Comeback Kids: Team USA catches India in Blitz Tiebreakers, Faces Russia in Olympiad Finals

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2021 Online Olympiad

 

The US Chess national team has advanced to the finals of FIDE’s 2021 Online Chess Olympiad, defeating India by a score of 4.5-1.5 in blitz tiebreakers in the Tuesday semifinal. Team USA moves on to the Olympiad’s gold-medal match on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. eastern against the Russian national team. 

The International Chess Federation’s global team event, held online for the second year in a row, began with 155 national teams in August and has progressed through four divisional stages, ultimately qualifying eight teams into a playoff knockout bracket that began Monday. Matches are played across six boards, with lineups that pair together each nation’s top players, females and U20 juniors. 

 

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Team USA played the role of comeback kids for the second match in a row to reach the Olympiad finals, forced to rebound after losing its opening set of rapid games against both Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals on Monday, and again to India on Tuesday. After splitting last year’s inaugural Online Olympiad as co-winners with Russia, India seemed poised for a do-over in the gold-medal match by drubbing the U.S. squad 5-1 in the first round of 15+5 rapid games, flexing an all-Grandmaster lineup that out-rated the Americans up and down. 

 

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2021 FIDE Online Olympiad Team USA

 

But the impact of several lineup adjustments in the second rapid set put the comeback in motion, specifically with American captain IM John Donaldson’s swap of GM Ray Robson onto the second board. Robson’s entrance resulted in two victories against each of India’s options, first over World No. 22 GM Santosh Vidit in the rapid game, and another over speed-specialist GM B. Adhiban in the blitz tiebreaker. 

[pgn][Event "FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Playoff 2021"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2021.09.14"] [Round "6"] [White "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"] [Black "Robson, Ray"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2639"] [BlackElo "2605"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] {[%evp 20,92,37,17,17,18,18,17,21,23,57,57,57,42,51,53,53,53,50,41,54,13,13,16, 25,14,36,27,29,14,14,10,22,18,17,17,40,19,25,16,16,16,17,-18,-19,-22,-26,0,-8, -19,-3,-5,0,-263,-274,-246,-255,-422,-425,-441,-441,-1621,-1678,-1574,-1575, -1575,-1621,-1635,-1643,-1590,-1594,-1576,-1576,-2100,-2120]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 c6 9. Rd1 b6 10. Bf4 Bb7 11. Ne5 Nh5 {E08: Closed Catalan: Main Line: 7 Qc2.} 12. Bd2 Nhf6 13. cxd5 cxd5 {The position is equal.} 14. Nc6 Qe8 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. Qc7 $146 ({Predecessor:} 16. Nc3 Rfc8 17. Qd3 a5 18. Rac1 h6 19. Be1 Ba6 20. Qe3 Qd8 21. f3 b5 22. g4 {1/2-1/2 (29) Grischuk,A (2766)-Anand,V (2764) Paris 2019}) 16... Ba6 17. Nc3 Rfc8 18. Qf4 Nf8 19. h4 h6 20. Bf3 {[%eval 13,18]} (20. Rac1 $14 { [%eval 54,15] feels stronger.}) 20... Ng6 $11 21. Qe3 Qd8 22. Rac1 Rc4 23. b3 Rc7 24. a4 Rac8 25. Na2 Bb7 26. Rxc7 Rxc7 27. Nc3 Ba6 28. h5 Nf8 29. Rc1 N8h7 30. Qe5 Qc8 31. Na2 Rxc1+ 32. Nxc1 Nd7 33. Qd6 Ng5 34. Bxg5 hxg5 35. Na2 Nf6 { Threatens to win with ...g4.} 36. g4 $2 {[%eval -263,18][%mdl 8192]} (36. Qe5 $1 $11 {[%eval 0,18] and White stays safe.}) 36... Qc2 $1 $19 {[%csl LRa2,LRb3, LRe2][%mdl 64] [#] Double Attack} 37. Qb8+ Kh7 38. Qxa7 $2 {[%eval -422,17]} ( 38. Nb4 {[%eval -255,19]} Qd1+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} 39. Kg2 Bxe2 40. Bxe2 Qxe2 41. Qg3) 38... Bxe2 {Black is clearly winning.} ({Inferior is} 38... Qxa2 39. Qxa6 Qa1+ 40. Kg2 $14) 39. Bxe2 Qxe2 40. Qxf7 {[%eval -1621,14]} (40. Qc7 $142 {[%eval -441,17]}) 40... Qxg4+ {[%mdl 64] [#] Double Attack} 41. Kf1 Qd1+ 42. Kg2 Nxh5 43. Nc3 Qg4+ 44. Kf1 Qh3+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} 45. Ke2 Nf4+ 46. Kd2 Qd3+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack.} 0-1 [/pgn]

