China trounces USA

by ChessBase
8/1/2013 – China was able to finish off a weakened USA who put very little resistance in the rapid games. In the women's section Tan Zhongyi scored an unbelievable 9.5/10 which put all hope of an American comeback to rest. The American girls again sent us their impressions from the tournament, of Ningbo and even annotated one of their best game. Beautiful pictorial report.

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The Chinese chess federation invited the United Chess Federation to send a male and female team to participate in a friendly China vs. USA match to be held in Ningbo, China from July 18 to July 28. The match consisted of five classic time control games in Scheveningen style followed by ten rapid games in a double Scheveningen format. The invitation for the Americans came relatively late, but they were still able to put a strong team together despite the fact that they had less than two months notice.

The men were playing for a prize fund of $30,000 divided 60% to the winning team and 40% to the other. The women are playing for the same odds but for a prize fund of $20,000. Some American stars were missing from the line-up, namely Kamsky and Nakamura in the men and Zatonskih and Krush in the women, but nonetheless they still fielded a very competitive team. The Chinese were not afraid to send some of their top players, including Wang Yue in the men and Ju Wenjun in the women.

The American girls were kind enough to send us a gorgeous pictorial report of the event, as well as their impressions from the tournament:

Free Day

The US team went into the free day having badly lost the classical portion of the match. However they remained with their spirits high and tried to get some inspiration by visiting some of the local culture in Ningbo.

Player and photographer Iryna Zenyuk enjoys the view at the Moon Lake Parks

The players took time to visit a buddhist museum

Ningbo has become a great mix of the classical...

...and the modern.

Rapid Games

The rapid games were played at a rate of 25 minutes with 5 second increment. Despite the tactical nature of many of America's squad it seemed that the Chinese were much more familiar with how to handle these type fast controls. America was trying to turn around the defeat they suffered in the classic but ended up being crushed rather badly in the rapid.

Ding Yixin was the lowest scoring Chinese player in the rapids, at "only" 6.5/10

Wang Jue, not to be confused with Wang Yue!

The American team suffered seriously in the rapids, Shulman scored only 3/10

A little death glare never hurt anyone

Sabina Foisor comes from a chess playing family, but is the only one that represents America

Wang Yue showed his excellent form and beat Lenderman 2-0 in the rapids

[Event "Yinzhou Cup CHN-USA"]
[Site "Ningbo CHN"]
[Date "2013.07.23"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Wang Jue"]
[Black "Abrahamyan, T."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C18"]
[WhiteElo "2399"]
[BlackElo "2316"]
[Annotator "Abrahamyan, T"]
[PlyCount "104"]
[EventDate "2013.07.19"]
[EventRounds "5"]
[EventCountry "CHN"]
[WhiteTeam "CHN"]
[BlackTeam "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. Qg4 O-O 8. Bd3
Nbc6 9. Qh5 Ng6 10. Nf3 Qc7 11. Be3 c4 {I'm always happy to face the most
critical line of my favorite opening} 12. Bxg6 fxg6 13. Qg4 Qf7 14. Ng5 Qe8 15.
h4 Bd7 {a rare continuation that has become more popular recently. black
doesn't want to commit to playing h6 just yet and is waiting for white's
reaction. more common is} (15... h6 16. Nh3 Ne7 17. Qe2 Bd7 18. g4 {followed
by h5 and black's king can become very vulnerable}) 16. a4 (16. Qe2 b5 17. g4 {
is the normal continuation for white still trying to build up an attack on the
kingside. in these types of positions the white king is usually safe on d2})
16... a5 17. Bc1 {this bishop transfer idea is incongruent with white's more
aggressive h4. it is more typical in these positions to go for the throat with
pushing the pawns on the kingside. the Bc1 idea make more sense in the 9. Bg5
Qa5 10. Ne2 Ng6 11.0-0 c4 12. Bg6 fg6 13. a4 variation where white first tries
to activate the dark square bishop and make black's pieces uncomfortable
before starting an attack. here, the white king is still in the center and the
a4 pawn is loose for no reason. Also, from a3, the dark square bishop is not
supporting white's attack, which usually involves the f4 breakthrough after
black is forced to play g5} h6 18. Nh3 Ne7 19. Ba3 Rf7 20. Kd2 {extremely
dangerous. white doesn't really have an attack, and after the a4 pawn falls,
the b5-b4 breakthrough will weaken the white king} Bxa4 21. Qe2 {this move
doesn't make much sense as white's usual ideas of g4-h5 no longer work} (21.
Bxe7 Rxe7 22. Nf4 Bd7 23. Nxg6 Rf7 {and black has good play on the queenside})
21... b5 22. Bc5 Rb8 23. g4 b4 24. Qe3 Qb5 25. Rhb1 Nc6 26. Kc1 b3 27. Rb2 $2 (
27. Kd2) 27... Nb4 $1 28. Bxb4 (28. cxb4 c3 29. Qxc3 Qf1+ 30. Kd2 Qxa1) 28...
axb4 29. Kd2 Rc8 30. f4 Rcf8 31. Rf1 bxc3+ 32. Qxc3 Qd7 {and the rest is quite
easy} 33. f5 gxf5 34. g5 f4 35. gxh6 gxh6 36. Rg1+ Rg7 37. Rbb1 Kh8 38. Rxg7
Qxg7 39. Rg1 Qh7 40. cxb3 Bxb3 41. Nf2 Qf5 42. h5 Qxh5 43. Rh1 Qg5 44. Qf3 Qg6
45. Kc3 {the white king decides to go for an unsuccessful stroll} Qc2+ 46. Kb4
Qd2+ 47. Kc5 Qa5+ 48. Kd6 Qb6+ 49. Ke7 Qd8+ 50. Kxe6 Qc8+ 51. Kd6 Rd8+ 52. Ke7
Re8+ 0-1

Rapid Results

Closing Ceremony

When all was said and done, China completely dominated the match. It wasn't just that the women were outrated, to be fair China showed far superior form in the event. All of the Chinese player's in the rapid section scored at least +2, and showed that in rapid chess USA was no match to China.

The conclusion was of course a feast for the players and an award ceremony to the best players of each team.

Zenyuk and Abrahamyan were the hard hitters of the American women's team

Robson has been steadily improving the past few years but had problems in the rapid portion

At a 2608 classical performance and a near 2400 rapid performance Abrahamyan was without a doubt America's best girl

Also without question Shankland was the saving grace of America's men's team, scoring a brilliant 6.5/10 in the rapid and a 50% in the classical

Viktorja Ni and Alisa Melekhina

Foisor, Kaidanov and Shulman already plotting their revenge

An on-form Chinese team showed supremacy

Tan Zhongyi, sporting a red sweater and shying away from the camera, scored a monstruous 9.5/10 in the rapids

Stuart Chagrin, team captain and president of the Marshall Chess Club and Marcus Fenner, head of delegation, executive director of the Marshall Chess Club. They were in charge of making sure everything went smoothly for the players and they did an amazing job.

Never one to fall into bad spirits, Viktorja Ni gets ready for one last night out in Ningbo

Some of the players went to unwind with a beautiful view on their last day in China

A magnificent view of Ningbo. Not too shabby for a city that can find its roots in 4800 BC

The Chinese are expected to visit USA next year where a rematch will be played in New York. The Americans will then have home court and hope to turn around this result.

Replay all the rapid games

Click on the dropdown menu above the board to change games.

All pictures and information provided by Tatev Abrahamyan, Alisa Melekhina, Viktoria Ni and Iryna Zenyuk

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