World Team Championships – the Chinese are coming

11/5/2005 – The Russians have relinquished their lead. After playing only four of the first five rounds the Chinese men's team has overtaken them and looks poised for victory in Beer Sheva, Israel. Host Israel is in third place, followed by Armenia and Ukraine. Illustrated report.

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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.

Correction: In our previous report we stated that the youngest player is Beer Sheva was Sergey Karjakin, who is 16. Eugene Wee of Singapore points out that this was not correct, since WFM Hou Yifan from the China Women's team was born in 1994, and so is 11 years old.


Hou Yifan, a great Chinese talent

John Henderson of The Scotsman drew our attention to the fact that the World Team Championship in Beer Sheva was in fact not the first to see a women's team. "I've seen this story in The Times, CNN, Press Association and ChessBase," Henderson writes. "Part of the media hype surrounding the event has been the publicity generated by the participation of the Chinese women's team, which FIDE and the organizers claim to be a 'first' for a women's team playing in such an elite team tournament. But alas, the organizers don't seem to be aware of the history of their own event! They only had to look no further than the 1997 World Team Championships in Lucerne, where the Georgian women's team – that included their all-star line-up of Maia Chiburdanidze, Nino Kurtsidze, Nana Ioseliani, Nona Gaprindashvili and last, but not least, former Scottish champion Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant – took part. China can make the news though for the right reasons. While they continue to dominate women's events with a multi-gold medal winning Olympiad squad, the Chinese men's team has yet to make a major breakthrough on the world stage."

Well, Henderson, old friend, that is exactly what they appear to be doing. After five rounds the Chinese are in the lead, having defeated Georgia 3.5-0.5, while the Russians only managed a 2.5-1.5 against the US. The Chinese men's team also has one round less than the Russians, having rested in round two (the Russians have the day off in round seven).

Standings after five rounds

  Team wins losses draws points
1 China Men
4
0
0
13.5
2 Russia
5
0
0
13
3 Israel
2
2
1
10
4 Armenia
2
0
2
9.5
5 Ukraine
2
2
0
9
6 USA
1
2
1
7.5
7 Georgia
0
4
1
6.5
8 Cuba
1
3
0
6
9 China Women
0
4
1
5

All games so far in zipped PGN

The official web site has live transmission of the games, which are also broadcast on Playchess.com. The pictures are still uncaptioned, but the organiser informs us that this will soon be rectified. In the Reports section you will find comments and annotated game fragments by Alon Greenfeld.

Picture gallery


Games under way in round four of the World Team Championship


Zhang Pengxiang of the Chinese Men's team


Shen Yang, 16, of the Chinese women's team, held
GM Gagunashvili of Georgia to a draw in round four


Zhang Zhong of the Chinese Men's team


GM Sergey Karjakin, 16, playing for Ukraine


Alexander Grischuk, Russia's board three


Volokitin and Grischuk analyse their round four game (Grischuk won), while Rublevsky kibitzes


Round five under way


Peter Svidler, Russia, second highest-ranked player in the event


The boy on the left won this fifth round game


Lenier Dominguez on board two for Cuba


Huang Qian, who lost to Ruslan Ponomariov in round five


Qianyun Gong of the Chinese Women's team


Ilia Smirin playing board two for Israel


The Chinese team mowing down the Georgians

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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