Key lessons for chess team at World Olympiad – Daily Nation

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Kenya will aim for an improved performance at the next edition of the World Chess Olympiad in 2020, according to Chess Kenya President Bernard Wanjala.

The Kenyan team, which arrived back Tuesday from this year’s edition of the Olympiad held in Batumi, Georgia, won two individual titles in the women’s category.

Sasha Mongeli, who had previously gained a Women Candidate Master (WCM) title during the 15-day event, went one step better and attained the higher Women Fide Master (WFM) title with two rounds to score.

Her score of eight wins out of nine games was one of the best in the Olympiads and the highest percentage score by a Kenyan in the Olympiad’s history.

Compatriot Lucy Wanjiru who also attained a WCM title after stunned her higher rated opponent in a well-played rook ending.

And Wanjala, who was elected Africa Chess Confederation Vice President at the biennial global event, has promised sweeping reforms that will see Kenya become a chess giant in years to come.

“We want to make chess a vibrant sport in the region. We plan to introduce chess in schools’ program that is vital for the growth of the game at all levels,” said Wanjala.

His sentiments were echoed by newly-elected FIDE President Arkady Divorkovich.

“We want to start bringing more success stories in Fide and I want to contribute immensely to this. Kenya is key in our global agenda,” said Arkady.

KCB Group Chief Operating Officer Samuel Makome lauded the team for giving a good fight in Georgia.

“We are proud of what the team has achieved especially the ladies. We should now focus on improving our game playing and resilience,” he said.

How To Watch Wesley So vs Vidit Gujrathi Speed Chess Tuesday –

The next match of the Speed Chess Championship quarterfinals is Tuesday as Wesley So ( @gmwso) faces Vidit Gujrathi( @viditchess). The match winner will play the Polish prodigy Jan-Krzysztof Duda in the Speed Chess final four. 

So is definitely the favorite to advance in this match, but how big a favorite is he? Find out what our statistical predictions think. 

Watch the match live, .

The following viewing options will be available:

  • the official broadcast with IM Daniel Rensch and GM Robert Hesswatch here to see the Twitch chat.
  • watch here to see the chat.

so vs vidit speed chess

The match is the 11th of 15 action-packed events in the main Speed Chess Championship bracket.

speed chess championship bracket

The match format:

  • 90 minutes of 5/1 blitz.
  • 60 minutes of 3/1 blitz.
  • 30 minutes of 1/1 bullet.
  • 3-minute breaks between segments.
  • If a game begins before the end of the segment timer, that game counts fully and will be played to completion. 
  • Higher seed starts with White, and colors alternate thereafter.
  • Highest cumulative point total wins. If points are tied after the bullet segment, a four-game 1/1 tiebreaker match will be played.
  • If the match is still tied after the additional four 1/1 games, a single armageddon game will be played: White 5+0, Black 3+0, Black gets draw odds. The player with the highest blitz rating at the start of the Armageddon chooses his color.
  • Full match rules are available here.

The match prizes:

  • Winner: $1,500 and advances to round three of the SCC.
  • An additional $1,500 split by win percentage.
  • Additional prize funds donated by the Twitch community during the live show will be split evenly between the two players. 

scc prizes

Who’s the favorite to win? 

The SmarterChess predictions call So the 70 percent favorite to win the match and advance to the Speed Chess final four. The model has the American winning both blitz portions, taking a four-game lead into the bullet segment. In the 1+1 segment, the model says that Vidit has the edge, forecasting a one-game margin for the Indian player. 

If Vidit wants to pull off the upset, he will have to keep it close in blitz and then make up the gap in bullet, according to the SmarterChess predictions. 

The SmarterChess statistical model bases its predictions on prior performance by the players in selected events. 

smarterchess predictions

Next up for the Speed Chess Championship is Hikaru Nakamura vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave: Thursday, October 11 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. 

Check for results and the full schedule. 

hikaru nakamura vs mvl

You can find all the information on the 2018 Speed Chess Championship here, including rules, format, players, and complete schedule. 

Let us know your match predictions in the comments or on Facebook. 

Find out how Liverpool star fared on his chess debut –

Date published: Monday 8th October 2018 12:54

Liverpool and England wonderkid, Trent Alexander-Arnold, has crashed to defeat in his chess match against world champion Magnus Carlsen on Monday.

The 20-year-old dubbed the “Melwood Grandmaster” after he announced his love of chess, put up a valiant defence against the Norwegian who has reigned over the sport for the last eight years.