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GM Ray Robson in 2021 FIDE Online Olympiad

 

Propelled by Robson, the U.S. won the second rapid set 4-2, which included a clutch win from GM Jeffery Xiong over former World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand on the top board. Perhaps the biggest clash of the day came between both national team’s strengths on the junior boards, with GM Awonder Liang more than holding his own against India’s dual-threat of young talent. Liang scored 2/3 in Tuesday’s semifinal, including two draws against World No. 3 Junior GM Nihal Sarin, and this win over World No. 11. Junior GM Praggnanandhaa in the second rapid set. 

[pgn][Event "FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Playoff 2021"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2021.09.14"] [Round "6"] [White "Liang, Awonder"] [Black "Praggnanandhaa, R."] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2397"] [BlackElo "1821"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] {[%evp 13,107,21,21,21,21,-35,0,-21,-22,-38,-53,-54,1,-88,-92,-96,-89,-76,-38, -40,-41,-40,-42,-42,-38,-41,-43,-44,-44,-55,0,0,0,-1,43,38,38,0,0,-31,0,0,0, -11,44,47,44,42,48,50,50,48,48,47,48,48,187,147,125,125,187,182,176,123,354, 265,452,404,443,373,423,185,464,240,505,209,446,400,408,366,588,588,603,602, 613,543,479,269,698,703,683,703,762,771,810,833]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 4. O-O Nge7 5. Re1 Nd4 6. Nxd4 cxd4 7. c3 $1 {7.c3 is better than 7.d3.} a6 8. Bf1 {B30: Sicilian: 2...Nc6 3 Bb5, lines without ...g6.} Nc6 9. Qg4 $146 { [%eval -35,15]} (9. d3 $11 {[%eval 21,16]}) ({Predecessor:} 9. b4 Be7 10. a4 O-O 11. Na3 dxc3 12. dxc3 Bf6 13. b5 axb5 14. Nxb5 d5 15. Ba3 Be7 16. exd5 exd5 17. Bxe7 Nxe7 {1-0 (51) Vachier Lagrave,M (2784)-Carlsen,M (2862) chess24.com INT 2021}) 9... Qf6 10. e5 {The position is equal.} Qg6 11. Qf4 Bc5 12. b4 Ba7 {[%eval 1,14]} ({Better is} 12... Be7 $15 {[%eval -54,17]}) 13. a4 {[%eval -88, 16]} (13. b5 $1 $11 {[%eval 1,14] keeps the balance.