FIDE SF Women’s World Team Championship: Russia and India reach finals

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Tournament favorites Russia beat Ukraine 2.5-1.5, 3-1 in both rounds of the semi-finals to score a 2-0 match point victory to reach the World Championship final women’s team to be held in Sitges, Spain.

In the other semi-final, India drew 2-2 in the first round, then took a spectacular 2.5-1.5 victory in the second round to beat Georgia with 1.5-0, 5 match point in an upside down encounter that sets up a summit clash with Russia. . The semi-finals lived up to expectations of “big battles”, with the second round remarkably producing seven decisive matches out of a total of eight played.

Russian GM Alexandra Gorychkina impressed again with a demonstration of deep end technique against Ukrainian GM Anna Muzychuk in a heavyweight battle. In the other remarkable game of the day, Indian WGM Tania Sachdev showed remarkable courage under pressure in a difficult but savage position to turn the tables against Georgian IM Meri Arabidze, which was the key game. to decide the second round and therefore the match in favor. from India.

How to look?
The FIDE Women’s World Championship matches are available here. Live commentary for all rounds will be broadcast on Chess.com/tv.

Semi-finals 1st part:

Semi-finals part two:


Russia vs Ukraine

Russia vs Ukraine semi-final begins at the Women's World Team Championship
Russia v Ukraine game begins, with Anna Muzychuk v Goryachkina at the top of the table. Photo: Niki Riga / FIDE.

Game 1: Russia take the lead with 2.5-1.5 win

It has been dubbed the “most exciting game of the day” by GM Irina Krush to Chess.com live commentary, also believing Russia to be probably the favorite. But the first round seemed to be weighed down by the pressure of the game, with careful play on almost every board from the start.

Of the top three tables, only GM Mariya Muzychuk seemed to be actively playing against GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, but it got complicated late in the game:

Russia won the match thanks to the audacity of MI Alina Kashlinskaya who led the match with energy and led the fight against her opponent:

Round 2: Russia wins 3-1 to reach the final

Best Russian advice with Grandmaster trainer Rublevsky at the Women's Education World Championship
The first Russians board Goryachkina and Kosteniuk with team captain GM Sergei Rublevsky before the match. Photo: Niki Riga / FIDE.

The second round was noticeably more tense, as Ukraine were clearly desperate to win to stay in the game, and therefore all games were exciting business. Goryachkina seized the opportunity again, flaunting his brilliant late-game prowess in a pivotal upper-board encounter against another Grandmaster:

And now you suddenly remember your previous match against Mammadzada in the third round and you wonder, “What’s going on with Goryachkina and the end of the round and crazy ?!” Kosteniuk and GM Mariya Muzychuk decided to let go and played a wild overture, which quickly turned chaotic:

In the other two games, GM Kateryna Lagno gradually dominated former GM world champion Anna Ushenina while MI Polina Shuvalova calmly pocketed the point against desperate MI Nataliya Buksa who rejected many chances to draw for ultimately lose the game.

Russian IM Polina Shuvalova at the Women's World Team Championship
Polina Shuvalova, delivering for Russia at the crucial moment. Photo: Niki Riga / FIDE.

Georgia vs. India

Georgia vs India semi-final match at the Women's World Team Championship
Georgia vs India match in progress, with Dzagnidze vs Harika in the foreground. Note the chairs for the team captains at the end of the lines. Photo: Niki Riga / FIDE.

Round 1: ends in a tie with 2-2

The day started for India with a Tweet from an original member, which definitely made their day brighter ahead of the quarter-finals:

This meeting was nicknamed by WGM Dina Belankaya as a “difficult” match where it was difficult to pick a favorite. Indeed, the match turned out to be impossible to predict, as the result seemed to fluctuate in favor of either team over the duration of the matches and all three results seemed possible halfway through.

GM Nana Dzagnidze’s top-of-the-table encounter against GM Dronavalli Harika ended in record time, just 14 moves with a triple repetition. Otherwise, there is a rule against mutual consent draws in this championship before black’s 30th move.

GM Nino Batsiashvili’s risky opening play from an unusual setup in the Ruy Lopez against WGM Vaishali allowed Whites to retain an advantage for a long time.

During a game, it is easy for chess players to make an engagement decision when they need to calculate and come up with the best sequence. The same goes for a strategic decision when to make a move or a short shot based on positional factors.

But there is a different thinking process when there is a dynamic position on the board but still there is no forced calculation possible. There is still a decision to make between making a commitment decision or continuing with non-commitment moves that would keep the game going. Vaishali showed his flair for active positions with such a remarkable mid-game decision:

While Vaishali’s 56.Rh6 might seem straightforward to someone who knows the basics of Endgame, it’s pretty important that their brain works fairly quickly when there’s less time on the clock. Meanwhile, India appeared to be on track for an overall victory on the other two tables.

To succeed in a team tournament is to have stable players among its members that the team can rely on, rather than brilliant players who might not be consistent. One of those stable players for this Indian team is WGM Mary Ann Gomes, who had a remarkable tournament. She was a replacement choice for GM Koneru Humpy and subsequently IM Padmini Rout just a week before the event started, due to Covid-19 vaccination restrictions.

For someone who was literally selected in the final week of the event, she has become one of the mainstays of the squad, winning both of her matches in the quarterfinals. With another fierce fight, Gomes produced a long victory over IM Melia Salome with typically balanced play:

At this point, it looked like India was on track to win the first round, just as IM Lela Javakhishvili trapped IM Bhakti Kulkarni’s knight right in the middle of the chessboard after 70 long moves:

Thus, it was expected that both teams would return to play the second round without any advantage over each other.

Round 2: India wins 2.5-1.5

The second round started off rather tense for India, as MI Tania Sachdev struggled early enough, obviously battling MI Meri Arabidze. This was after Vaishali played actively from the opening against general manager Nino Batsiashvili and created a surprisingly easy attack on the White King. Vaishali’s advantage has never been in doubt.

To date, the top-of-the-table encounter was due to end in another draw after Harika struggled to convert her small advantage against Dzagnidze. A fantastic performance came from Javakhishvili, who applied sustained pressure in positional play to confidently beat Gomes in such a crucial encounter:

Respect for Javakhishvili soars when you realize that she has crucially won her two matches for Georgia in the semi-finals.

IM Javakhishvili from Armenia with GM Davit Jojua at the Women's World Team Championship
Javakhishvili, an important artist for Georgia, with Captain GM Davit Jojua. Photo: Niki Riga / FIDE.

Vaishali produced precise movements in an advantageous position to honorably outsmart Batsiashvili. And then, just when commentators and onlookers had assumed Sachdev was ready for a long, tense defense, she came up with a stunning 18.Kd2 !? a pure product of street fighting skills and survival instincts:

And finally, this effort allowed India to win the match and advance to the final.

WGM Vaishali, WGM Mary Ann Gomes and WGM Tania Sachdev at the Women's World Team Championship
A delighted Tania who always comes to terms with her own efforts, with her teammates Vaishali and Gomes around. Photo: Niki Riga / FIDE.

All Matches – Semi-finals

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 on Chess.com.


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