The match held in Manchester was organised by Kaspersky Lab and World Chess, to promote the forthcoming World Chess Championship. Although championship matches can last around six or seven hours, it took Carlsen just 17 moves and five minutes to put the Golden Boy nominee into checkmate.

Alexander-Arnold, who celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday, stepped up to the table looking confident following his team’s 0-0 draw against Premier League title rivals, Manchester City.

That confidence was partly because the global cybersecurity giants and World Chess Championship partner, Kaspersky Lab had been helping Trent with innovative technology to help the rookie in his battle against the “unbeatable” Carlsen. It had also called up two of the country’s most promising players and, future Grandmasters, Kyan Bui (12) and Shreyas Royal (nine), to coach the fellow youngster ahead of the match.

The company had partnered with 4tiitoo to use NUIA eye-tracking technology to allow Trent see Magnus’ future moves based on where the opponent was looking on the chessboard. The ground-breaking tech showed what squares the opponent was focusing on and, thus, enabling Trent and his backroom staff to better plan their next move.

Tore Meyer, co-founder and CEO of 4tiitoo said that “it definitely helped Trent to stay in the game” after Trent lasted longer than another of Carlsen’s famous opponents, Bill Gates, who lasted only nine moves.

The full-back, who headed to join the England squad after the match, had promised that “he might shock people” and he definitely succeeded.

Although Carlsen was always expected to win, the match served to only further the belief that he is a future Anfield captain and a prominent part of a new generation of ‘thinking-footballers’ swapping computer games for more brain-stimulating forms of recreation.

Speaking minutes after the match, Trent said that he was “proud of his performance” and that he “hopes this will inspire more kids to play chess”.

Liverpool & England Football Player Trent Alexander Arnold Training day with Kaspersky Lab and Work Chess Championship. 30th September 2018 Picture By Mark Robinson.

Liverpool’s No.66 said that the technology, a lot like in football helped him to ‘survive’ against Carlsen:
“Firstly, I want to congratulate Magnus on playing a great game, he is the deserved winner today. I am so grateful for Magnus taking time out of his schedule and playing me and Kaspersky Lab for making it all possible. If it wasn’t for their support and, of course, Shreyas and Kyan, it would have been a lot harder.”

“I am definitely not on his level at chess, I play it for fun and he is the champion of the sport for eight years, that’s quite a record.

“There is no doubt that the NUIA technology that 4tiitoo created helped me by seeing where Magnus was planning to go. That being said, if I took him on at one-on-one on a football pitch, he wouldn’t stand a chance, no matter what technology he had!

“This whole experience has been an eye-opener, not only into just how much goes into becoming great at the game but also seeing the similarities between it and the sport I love, football. Football and chess can seem like polar sporting opposites, but there are so many similarities with the modern game.

“Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the life of a footballer and I guess, that is true across most sports now.

“Although it may go down as a 1-0 loss, I will be practicing more and maybe there will be a re-match.”


Fancy news and features on the Reds on your Facebook timeline? Like our dedicated Liverpool page.


Chess Olympiad: Celebrating The Winners –

In the evening of the final round, the closing ceremony of the Batumi Olympiad was held in the Batumi State Musical Center. Here’s a pictorial report.

With the winning teams rightly placed in the first rows, the Olympiad’s closing ceremony started with a traditional Georgian dance performance. After a video presentation and some brief speeches, the first medals were awarded and then performances and awards followed each other.

Like the opening ceremony, the closing was well received by the audience. Below are the pictorial highlights of the evening, which lasted about 2.5 hours and was the culmination of the 43rd Olympiad.

Dvorkovich with Russian team

Dvorkovich met with the Russian teams shortly before the start. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Chinese team with Zhu Chen and Maia Chiburdanidze

The Chinese women’s team with Zhu Chen and Maia Chiburdanidze. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi officials

Left-right: Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Mahir Mamedov, Arkady Dvorkovich, Bachar Kouatly, Georgios Makropoulos. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Dvorkovich Makropoulos

Former rivals Dvorkovich and Makropoulos chatting. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Audience closing ceremony Batumi Olympiad

Spectators standing up for one of the anthems. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi dancing

Traditional Georgian dancing at the start. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi concert hall

The hall as seen from the back. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Juga de Prima Batumi Olympiad

Singer/artist and chess lover Juga singing Oh Capablanca. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Poland category prize

