China beats Uzbekistan, wins World Team Championship

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/26/2022 – By beating Uzbekistan in the final match, China won the World Team Championship in Jerusalem. The Chinese squad won both sets by a 2½-1½ score to claim the title. Meanwhile, in the match for third place, Spain got the better of India in tiebreaks, with wins for Jaime Santos and David Anton in the blitz decider. | Photo: Mark Livshitz

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A deep roster

Often China is among the favourites in team events, with the likes of Ding Liren and Wei Yi very much capable of beating any elite player on the top boards. At the World Team Championship in Jerusalem, however, the Asian team did not have its best representatives in the lineup, but nonetheless ended up taking gold medals thanks to an impressively consistent performance throughout the six days of action.

According to China’s classical ratings list, numbers 10, 16, 18 and 22 in the national ranking made their way to Jerusalem. With the likes of Azerbaijan and France fielding elite stars on top boards, it seemed unlikely that the Chinese would manage to win the whole thing — and with such a convincing performance to boot!

World Team Chess Championship 2022

Uzbekistan versus China | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Facing Uzbekistan in the final, China won one game per set and drew the rest to secure tournament victory without needing to take the match to tiebreaks. Remarkably, the eventual champions had not needed tiebreaks in the previous stages of the knockout either.

The one victory in the second set was achieved by Li Di, who defeated Ortig Nigmatov with the white pieces on board 4. Karsten Müller analysed the rook endgame, in which, as it is often the case, activity was the priority. 

 
 
 

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Spain beats India

The chess world has been astonished by India’s incredible ascent in the last few years. A great new generation of players impressed by their ability to adapt to even the most strenuous of events, with India’s showing at the record-breaking Olympiad in Chennai only a demonstration of what we all already knew — that there is a new chess powerhouse coming from South Asia!

At the World Team Championship in Jerusalem, much like China, the Indians did not have the very best in the lineup, but they did get to field two strong young players in Vidit Gujrathi and Nihal Sarin.

After losing to Uzbekistan in the semifinals, India was paired up against Spain in the match for third place. Although the rating differences were not that big, given India’s recent record in team events, the Asians were considered the favourites. However, the Spaniards are no pushovers, with a mix of youth and experience in the lineup.

Both ‘slow rapid’ sets in the match finished drawn, with Nihal Sarin and Miguel Santos scoring for their teams in the first 4-game mini-match — which meant the fight for third place would be decided in tiebreaks.

World Team Chess Championship 2022

The Spanish team celebrating — with captain David Martinez | Photo: Mark Livshitz

In the blitz, Spain’s top boards Jaime Santos and David Anton scored wins over the two stars of the Indian team to secure a much deserved third place in the competition.

Our in-house endgame expert looked at Santos’ victory over Vidit. Knight endings require very precise calculations.

 
 
 

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.