FIDE World Team Championship 2015

by Frederic Friedel
3/20/2015 – Tsaghkadzor, the "Valley of Flowers", is a small touristy town in Armenia, with barely 3000 people. But it is big on tourism and has beautiful hotels. In April the five-star Golden Palace will host teams from Armenia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Hungary, India, Russia, Ukraine, USA in what is sure to be a very enjoyable event. Visitors are welcome, and as a chess holiday the trip is a real bargain.

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World Team Championship 2015

This event is being organized by the Armenian Chess Federation and will take place from April 18 (arrival) to 29 (departure) in Tsakhkadzor, Armenia. The federations that will participate are Armenia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Hungary, India, Russia, Ukraine, USA. The championship will be held as a round-robin tournament, i.e. each team will play a match against each of the other nine teams. The time control for the event is 90 minutes for 40 moves +30 minutes for the rest, with 30 seconds added to each move, starting from move one. The teams are made up of four players plus one reserve (and the captain).

Tsakhkadzor

Tsaghkadzor, which literally means "Valley of Flowers" and is Romanized to Tsakhkadzor, is a spa town and a popular health resort in Armenia, located north of the capital Yerevan in the Kotayk Province (marz). The population of the town is 1,600, though in its heyday there were well over 3000 people living there.

Tsaghkadzor may be a small, touristy town, but has a rich and convoluted history. The area was first settled during the third century and belonged to a noble family who governed the forests and lands. These were used as a hunting ground for the Armenian kings of the Arsacid dynasty. During the later centuries, the region was turned into a frequent battlefield between the Ottomans and Persians. After the Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828, Tsaghkadzor and the surrounding areas became part of the Erivan Governorate within the Russian Empire.

Today the town's infrastructure centers around tourism, with many luxurious hotels, resorts and amusement facilities available to visitors. Above is the venue of the World Team Championship 2015, the five-star hotel Golden Palace Tsakhkadzor Hotel [photo Barev Armenia].

All six team members get single rooms with full hospitality and can lounge in this 1650 sq.m. lobby...

... and enjoy Armenian wine in front of a truly spectacular fireplace [photos Golden Palace Tsakhkadzor]

The playing venue

The final date for registration for the World Team Championship was March 15, on which day each Federation had to send the organizer the names of the team captain and all five team members. Here are some useful links for players and visitors:

Booking.com, which apparently keeps track of our every move and saw that we had shopped around in Tsaghkadzor, sent me the above message: apparently people can get rooms or apartements (with free Wi-Fi and a fully equipped kitchen) in the city centre for 19 Euros, which is currently just over 19 US Dollars. We will let you know when Expedia informs us which super-saver flights are available. In any case it could be a nice chess holiday – it's pronounced "Zag-kad-zor", in case you decide to go.

Azerbaijan not to take part in the World Team Championship

On January 29, 2015, the Russian site Chess News reported that the World Team Championship in Tsakhkadzor will take take place without a team from Azerbaijan. According to azerisport.com the Azerbaijani players have refused to travel to Tsakhkadzor, even though they have the right to participate. On February 11 Chess News revealed that the 2013 European Champions would be replaced by the Israeli national team.

The US team

On March 10th there was a major story in the New York Times telling us about an attempt to recruit the world's number two player, Fabiano Caruana (an Italian GM who was born in Miami), to change federations and strengthen the US chances. "The United States team that will compete in the World Team Chess Championship next month in Armenia stands no real chance of winning," wrote Dylan Loeb McClain. "It is not sending its three best players, and even if it were, it would not have enough talent to compete with the stacked teams from Russia and China." Caruana would be an ideal enhancement, but his transfer would not come in time for Tsakhkadzor. The 2015 U.S. Championship will be held in St. Louis from March 31 through April 14, with top US players participating. Theoretically they could make it to Tsakhkadzor in time for the World Team Championship, but all three top GMs have apparently declined: the world's number three, Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and the world's number seven, Wesley So, who switched to the United States last year from the Philippines, will both not be playing. Nor will the US squad be led by Gata Kamsky, who is currently number 61, at 2683 rating points (vs. 2798 for Nakamura and 2788 for So). Instead Sam Shankland will be on Board One. He is number 88 in the world, but also someone who has apparently forgotten how to lose. In January he had remained undefeated in 68 classical games of chess.