Poland just missed out on a medal, but as a small consolance, they did win the category A prize. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Egypt

Egypt, the winner of the category B prize, partly thanks to Bassem Amin (second from the right) who scored an undefeated 8/11 on board one. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Ecuador

Ecuador, the winner of the category C prize, taking a selfie on stage! | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Afghanistan

Afghanistan, the winner of the category D prize. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi South Sudan

South Sudan, the winner of the category E prize. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Russia

Russia finished fourth in the women’s tournament and won the category A prize. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, the winner of the category B prize. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Kyrgyzstan Closing Batumi

Kyrgyzstan, the winner of the category C prize. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi El Salvador

El Salvador, the winner of the category D prize. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Kosovo

Kosovo, the winner of the category E prize. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Christian Bauer Jennifer Yu

Board five, bronze medals: Christian Bauer (France) and Jennifer Yu (USA). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Girya Smirin Batumi Closing Olympiad

Board five, silver medals: Olga Girya (Russia) and Ilya Smirin (Israel). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Boshra Korobov

Board five, gold medals: Alshaeby Boshra (Jordan) and Anton Korobov (Ukraine). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Rauf Mamedov and Bela Khotenashvili

Board four, bronze medals: Rauf Mamedov (Azerbaijan) and Bela Khotenashvili (Georgia). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Lei Tingjie and Bu Xiagnzhi Batumi Closing

Board four, silver medals: Lei Tingjie and Bu Xiangzhi (both China). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Brunello Fridman Batumi Closing

Board four, gold medals: Marina Brunello (Italy) and Daniel Fridman (Germany). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Piorun Matnadze

Board three, bronze medals: Kacper Piorun (Poland) and Ana Matnadze (Spain). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Huang Qian Kramnik Batumi Closing

Board three, silver medals: Huang Qian and Vladimir Kramnik (Russia). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Balajayeva Cori Batumi Olympiad Closing

Board three, gold medals: Khanim Balajayeva (Azerbaijan) and Jorge Cori (Peru). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Aleksandra Goryachkina Teimour Radjabov

Board two, bronze medals: Aleksandra Goryachkina (Russia) and Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Irina Krush Ian Nepomniachtchi

Board two, silver medals: Irina Krush and Ian Nepomniachtchi. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Mariya Muzychuk Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son

Board two, gold medals: Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vietnam). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ding Liren trying to get on stage Batumi closing Olympiad

Ding Liren needed help to get on stage for his gold medal. He would need to hobble on there two more times. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ding Liren Ju Wenjun Closing Olympiad

The individual stars of the Olympiad, with gold medals for board one: Ding Liren and Ju Wenjun of China. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Board one winners Batumi Olympiad

Board one, bronze medals (right): Anish Giri (Netherlands) and Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia), silver medals (left): Hoang Thanh Trang (Hungary) and Fabiano Caruana. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ding Liren on stage closing ceremony

Getting off the stage was even harder for Ding! | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ju Wenjun Jorge Cori

Best individual performances: Ju Wenjun (China) and Jorge Cori (Peru). | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Georgia bronze Batumi Olympiad

Team bronze in the women’s section: Georgia 1. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ukraine women Batumi Olympaid

Silver for Ukraine, in good spirits again after they lost the battle for gold so narrowly. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

China women Olympiad closing ceremony

Gold in the women’s section: China. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

2018 Batumi Gaprindashvili cup

Since 1998, the country with the highest combined score receives the Nona Gaprindashvili Cup. This year it was, of course, China. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi Russia bronze

Bronze: Russia. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

USA wins silver at Batumi Olympiad

Silver: USA. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

China wins Batumi Olympiad

Gold: China. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Winners Batumi Olympiad

The winning teams together. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Closing ceremony Batumi dancing

And a final, traditional dance to close the closing. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE flag

Traditionally, the Olympiad ends with the FIDE flag being handed over to the organizer of the next. The 44th edition will be in two years from now in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Vassily Filipenko, the mayor of Khanty-Mansiysk and the President of the Ugra Chess Federation, was given the flag by Arkady Dvorkovich. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Earlier reports:

Play Judit Polgar In The Global Chess Festival Online! –

Judit Polgar ( @JuditPolgar), unarguably the greatest female player of all time and one of the greatest attacking players of all time, will play 20 fortunate opponents on as part of the Global Chess Festival Online. This simultaneous display will take place the day prior to the main Global Chess Festival on .