} axb5 14. Na3) 13... f6 $17 14. b5 Nxe5 15. Ba3 Qg4 16. Qxg4 Nxg4 17. h3 $1 {[%cal Rh3g4]} Ne5 18. Bd6 Nf7 19. Bb4 d6 20. Na3 dxc3 21. dxc3 Bc5 {[%eval -1,17]} ({Black should try} 21... Bd7 $15 {[%eval -55,16]}) 22. Bxc5 $11 dxc5 23. Nc4 axb5 {[%eval 43,18]} (23... Ke7 $11 {[%eval -1,17]}) 24. Nb6 $14 (24. axb5 Rxa1 25. Rxa1 Ke7 $15) 24... Rb8 25. Bxb5+ Ke7 26. f4 Nd6 27. Rad1 Rd8 28. c4 Nf5 {[%eval 44,20]} ({ Black should play} 28... h6 $11 {[%eval -11,18]}) 29. Rxd8 Kxd8 30. Nxc8 Kxc8 31. Rxe6 {[%mdl 4096] Endgame Strongly threatening g4. KRB-KRN} Kc7 32. g4 Nd4 33. Re7+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} Kb6 34. Rxg7 h5 {[%eval 187,23]} (34... Nxb5 $14 {[%eval 48,21]} 35. axb5 h6) 35. Rg6 $18 (35. gxh5 Rh8 $16) 35... Ka5 36. Rxf6 {And now g5 would win.} hxg4 {[%eval 187,19]} (36... Nxb5 $16 {[%eval 125, 20]} 37. axb5 hxg4) 37. hxg4 Kb4 38. g5 {Hoping for g6.} Kc3 $2 {[%eval 354,20] } (38... Nxb5 $16 {[%eval 123,19]} 39. axb5 (39. cxb5 c4 $11) 39... Kxc4) 39. Kf2 Kd3 $2 {[%eval 452,19]} (39... Nxb5 {[%eval 265,19]} 40. axb5 Kxc4) 40. g6 Rh8 41. Kg3 Ke4 42. Rf7 {[%eval 185,18]} (42. Bd7 $142 {[%eval 423,18]} Rg8 43. f5) 42... Nf5+ {[%eval 464,19]} (42... Rg8 {[%eval 185,18]} 43. Rf6 (43. Rxb7 Rxg6+ 44. Kf2 Kxf4 $16) 43... Rd8) 43. Kf2 {[%eval 240,17]} (43. Kg4 $142 { [%eval 464,19]} Rh1 44. Kg5 Rg1+ 45. Kf6) 43... Nd6 {[%eval 505,17]} (43... Rh2+ {[%eval 240,17] was worth a try.} 44. Kg1 Rd2) 44. g7 {[%eval 209,25]} Rg8 $2 {[%eval 446,22]} (44... Nxf7 {[%eval 209,25]} 45. Bc6+ (45. gxh8=R Nxh8 46. Bc6+ Kxf4 $18) 45... Kxf4 46. gxh8=N Nxh8 47. Bxb7 Ke5) 45. Re7+ Kxf4 46. Bd7 { Black must now prevent Be6.} Ne4+ $2 {[%eval 588,19]} (46... b6 {[%eval 366,20] might work better.} 47. Be6 Nf5) 47. Ke1 Ng5 48. a5 Nf3+ 49. Kd1 {aiming for Be6.} Nd4 {[#]} 50. Bb5 {[%eval 269,20]} (50. Bc8 $142 $1 {[%eval 479,19][%mdl 512]}) 50... Nb3 $2 {[%eval 698,18]} (50... Nf5 {[%eval 269,20]} 51. Rxb7 Nxg7) 51. a6 {[%mdl 64] Overworked Piece. White is clearly winning.} bxa6 {[#]} 52. Bc6 $1 Nd4 53. Bd5 Nf5 54. Re4+  1-0 [/pgn]

India’s lineup shifted for the blitz tiebreaker, including controversial swap of both Anand and Praggnanandhaa, while Donaldson’s lineup stayed pat. Xiong delivered again over World No. 24 GM Pentala Harikrishna on the top board, and GM Irina Krush finally broke through as Black against World No. 3 woman GM Humpy Koneru after two draws in the rapid sets.  

