FIDE Women’s World Team Championship quarter-finals: Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and India reach semi-finals
Russia and Georgia reached the semi-finals of the 2021 Women’s World Team Championship with strong performances, while India and Ukraine defeated their rivals on varying levels of difficulty and drama during the quarterfinals. final. While India’s victory was due to some of the victories its team members had in the regular quick-time control matches, Ukraine put on a courageous performance to overcome a first-round loss and the win in a blitz tiebreaker team match.
GM Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia and GM Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine played two of the best matches of the round in contrasting styles, emphasizing that lesser time checks don’t detract from the imagination and depth of chess. At the same time, the latest tie-breaking matches have also proven that at the end of the day, chess can be a cruel game as well.
How to look?
FIDE Women’s World Team Championship matches are available at Chess.com/events. Live commentary for all rounds will be broadcast on Chess.com/tv.
Live coverage of the first round. Watch all the coverage live on youtube.com/chess.
Russia vs. FIDE Americas
Russia made short work of their less wanted rivals FIDE Americas with a clean sweep of 4-0. DG Alexandra Kosteniuk had a clinical performance with the black pieces, gradually beating MI Carolina Lujan. The highlight of the game was one of those “little combinations” attributed to former world champion Vassily Smyslov as inventor, a tactical operation that usually does not save material but considerably improves the qualification of the position:
Russia again scored a comfortable 3-1 victory, with MI Alina Kashlinskaya spotting one tactic vigilantly:
Georgia vs. Azerbaijan
Georgia also had a flattering 3.5-0.5 win over Azerbaijan, and the round saw one of the best matches of the day.
Just as there were time issues, ups and downs in valuation changes and tragic mistakes all around, GM Nana Dzagnidze produced brilliant positional pressure reminiscent of textbook classics to defeat IM Gunay Mammadzada in the first table. The game could easily be called an aesthetic marvel for the way the white pieces dominated mid-game and kept all of their black counterparts confined to the top two rows:
IM Lela Javakhishvili produced a victory with a “seasoned pro formula”: playing a staggered opening, ensuring an uneven and non-standard pawn structure, making it strategically complicated but not unnecessarily tactical, and outdoing the opponent with regular play:
Azerbaijan surprised by holding Georgia tied at 2-2 after two “crashes” for Georgian players:
However, Georgia nonetheless advance to the semi-finals as they won the first round.
This has been touted by the Chess.com live commentary feed as “the most suspenseful, … closest match” by GM commentators Irina Krush and WGM Jennifer Shahade in terms of relative team strengths. And it lived up to their predictions, in more ways than one.
MI Bhakti Kulkarni seemed to launch a forceful attack at the start, only to get it wrong at the end of the game:
At this point, all the other tips seemed to be going in Kazakhstan’s direction, but they all slowly turned in India’s favor, only to turn around and achieve parity.
GM Dronavalli Harika was under pressure for most of the game against youngster MI Zhansaya Abdumalik, but stubbornly defended himself to strike back and even gained a winning position, but it was probably impossible to find the finish in the last few. seconds of play:
WGM Vaishali and WGM Mary Ann Gomes were under pressure for most of the match, but also defended well to draw and win their matches against IM Dinara Saduakassova and WFM Meruert Kamalidenova, respectively. This left the first round of the game tied at 2-2.
The second round was also a cliffhanger, and it looked like the game could go in either team’s direction. WGM Tania Sachdev played a great sacrificial offensive game, only to spoil it:
The early defeat put India under tremendous pressure, but Harika and Gomes scored two crucial wins to take India to the semi-finals with a score of 2.5-1.5.
The best game of the round featured Harika’s beautiful exploitation of the dark squares on the black side of a Ruy Lopez:
Ukraine v Armenia
Armenia caused the biggest surprise of the first round, beating Ukraine 3-1. DG Anna Muzychuk played with a lot of imagination against General Manager Elina Danielian, pushing her pawns to both the queen side and the king side. But she missed out on simple mid-game wins and ultimately lost.
Tragedy struck Ukraine when former women’s world champion Anna Ushenina lost in time to tied MI Anna Sargsyan. The other two boards ended in ties.
Needing a second round victory to get back into the game, Ukraine rose to the challenge. Mariya Muzychuk played a beautiful sacrificial offensive game to defeat IM Lilit Mkrtchian. You have to praise Muzychuk’s nerves, because it takes real daring to play with such freedom under such pressure:
This diametrically opposed effort compared to Dzagnidze’s play in the first round deserves as much praise for its tactical brilliance. One can even judge this game more worthy of praise, giving credit to the inescapable situation in which it was played. After Ukraine won their other two boards without further ado, they won the game 3.5-0.5 and forced a decisive 3 | 2 match.
This ultimately turned out to be an anti-climax, as Ukraine won with a score of 3-1 after Mkrtchian suspended his queen from Mariya Muzychuk when she was in a better position:
The 2021 FIDE Women’s World Team Championship is a 12-team event featuring teams representing chess nations from around the world. The event runs from September 27 to October 2 and is broadcast live on Chess.com.