded to Russia in the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 as a result of the first full-scale Russo-Persian War. It should be noted that despite sharing fundamental similarities, today they also differ in that the Republic of Azerbaijan is more westernized while the Azerbaijan provinces of Iran remain very religious and traditional.

Maqbaratoshoara is a mausoleum for poets, mystics and famous people
located in the Surkhab district of Tabriz in Iran

As can be seen in the sign, it contains the remnants of no fewer than 410 notable figures. The first
poet buried in this complex is Asadi Tusi (999-1072), one of the greatest Persian poets of all time.

The Bazaar of Tabriz is one of the oldest markets in Iran which is situated in the heart of
the city of Tabriz. It is believed that the complex was one of the most important commercial
centers on the silk road.

The pictures are from Tim-che-eh-Mozaffariyeh which was founded by Mozaffer ad-Din Shah e Qajar.

Tabriz rugs are considered one of the finest of Iranian make. These gigantic works of art once
graced the former government palace of Tabriz

As can easily be read in black letters, this rug was made in 1320, which makes it 73 years
old. This might seem like we are failing some basic math, but you need to understand that
just as the Western calendar sets year zero around Jesus Christ, the Iranian calendar starts
with the prophet and historical figure Muhammad which was exactly 1393 years ago.

This sumptuous weave depicts the former city hall, a magnificent palace that is 107 years old
and is now a museum

Arg-e AliShāh, also known as Arg-e Tabriz and Masjid AliShāh, is a remnant
of a mosque in the center of Tabriz, Iran, built in the Ilkhanate period

In Iran this Arg is considered the sign of the city. It used to have one of the tallest historical
walls in the world. Next to it there was a famous music theater known as the "Lion and Sun"
which was built by Russian architects. Unfortunately it was destroyed in the 1980s.


Links

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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