[pgn][Event "FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Playoff 2021"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2021.09.14"] [Round "6"] [White "Koneru, Humpy"] [Black "Krush, Irina"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2483"] [BlackElo "2342"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] {[%evp 9,98,11,12,11,11,12,12,15,21,17,13,14,36,26,27,-1,12,4,26,22,38,38,76, 76,75,75,100,67,67,59,59,52,52,29,46,38,41,34,41,-21,-21,-21,33,0,35,17,25,0, 29,30,30,-48,-54,-120,-118,-108,-105,-102,0,0,0,-13,0,-100,-4,-266,-263,-503, -268,-214,-214,-551,-203,-574,-132,-594,-568,-543,-248,-254,0,0,-126,-251,-236, -330,-305,-451,-451,-1726,-1742]} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 a6 3. e3 Nf6 4. c4 e6 5. b3 c5 6. Bd3 {D30: Queen's Gambit Declined: Systems without Nc3.} Nc6 7. Bb2 cxd4 8. exd4 {The position is equal.} Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Nbd2 b6 11. Qe2 Bb7 12. Rad1 Re8 13. Bb1 Bf8 $146 ({Predecessor:} 13... dxc4 14. bxc4 b5 15. Ne4 Na5 16. d5 exd5 17. cxd5 Nc4 18. Nfg5 Nxb2 19. Nxf6+ Bxf6 {0-1 (27) Marusenko,P (2342)-Kobese,W (2400) Hastings 2006}) 14. Qe3 a5 15. Ne5 Nxe5 16. dxe5 Nd7 17. cxd5 Bxd5 18. Nc4 Qc7 19. Rc1 Nc5 20. Rfd1 Red8 21. h4 Qb7 22. Qg3 Bxc4 23. bxc4 Qc7 24. h5 {[%eval -21,17]} (24. Bc2 $14 {[%eval 41,17]}) 24... Rxd1+ $1 $11 25. Rxd1 Rd8 {[%eval 33,17]} (25... Na4 $1 $11 {[%eval -21,19]} 26. Qd3 g6) 26. Qf3 g6 (26... Na4 $5 {[%cal Ra4b2]} 27. Rxd8 Qxd8 $11) 27. hxg6 hxg6 28. g3 Bg7 29. Rxd8+ Qxd8 30. Bc2 {[%eval -48,19]} ({White should play} 30. Qe2 $11 { [%eval 30,19]}) 30... Qd2 $1 $15 {[%cal Rd2c2]} 31. Qc3 {[%eval -120,22]} ({ Better is} 31. Qd1 $15 {[%eval -54,23]} Qxd1+ 32. Bxd1) 31... Qe2 $17 32. Kg2 Nd7 {[%cal Rg7e5]} 33. Bd3 Qh5 {[%eval 0,20]} (33... Qxe5 $17 {[%eval -102,21]} 34. Qxe5 Nxe5) 34. f4 $11 Nc5 35. Bf1 Qd1 36. Qd4 {[%eval -100,19]} (36. Qc1 $11 {[%eval 0,20] keeps the balance.} Qa4 37. Qb1) 36... Qc2+ {[%eval -4,18]} ( 36... Qb1 $17 {[%eval -100,19]} 37. a3 Qc2+ 38. Kg1 Ne4) 37. Kh3 $2 {[%eval -266,16][%mdl 8192]} (37. Qf2 $1 $11 {[%eval -4,18]} Qe4+ 38. Kh2) 37... Bf8 $19 38. Qc3 $2 {[%eval -503,17]} (38. Bc3 {[%eval -263,19]} Qb1 39. Kg2) 38... Qe4 {( -> ...Qh1+)} 39. Bg2 Qb1 {aiming for ...Nd3.} 40. g4 $2 {[%eval -551,14] } (40. Bc1 {[%eval -214,19]}) 40... Be7 $2 {[%eval -203,17]} (40... Nd3 { [%eval -551,14]} 41. f5 exf5 42. gxf5 Nxb2) 41. a3 $2 {[%eval -574,13]} (41. Ba3 {[%eval -203,17] is a better chance.}) 41... Qd1 $2 {[%eval -132,17]} ( 41... Na4 $19 {[%eval -574,13]} 42. Qc1 Qxb2 43. Qxb2 Nxb2) 42. Kg3 $2 { [%eval -594,17][%mdl 8192]} (42. Qf3 $17 {[%eval -132,17]} Qc2 43. Bd4) 42... Nd3 {...Bc5 is the strong threat.} 43. Qd4 Bc5 {[%eval -248,17]} (43... Qe1+ $142 {[%eval -543,15]} 44. Kf3 Bh4 $1 45. Qxd3 Qg3+ 46. Ke2 Qxg2+ 47. Ke3 Qxb2) 44. Qd8+ {[#]} Kh7 $2 {[%eval 0,24]} (44... Bf8 $1 $19 {[%eval -254,21]} 45. Bc3 Qc2) 45. Qh4+ $11 Kg8 {[%eval -126,17]} (45... Kg7 $11 {[%eval 0,24]} 46. Qf6+ Kg8) 46. Qd8+ $17 {[#]} Bf8 $1 47. Qd4 {intending Bc3.} Qe1+ 48. Kh2 { [%eval -451,14]} (48. Kf3 $142 {[%eval -305,18]} Bc5 49. Qd8+ Kh7 50. Bd4) 48... Qh4+ $19 {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} 49. Kg1 {[%eval -1726,15]} (49. Bh3 $142 {[%eval -451,16]} Nf2 {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} 50. Qc3 Nxg4+ 51. Kh1) 49... Bc5 0-1 [/pgn]