This year’s fourth annual Global Chess Festival will take place all-day Saturday, October 13. The venue is the breathtaking Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest.

Judit Polgar notes that the “the Global Chess Festival promotes the 1,000 faces of chess all around​ the world. We aim to share the beauty of chess with five million people by 2025, to connect and enjoy chess-related activities on the day of the festival. The power of chess connects people.”

In cooperation with the Global Chess Festival, will be hosting the aforementioned simul on Friday night and a 24-hour arena tournament running Friday through Saturday. More information is coming soon! To keep up with all of this, be sure to join the Global Chess Festival club on

Play Judit Polgar

Twenty players will be selected to play Judit Polgar in the simultaneous display. The event will be a clock simul in which participants will receive 30 minutes on their clocks while Judit will play with 90 minutes.

Participants will be selected to represent the diverse countries, cultures, and perspectives which chess binds together. To be considered, simply fill out the registration form. The registration deadline is 8 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, October 9.

Watch the Twitch Stream

Those not selected or able to play will still be able to enjoy the show with a live Twitch stream on

IM Anna Rudolf ( @Anna_Rudolf) will provide live commentary on the games and will be live with Judit in Hungary. Polgar will be joining the stream as well, providing occasional commentary while playing.

To whet your appetite for this event, here is one fun attacking game Judit won against a staff member, Simon, while preparing for this event. Doubtless Judit will win more attacking games next week, but will any members also manage to land a blow?

Learn About Judit

Judit Polgar is the greatest female player of all time. She was born in Hungary in 1976. Her father, László Polgár, trained her and her sisters Zsuzsa and Zsófia intensively in chess from a young age and all reached great heights.

Here are a few of her many achievements.

  • Youngest player (age 12) to enter the world’s top 100 rated chess players.
  • Youngest grandmaster (age 15) since Bobby Fischer.
  • Number-one rated female player from 1989 to 2014.
  • Peak rating of 2735 in 2005.
  • Author of a best-selling chess book series about her games and life.

Judit Polgar, Female Chess Player, Global Chess Festival

Judit Polgar. | Photo: Maria Emelianova, is proud to collaborate with Judit Polgar and the Global Chess Festival on this event, an incredible opportunity to celebrate the global chess community. #ChessConnectsUs

Chess Olympiad: China Wins Double Gold –

China is Olympiad champion once again. Actually, twice again.

Today in Batumi, Georgia, the open section squad won its second team gold medal in the last three Olympiads. The women’s team survived a late repetition claim and successfully defended its title from 2016 in Baku. Both sections went to tiebreaks, but China emerged victorious in both after all the results came in.

Note that this report focuses on today’s games. A separate, pictorial report on the closing ceremony will be posted here tomorrow.

In the final round of the open section of the 2018 Chess Olympiad, all draws between China and the U.S. left the two teams still knotted. Just like in 2016, the gold medal would come down to tiebreaks. Unlike 2016, team USA did not come out on top.

Although its players trailed the U.S. on tiebreaks going into the round (324.5-320.5), China’s previous opponents outperformed the U.S’s past foes, and first place switched as a result. The final calculations were China: 372.5 and U.S.: 360.5. The Americans settled for silver after being the top-ranked team going into the event, with the second-highest average rating in history.

USA team final round Batumi

The U.S. squad was only good for silver this time. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Russia beat France on board two to also get to 18 points and equal the U.S. and China, but its relatively weaker schedule early in the tournament cost the team. Russia began and ended the day well behind the U.S. and China in tiebreaks (354.5 was its tally), and took bronze.

Team Russia Batumi

After silver in 2004, 2010, and 2012 and bronze in 2016, another bronze was won by the Russian team that last won gold in 2002. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The hard-luck team of the event is Poland. The surprise of the tournament nearly led wire-to-wire, but then lost yesterday and tied India today to fall just off the podium in fourth. Poland played every one of the top eight teams in the open section! As a result, its tiebreaker was actually even ahead of all three nations tied for first, but alas, it couldn’t get to 18 match points for that to matter.

Poland team Batumi

Poland can be very proud with just one loss against so many great teams. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Today was largely a day for math instead of chess. Much of the marquee action was curtailed early. The world’s top players seemed to want their teammates to do the fighting today, as GM David Smerdon pointed out:

That factoid naturally included the top board, in the only matchup of two 2800s. Fabiano Caruana and Ding Liren would both try to pace their nations on the final day, but like the other board ones, the game fizzled early.

