Halftime at the World Teams

It’s the rest day today in Astana, marking the (slightly more than) half-way point in the 2019 World Team Championship. The U.S. Open team suffered its first match lost yesterday in Round 5, falling to Azerbaijan by a score of 3-1. Despite being outrated, once again, on every board, the Women’s team defeated Armenia, also by a score of 3-1.

As the teams prepare for Round 6 tomorrow, Russia is in clear first in the Open section, with India and England tied for 2nd/3rd two match points behind. China leads Russia by two match points in the Women’s section, having defeated them 2.5-1.5 in Round 5. Currently the American Open team occupies fourth place in the standings, while the Women sit in sixth position.


Lenderman, Onischuk, Swiercz, Moradiabadi, Rd 5 Astana (photo Llada)

Two American draws, by GMs Sam Sevian and Alex Onischuk, were sandwiched by losses on board one by GM Dariusz Swiercz and board four by GM Alex Lenderman.

Naiditsch vs Swiercz, Rd 5 Astana (photo Llada)

Swiercz’s game against GM Arkadij Naiditsch featured a topical opening and chances for both sides, with Naiditsch coming out ahead in the complications.



Foisor, Yip, Wu, Abrahamyan, Nemkova, Khachiyan. Rd 5, Astana (photo Llada)

The Women’s victory over Armenia was an all-action affair, with American boards one through three (Abrahamyan, Nemcova, and Yip) all winning their games and only board four (Foisor) suffering defeat.

WGM Tatev Abrahamyan essayed an uncommon idea in the Steinitz French and won fairly quickly out of the opening.

WGM Katerina Nemcova benefited from an unwarranted knight sortie by her opponent, IM Lilit Mkrtchian, and found herself up an exchange by move 24.

FM Carissa Yip’s game against WFM Anna Sargsyan was marked by Yip’s inventive attacking play, and Sargsyan’s curious resignation on move 55. It turns out that the position is drawn, although not without difficulty. Perhaps if the match situation were different Sargsyan would have played it out?


Good endgame technique has always been critical for over-the-board success, but it takes on even more importance in an era of increments and sudden-death time controls. We saw confirmation for this in Carissa Yip’s game, and more evidence can be drawn from the Round 5 match between Russia and Kazakstan in the Open section, won by the Russians 3-1.

Russia vs Kazakhstan, Rd 5, Astana (photo Llada)

One of the stories of the round was Kazakh GM Rinat Jumabayev’s upset victory over Russian board one and former World Championship Challenger GM Sergey Karjakin. Their game was headed towards a draw until Karjakin made an uncharacteristic blunder on his 61st move.

Jumabayev was kind enough to analyze the game with Press Officer GM Yannick Pelletier on the FIDE YouTube Channel.


Team Kazakhstan returned the favor on board four, where GM Petr Kostenko threw away a half-point in a tricky knight and pawn ending against GM Vladislav Artemiev.


Open Division:

Women’s Division:

Tomorrow the U.S. plays Sweden in the Open section, while the Women take on Russia. Rounds begin at 3pm local time, or 4am EST. Live on-site coverage is available at the official website:  http://kazchess.kz/world_astana2019/



  1. Go Tatev! Go USA!

    I really enjoyed the endgame lesson in this article. Rooks, bishops, knights and pawns – Oh my!

    Keep these coming and Go USA!

Leave a Comment

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Announcements

  • US Chess Press