Wednesday’s gold-medal final against Russia may be viewed live with commentary on Chess.com, which has partnered with FIDE as host of the Online Olympiad for the second year in a row. The final will be played as two rapid sets across six boards, using a 15+5 time control. If tied after two rapid sets, a 3+2 blitz tiebreaker across six boards will be played. If necessary, an Armageddon game between one board will determine the winner of the 2021 Online Olympiad.

The match begins at 12:30 p.m eastern. 

 

2021 FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Results - Semifinal USA vs. India

Rapid Set 1

IND 5 1 USA

GM Anand, Viswanathan(2748)

1 0

GM Xiong, Jeffery(2729)

GM Harikrishna, Pentala(2705)

1 0

GM Swiercz, Dariusz(2649)

GM Koneru, Humpy(2483)

½ ½

GM Krush, Irina(2392)

GM Nihal, Sarin(2462)

½ ½

GM Liang, Awonder(2397)

GM Harika, Dronavalli(2450)

1 0

IM Zatonskih, Anna(2327)

WGM Vaishali, R(2149)

1 0

FM Cervantes Landeiro, Thalia(1936)

Rapid Set 2

IND 2 4 USA

GM Anand, Viswanathan(2748)

0 1

GM Xiong, Jeffery(2729)

GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi(2639)

0 1

GM Robson, Ray(2605)

GM Koneru, Humpy(2483)

½ ½

GM Krush, Irina(2392)

GM Harika, Dronavalli(2450)

1 0

IM Paikidze, Nazi(2402)

GM Praggnanandhaa, R(1821)

0 1

GM Liang, Awonder(2397)

WGM Vaishali, R(2149)

½ ½

FM Cervantes Landeiro, Thalia(1936)

Blitz Tiebreaker

IND 1.5 4.5 USA

GM Harikrishna, Pentala(2614)

0 1

GM Xiong, Jeffery(2699)

GM Adhiban, B.(2629)

0 1

GM Robson, Ray(2683)

GM Nihal, Sarin(2689)

½ ½

GM Liang, Awonder(2379)

GM Koneru, Humpy(2483)

0 1

GM Krush, Irina(2342)

GM Harika, Dronavalli(2422)

1 0

IM Paikidze, Nazi(2314)

WGM Vaishali, R(2313)

0 1

FM Cervantes Landeiro, Thalia(2021)

Comments

I do not wish to offend anyone but publicly warn this is the only future world chess has ...the entire world plays online with perhaps finals showdown big money live in person. There are hundreds of players that can compete versus the worlds best..Krush beat Korchnoi long ago...but only forced strictly monitored INTERNET play like this will allow chess to prosper at a mega billion dollar level with 2oo people in the final world title candidates etc. Many low income families in 190 FIDE chess nations will never hope to field world class players unless all chess moves to HYBRID online events. Otherwise: dem dat has......gets. Jude Acers/ New Orleans

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