Caruana labored to find a way to avoid a repetition, but ultimately decided that avoiding it would not be prudent.

“I didn’t want to end the game yet,” he told just after his game. “Boards two and four will be drawn almost certainly. Probably 95 percent. Hikaru is a bit better and even if we tie there’s still a chance.” But as we now know, that chance is gone.

Caruana vs Ding, BatumiA game between 2800s: Caruana vs Ding. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

How could Caruana be so sure that both of the even-numbered board would be drawn? Well, they were exactly the same for 16 moves!

“I actually thought this might happen because the Chinese players sometimes have the same repertoires,” he said. His estimate proved true as both ended in draws in the endgame.

Ding Liren explained more to “Yu (Yangyi) prepared for this specific line, and Li (Chao) just followed him!”

The same position in Yu-So (where 17.Bg5 was played), and Li-Shankland (17.Bf4). 

But still one dynamic game remained. Hikaru Nakamura, sitting on only an even score and uncharacteristically benched in the penultimate round, was inserted back into the lineup. And he had White. U.S. team captain John Donaldson said that re-inserting him was an “easy choice.”

Nakamura also banded together with Caruana for his prep, at least in a small way. 

“He seemed motivated before the round when we were on the bus,” Caruana said about his teammate, adding that they discussed the specific h4 lunge used by Nakamura in the game.

At a critical juncture, Nakamura labored to decide if he should go pawn grabbing, or continue his spatial expansion and development. He chose the latter, as it was was clearly safer, but instead his game ended drawn, too.

Nakamura Bu Xiangzhi Batumi

Nakamura vs Bu was a potential decider for gold, but ended in a draw as well. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

He told that if he knew China was flipping the tiebreaks, he would have played something different. The opacity of the math in real time is the culprit; for team Sonneborn-Berger there are 11 individual opponents of each team that factor, and you’d also have to know the results of those matches, which were usually still in progress. Tiebreak two is much easier to calculate: game points. U.S. and Russia finished on 29 while China scored 28.5.

“If I had known we were down, I would have gone insane earlier in the game,” Nakamura said.

“Losing to Poland was a huge blow,” Caruana said. “We played a great Olympiad. It was just that one hiccup.”

Donaldson thought the strength of competition was much higher this year than in 2016. In Baku, the team scored 20 out of a possible 22 match points, as did Ukraine; this year no team even got to 19. But what ultimately hurt was how all the final-round opponents did, and China’s simply outperformed the U.S.’s opponents. 

“Some of our horses are not running strong in this round,” Donaldson said as he watched the returns. “I think we played a good tournament but left a little bit unfinished.”

USA vs China Batumi Olympiad

Donaldson sitting right of Shankland. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Particularly harmful was the slim 2.5-1.5 win over Georgia 3 early in the event. And the fact that the 4-0 win over Panama in the opening round was the one score “dropped” since Panama ended as the lowest-performing team the U.S. played. (If you really want to know the vagaries of the team Sonneborn-Berger methods, we invite you to consult the final news report of the 2016 Olympiad, where a match very far down the standings made all the difference).

Sam Shankland performed well on board four but finished just off the individual podium. Here are his thoughts on the last two weeks, keeping in mind that at the time of the interview the match results and final medals were not known, so he won’t get to be the one to raise the cup again.’s interview with Sam Shankland.

Bronze medalist Russia completed its podium comeback today by besting France 2.5-1.5. Ian Nepomniachtchi’s win was the only decisive game of the 16 battles of the top four matches. And if the final mating pattern looks familiar, that’s because you read the earlier report with Alexander Fier’s similar idea.

Nepomniachtchi Kramnik Batumi

Nepomniachtchi (pink shirt) won a nice attacking game today. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

England can be satisfied too with its fifth place, and the same can be said for 27th seed Vietnam (seventh), 32nd seed Sweden (11th), 36th seed Uzbekistan (16th) and 40th seed Egypt (19th). 

Fourth seed Azerbaijan disappointed with 15th place. Tenth seed Israel and 13th seed Netherlands finished below their standards as well, right beside each other on the 39th and 40th places.’s interview with Vishy Anand.

By drawing the world championship challenger, Ding Liren not only helped his team but himself. He maintained his hold in the individual gold medal on first board, with a TPR of 2873, the second-highest of any player in the event. Caruana takes silver and Anish Giri played all 11 games in earning the bronze.