In the following tables we have put together the ten teams, taking the orthography the national federations used in their entry forms. We have corrected the ratings to reflect the March 2015 FIDE list, and we have specified the World Ranking (WR) wherever a player was amongst the top 100. "C" points to the Captain of each team. The tables were made manually, entering data from copies (Word, PDF, JPGs) of the entry forms. Please feel free to draw our attention to any inaccuracies that may have crept in.

USA

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WR
Born
1 Samuell Shankland
2661
88
1.10.1991
2 Alexander Onischuk
2669
73
3.9.1975
3 Daniel Naroditsky
2633
 
9.11.1995
4 Varuzhan Akobian
2620
 
19.11.1983
5 Alexandr Lenderman
2617
 
23.9.1989
C John W. Donaldson
2390
 
24.9.1958

Russia

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WR
Born
1 Alexander Grischuk
2794
5
31.10.1983
2 Sergey Karjakin
2757
12
12.01.1990
3 Evgeny Tomashevsky
2745
16
01.07.1987
4 Dimitry Jakovanko
2742
18
28.06.1983
5 Nikita Vitiugov
2739
19
04.02.1987
C Mark Gluhovskiy
 
 
21.09.1973

Armenia

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WRd
Born
1 Aronian Levon
2770
10
1982
2 Sargissian Gabriel
2668
74
1983
3 Movsesian Sergei
2665
78
1978
4 Akopian Vladimir
2660
90
1971
5 Melkumyan Hrant
2676
64
 
C Petrosian Arshak
 
 
 

Ukraine

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WR
Born
1 Vasyl Ivanchuk
2731
23
18.03.1969
2 Ruslan Ponomariov
2713
34
1983
3 Pavlo Elyanov
2727
35
1983
4 Oleksandr Moiseyenko
2693
53
1980
5 Yuriy Kryvoruchko
2694
50
1986
C Oleksandr Sulypa
2482
 
1972

China

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WR
Born
1 Xiangzhi Bu
2681
63
1985-12-10
2 Ding Liren
2755
14
1992-10-24
3 Yangyi Yu
2724
29
1994-06-08
4 Yi Wei
2695
44
1999-06-02
5 Chen Wang
2500
 
1993-09-19
C Wenliang Li
2429
 
1967-04-14

Hungary

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WR
Born
1 Péter Lékó
2713
33
08.09.1979
2 Csaba Balogh
2655
97
10.03.1987
3 Viktor Erdõs
2613
 
02.09.1987
4 Zoltán Almási
2695
49
29.08.1976
5 Richard Rapport
2709
40
25.03.1996
C Tamás Horváth
2352
 
23.10.1951

Israel

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WR
Born
1 Gelfand Boris
2747
15
28.6.1968
2 Rodshtein Maxim
2654
98
19.1.1989
3 Smirin Ilia
2743
27
21.1.1968
4 Sutovsky Emil
2623
 
19.9.1977
5 Postny Evgeni
2645
 
03.7.1981
C Kaspi Alex
 
 
21.5.1964

India

# Player / Coach (6) Rating
WR
Born
1 Sethuraman S. P. 2632
 
25.02.1993
2 Hari Krishna Pentala 2729
49
10.05.1986
3 Vidit Santosh Gujarathi 2625
 
24.10.1994
4 Sasikiran Krishnan 2692
55
07.01.1981
5 Deep Sengupta 2567
 
30.06.1988
C Ramesh R. B. 2472
 
20.04.1976

Cuba

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WR
Born
1 Leinier Dominguez Perez
2729
26
23-09-1983
2 Lazaro Bruzon Batista
2691
55
02-05-1982
3 Yuniesky Quesada Perez
2637
 
31-07-1984
4 Isan R. Ortiz Suarez
2625
 
30-03-1985
5 Yuri Gonzalez Vidal
2557
 
12-01-1981
C Aryam Abreu Delgado
2455
 
9-07-1978

Egypt

# Player / Coach (6)
Rating
WR
Born
1 Farag Mostafa
2293
 
1960
2 Bassem Ibrahim
2634
 
1988
3 Ahmed Adly
2589
 
1987
4 Essam Elgendy
2475
 
1966
5 Samy Shoker
2466
 
1987
C Mohamed Elsherief
2479
 
1978

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Editor-in-Chief of the ChessBase News Page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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