Russia defeats USA to become Fide Online Chess Olympiad champion

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Russia beat the United States 2-0 to become the elite division champions in the second Fide Online Chess Olympiad on Wednesday.

In the first round, Vladislav Artemiev and Alexandra Goryachkina won the first two matches for Russia while Alexandra Kosteniuk, Polina Shuvalova and Daniil Dubov played a draw and Andrei Esipenko was beaten. Russia maintained their dominance in the second round with Kosteniuk and Leia Garifullina winning their matches. Dubov, Vladislav Artemiev and Ekaterina Lagno played a draw while Esipenko was again beaten, but that didn’t matter in the final result.

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A total of 40 teams took part in the second edition of the Olympiad. India, co-winner of 2020 with Russia and led by Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy, reached the semi-finals before losing to the United States via a tie-break.

The games were played with a 15 minute time control with the addition of 5 seconds for each shot. In the quarterfinals, Russia beat the Hungarian team and in the semifinals, they beat the Chinese team.

In the first round of the final there were fierce battles. Even though Russia started out as favorites, it was never going to be easy for the defending champions. On the first board, Jeffery Xiong had the white pieces against Dubov, who played the now famous “Dubov Tarrasch”.

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Things got exciting when the American took a risk and won a pawn on the queenside, putting pressure on Dubov against the King of XIong. He sacrificed a coin a few blows later. Xiong, however, refused the sacrifice, traded queens and held the final, bringing it to a draw.

On board two, Artemiev won an excellent position game against Ray Robson, snatching a pawn early on and slowly converting it to a winning position.

Awonder Liang scored a point against Andrey Esipenko in table three. There were times when Black was on the verge of a draw, but White continued to win.

In both female paintings, Kosteniuk attracted Nazi Paikidze, while Shuvalova attracted Thalia Cervantes.

And on the last chessboard, Alexandra Goryachkina scored a full point with Black against Irina Krush, allowing Russia to win 3.5-2.5 in the round.

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The second round started with promises of an even tighter competition. The teams traded their victories at boards 3 and 4. Liang dominated Esipenko and Kosteniuk beat Krush with an astonishing attack, which online commentators called a possible candidate for the game of the year.

Dubov secured a formidable position with White in the opening against Xiong, won a pawn and put on the pressure. Xiong defended perfectly, however, and managed to save the game. At this point the scores were tied 1.5-1.5.

Meanwhile, on board two, Dariusz Swiercz called the shots against Artemiev, winning a pawn. But the defense prevailed and Artemiev had a draw with Black. 2.2 the note.

The remaining matches ended soon after – a draw between GM Kateryna Lagno and Anna Zatonskih in Table 5, while on the last table Leya Garifullina dominated Cervantes, giving Russia the decisive advantage of the round.

Russia won the set 3.5-2.5 and the final 2-0.

(With entries from Chess.com)

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