On board two, Ngoc Truong Son Nguyen takes gold while Nepomniachtchi earns silver and Teimour Radjabov bronze.

Board three actually produced the most prodigious performance rating in town, and it was needed to best a world champion! Jorge Cori of Peru and his 2925 TPR earns a gold. Vladimir Kramnik gets silver and Kacper Piorun bronze.

On board four, Daniel Fridman gets gold, while Jacek Tomczak walks away with silver and Bu Xiangzhi bronze. 

For the alternate board, Anton Korobov wins gold. Ilya Smirin earns silver and Christian Bauer bronze.

In some final news, Qatar did not show up and therefore lost to Kuwait 4-0 but could not confirm if the early start time was the culprit or if there was some other reason. The Qatar team is one of the delegations staying at an elite hotel but which is one hour’s drive away.

The final round also saw a pairing that hadn’t happened before at an Olympiad: team IBCA (the International Braille Chess Association) vs team ICCD (the International Chess Committee of the Deaf), or simply put, vision-impaired players against hearing-impaired players. The IBCA won 2.5-1.5.

Batumi Olympiad | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Team Team TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 3 China 18 372,5 28,5 149
2 1 USA 18 360,5 29,0 147
3 2 Russia 18 354,5 29,0 144
4 11 Poland 17 390,0 28,0 158
5 9 England 17 340,0 27,5 142
6 5 India 16 388,0 29,0 156
7 27 Vietnam 16 379,5 30,5 138
8 8 Armenia 16 371,0 27,5 152
9 7 France 16 366,0 28,5 153
10 6 Ukraine 16 337,0 26,0 152
11 32 Sweden 16 333,0 29,0 135
12 15 Czech Republic 16 331,5 27,5 143
13 16 Germany 16 317,5 27,0 139
14 35 Austria 16 300,5 27,0 133
15 4 Azerbaijan 15 402,5 29,5 159
16 36 Uzbekistan 15 341,0 30,5 135
17 23 Iran 15 337,0 28,5 138
18 12 Hungary 15 321,0 26,5 139
19 40 Egypt 15 298,5 26,0 135
20 25 Greece 15 295,0 26,5 134

(Full standings here.)

The women’s tournament was an even more dramatic affair, which involved the very last game that finished in the playing hall. And it wasn’t just any game; it was the top board of the all-decisive match.

Dvorkovich making first move Russia Batumi

Newly-elected FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich played the first move for Alexandra Kosteniuk in her game with Ju Wenjun, which would eventually go on until the rest of the playing hall was empty. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

China vs Russia became a crucial match, due to the other results among the top boards. After about two hours of play, the situation was that with two boards having won positions and at least one draw from the remaining boards, Russia was going to beat China.

That was excellent news for Ukraine, in second place, who were likely going to beat team USA and take over while the other team on 16 points, Armenia, wasn’t going to win their match as they quickly lost on the top two boards against Georgia 1.

On board one, Elina Danielian was already worse when she blundered a double attack vs Nana Dzagnidze:

Armenia Georgia women chess Batumi

Georgia 1 won in the final round vs Armenia. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Boards three and four eventually were drawn, so Armenia was out of contention. Ukraine was busy beating the U.S., killing their medal hopes along the way and heading to gold themselves, or so it seemed.

The Muzychuk sisters won their games on boards one and two, GM Anna Ushenina lost to WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (who finished her tournament strongly with 3.5/4) but GM Natalia Zhukova managed, where 10 others had failed, to beat FM Jennifer Yu in a tense game where she was so nervous that she missed a number of quicker wins.

Ukraine’s second gold (after the first in 2006 in Turin) seemed a certainty, but Zhukova didn’t celebrate. Instead, she stayed in the playing hall, keeping an eye on China-Russia all the way till the end of the last game. What she saw was… the desired medal turning from gold into silver.

Natalia Zhukova watching Batumi Olympiad

Zhukova watching as a spectator. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The score was 1.5-0.5 for Russia, thanks to a good win for GM Aleksandra Goryachkina vs IM Shen Yang and a draw between GM Valentina Gunina and WGM Huang Qian.

After Zhukova-Yu had finished, Alexandra Kosteniuk vs Ju Wenjun seemed to be heading to a draw, and Olga Girya was completely winning vs Lei Tingjie. That couldn’t go wrong, or could it?

As it went, Girya failed to finish it off, and eventually her nerves got the better of her. With two passers on the sixth rank, she allowed a perpetual.

