England got off to a strong start at this week’s World Team Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan, where they beat hosts Azerbaijan in the early rounds and then drew with the United States and , Friday, the Russians, seeded.
The impressive results put England in contention for silver or bronze ahead of Saturday’s critical game against India (9am start, free and live online). Still, it could have been even better.
In Russia v England on Friday, the tournament favorites showed their intent by dropping their normal No.1 Sergey Karjakin in favor of the in-form Ian Nepomniachtchi on board one and the rapidly improving Vladislav Artemiev on board four. England indeed countered with the chess equivalent of parking the bus and aiming for a draw every game.
Despite White, Gawain Jones chose a symmetrical opener against Artemiev and bailed for a triple-repeat draw on move 13. Michael Adams headed for opposite-colored bishops against ‘Nepo’, Luke McShane as White opted for a slow plan against Alexander Grischuk’s Berlin Wall, while David Howell played a solid Caro-Kann against Dmitry Andreikin.
It worked out well for Howell, who was level throughout a totally drawn final. The question mark concerned Adams’ odd decision to accept Nepo’s draw offer at move 31, at a time when McShane was facing a late game struggle against Grischuk. Hit 30 is the minimum for the event, except for repeat draws, so both players were likely in. But Nepo’s 31st was an error rated by the engines at +1.7, enough to keep Adams playing with some great chances.
What could have been a disaster was averted when McShane and Grischuk, both addicted to time pressure, raced to reach the 40 shot in which the Russian missed two clear winning chances. A draw was agreed at the time check and England had achieved their bus park goal 2-2.
The main totals after four of the nine rounds were Russia 7 match points (10 game points), India 6 (11), USA 6 (9.5), England 6 (9), England 6 (9), Iran 5 (9.5).
Previously, the team’s strategy against Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan was to get the best out of England’s two whites and play more conservatively with the blacks. It proved successful despite the poor form of Adams, who had not suffered back-to-back defeats in a major tag team event since Dresden 2008, 11 years ago.
For decades, a mainstay of the 47-year-old Cornishman’s repertoire has been the French defense 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2, and he seemed to have a promising opening, but it fell apart in an ending. worse then lost.
England qualified for the 10-nation world teams by finishing fifth at the 180-nation Olympiad last year. Olympic champions China started poorly and have only three match points after four rounds, but with easier opponents to come. The battle for silver and bronze is expected to be between China, USA, England, India and Iran, so Saturday’s fifth-round England-India match could be crucial .
With the help of Fide’s new and energetic press secretary, chief executive Yannick Pelletier, the Guardian was able to pose a question to Arkady Dvorkovich, who has made such an impressive debut as president of the global body. The global teams were organized in just five weeks, the global rapid/blitz was saved from cancellation, while the prize fund for 2020 contestants was increased by 20% to €500,000.
Dvorkovich was asked if he had made contact with Rex Sinquefield, the billionaire from St Louis who supports the Grand Tour and many other major events. These two are the most powerful personalities in chess today.
Dvorkovich replied that the main progress so far has been the coordination of schedules to avoid clashes between the World Championship cycle and the Grand Tour, but added that he had met Sinquefield personally in London during the title match. worldwide and that their conversation was friendly.
The two centers of power can probably co-exist without issue unless Fabiano Caruana, still world No. 2, becomes Magnus Carlsen’s 2020 challenger again. Given that Dvorkovich has already declared that the next title match should take place outside of Europe and that St. Louis is sure to make a generous offer, the stage would then be set for a contact between the former Minister of government of Vladimir Putin, Dvorkovich, and Sinquefield’s key consultant and arch-critic of Putin. Garry Kasparov.
3609 (by Dietrich Wasmann) 1 Qd1! Si 1…bxa3 2 Qxa4 Kd6 3 Qd7, Si 1…b3 2 Qg4 and 3 Qd7. If 1…Kc6 2 Qg4 Kb7 3 Qc8. If 1…Kd6 2 Qxa4 and 3 Qd7.