Olga Girya vs Lei Tingjie Batumi

Olga Girya failed to win a completely winning game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

It was still possible for Ukraine since Kosteniuk, now defending a QN-QN ending a pawn down, might still hold the position. But Ju was making progress, and it started to look critical.

A few dozen spectators and several big TV cameras were fighting for spots around the board, while being chased away by a furious Russian team captain GM Sergey Rublevsky and the arbiters.

Kosteniuk Ju Wenjun Batumi

Lots of spectators and media gathered around the board. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The spectacle took a new turn when Kosteniuk suddenly claimed a three-fold repetition. In a small twist of geopolitical irony, Ukraine’s victory depended on a Russian claim.

The match arbiter stopped the clock and started to reconstruct the game (thereby making the mistake of allowing the players to think on about their game while the clock wasn’t running).

At some point, chief arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos returned into the playing hall and ordered the arbiter to go through the game with the players. The claim turned out to be incorrect.

Alexandra Kosteniuk Ju Wenjun threefold

The player going through their game, to check Kosteniuk’s claim. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Kosteniuk Batumi claim

Kosteniuk, when she heard her claim was incorrect. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

With extra time on the clock for Ju, the game continued. Kosteniuk seemed to have distracted herself mostly. She failed to concentrate fully and soon made the ill-fated decision to play actively.

She maneuvered her knight to a worse square, which allowed Ju to win material. As the Chinese said in an interview with, she hadn’t seen a win yet if White would just wait.

Kosteniuk Ju Wenjun Batumi

The final moments of this big game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

With all other boards in the playing hall finished, a small applause could be heard. A tie with Ukraine had been established and it was hard to believe that Ukraine, with a worse Sonneborn-Berger tiebreak after the penultimate round (329.5 vs 343.5), could have improved that in just one round. Soon, a full confirmation came that China was indeed the winner.

Ju Wenjun Lei Tingjie interviewed

Ju and Lei interviewed, with team captain GM Yu Shaoteng on the left. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ju also took the gold medal for board one, ahead of Hungary’s Hoang Thanh Trang and Georgia’s Dzagnidze.’s interview with Ju Wenjun.

Russia just missed on a medal, and finished fourth, behind bronze-winning Georgia 1. Hungary did well, and finished fifth, ahead of Armenia, the U.S. and India. A 9th place for Georgia 2 showed that women’s chess is still doing not so bad in the country.

7th seed Poland disappointed slightly with a 16th place, and even more so 9th seed German, which finished 28th.

Although her team dropped to a slightly disappointing seventh place, GM Irina Krush did win her first ever individual medal: silver for board two, behind Mariya Muzychuk and ahead of Goryachkina.

Gold for board three was won by WIM Khanim Balajayeva of Azerbaijan, ahead of WGM Huang Qian of China and IM Ana Matnadze of Spain.

FM Marina Brunello stayed ahead of two GMs for the board four medal: China’s Lei Tingjie and Georgia’s Bela Khotenashvili.

For board five, the best performers were WFM Alshaeby Boshra (Jordan), WGM Olga Girya and FM Jennifer Yu. That’ll be a nice souvenir, along with her IM norm.

Batumi Olympiad (Women) | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Team Team TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 3 China 18 407,0 30,5 153
2 2 Ukraine 18 395,5 30,0 154
3 4 Georgia 1 17 375,0 28,0 153
4 1 Russia 16 379,5 30,5 146
5 13 Hungary 16 372,0 29,5 141
6 12 Armenia 16 366,0 27,0 155
7 10 USA 16 359,5 27,5 152
8 5 India 16 352,5 29,5 142
9 14 Georgia 2 16 351,5 28,5 142
10 11 Azerbaijan 16 347,5 28,5 145
11 8 Kazakhstan 16 346,5 28,5 144
12 6 France 16 315,5 29,0 130
13 15 Spain 15 343,5 27,5 133
14 28 Iran 15 340,0 28,0 145
15 19 Vietnam 15 338,5 30,5 136
16 7 Poland 15 324,5 29,0 134
17 31 Uzbekistan 15 316,5 26,5 144
18 36 Belarus 15 308,0 28,5 128
19 29 Slovakia 15 283,0 28,0 121
20 17 Mongolia 14 332,0 27,0 145

(Full standings here.)

Games via TWIC.

Peter Doggers contributed to this report.

Earlier reports: