US Chess Federation Wins Silver Medal in FIDE 2021 Online Olympiad

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2021 Online Olympiad

 

The American comeback story came up just short in the end of the 2021 FIDE Online Chess Olympiad, which began on August 20 with 155 participating national federations and finished Wednesday with a gold-medal match between the U.S. and Russia.  

The US Chess national team had advanced as one of 8 finalist teams from the Olympiad’s divisional stage, entering a knockout playoff bracket that saw the American squad twice come back from the brink of defeat. In both its quarterfinal with Kazakhstan and the relatively upsetting semifinal over 2020 co-champion India, the U.S. team lost the first of two 15+5 rapid sets, though equalized in the second set, and then broke through both times in blitz 3+2 tiebreakers. 

 

 

The Russian federation halted that run on Wednesday, however, winning both rapid sets 3.5-2.5 and earning top billing alone after being forced to split as Olympiad co-champions in 2020. Matches were played in six-board lineups, using two open players, two female players and two U20 juniors of each gender, and the stacked Russian federation featured a particularly potent set of women, including GMs Kateryna Lagno, Aleksandra Goryachkina and recent Women’s World Cup winner GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, who together rank as the World Nos. 5-6-7 women rapid players according to FIDE. 

Russia scored 1.5 points from both female boards in each rapid set on Wednesday. IM Anna Zatonskih settled for a draw as White with Lagno, and IM Nazi Paikidze might have been left wanting more than a half-point as Black against Kosteniuk; the Vegas IM looked surprised to see a threefold repetition in a Sicilian Najdorf that may be a new weapon in the two-time U.S. Women champion’s arsenal. 

[pgn][Event "FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Playoff 2021"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2021.09.15"] [Round "7"] [White "Kosteniuk, Alexandra"] [Black "Paikidze, Nazi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2517"] [BlackElo "2402"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] {[%evp 16,97,58,21,20,21,22,4,22,18,22,29,43,6,24,31,29,22,47,47,52,51,71,69, 70,70,73,76,93,92,93,77,97,66,93,46,38,37,37,44,52,-13,0,-16,0,-22,-15,-32,-32, -30,-26,-41,0,-14,0,-3,13,13,16,16,29,32,31,25,33,29,54,-23,-23,-83,-41,-42,0, -156,-156,-156,-156,-156,-50,-100,-75,-149,0,-100]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Be6 {B92: Sicilian Najdorf: 6 Be2.} 10. Bf3 Nbd7 11. a4 Qc7 12. a5 Rac8 13. Be3 Nc5 14. Nd2 b5 $146 ({Predecessor:} 14... Rfd8 15. Qe2 Qc6 16. Red1 h6 17. Bxc5 dxc5 18. Nc4 Rd4 19. Nb6 Rcd8 20. Ncd5 Bxd5 21. exd5 {1/2-1/2 (82) Xiong,J (2709) -Sarana,A (2654) chess.com INT 2020}) 15. axb6 $1 Qxb6 16. Na4 Qb7 17. Nxc5 dxc5 18. b3 $1 Rfd8 19. Qe2 c4 20. Nxc4 Bxc4 21. bxc4 Rc6 22. Reb1 Qc7 23. Ra4 Nd7 24. Bd2 Rb8 25. Rba1 {[%eval 46,17]} (25. Rxb8+ $16 {[%eval 93,17]} Qxb8 26. Ra1) 25... Nc5 $14 26. R4a2 Ne6 27. c3 ({Don't blunder} 27. Rxa6 $2 Rxa6 28. Rxa6 Rb1+ 29. Qe1 (29. Be1 $2 Bb4 $19) 29... Rxe1+ 30. Bxe1 Qxc4 $19) 27... Nc5 28. Be1 {[%eval -13,17]} (28. Be3 $14 {[%eval 52,17]}) 28... Nb3 $11 29. Rb1 a5 30. Qd1 {[#]} Rd6 $1 31. Qc2 (31. Qe2 Rdb6) 31... Rdb6 {Threatens to win with ...Nd4.} 32. Rd1 Qxc4 33. Rd5 Qc7 (33... Bd6 {feels hotter.} 34. Qd1 Qc6 35. h3 a4 36. c4 f6) 34. g3 g6 35. Kg2 Rc6 36. Qd1 Nc5 37. c4 a4 38. Bc3 Bf6 39. h4 Rb3 40. Qd2 h5 41. Ba5 {[%eval -23,18]} (41. Bb4 $14 {[%eval 54,17]} ) 41... Qb7 42. Bd8 {[%eval -83,16] [#]} (42. Bc3 $11 {[%eval -23,16]}) 42... Bg7 {[%eval -41,17]} (42... Bxd8 $1 $17 {[%eval -83,16]} 43. Rxd8+ Kh7) 43. Bg5 $15 {Threatening Be3.} a3 {[%eval 0,16]} (43... Bf8 $1 $15 {[%eval -42,17]} 44. Rxe5 a3) 44. Qe2 $2 {[%eval -156,18]} (44. Qa5 $1 $11 {[%eval 0,16]}) 44... Ne6 $17 {aiming for ...Nd4.} 45. Be3 Rb2 46. Rd2 Rb3 {[%eval -50,17]} (46... Rxa2 $17 {[%eval -156,18]} 47. Rxa2 Qb3) 47. Rd5 $15 Rb2 48. Rd2 Rb3 {[%eval -100, 17]} (48... Rxa2 $142 {[%eval -149,19]} 49. Rxa2 Qb3) 49. Rd5 {} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

The “Chess Queen” Kosteniuk was swapped to the other female board for the second set, allowing her to play White in both games, where she used a piece sacrifice and vicious combination to score in full over American GM Irina Krush. The Olympiad veteran Krush, ranked the World’s No. 27 female rapid player, succumbed to checkmate in both games in the Wednesday final. 

[pgn][Event "FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Playoff 2021"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2021.09.15"] [Round "7"] [White "Kosteniuk, Alexandra"] [Black "Krush, Irina"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2517"] [BlackElo "2392"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] {[%evp 15,50,56,76,70,70,74,76,74,92,71,72,41,50,9,15,1,1,-20,-20,-34,34,32,34, 8,58,53,65,53,29984,29984,29996,29997,29997,29998,29998,29999,29999]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O a6 9. Nxc6 {B66: Sicilian: Richter-Rauzer: 7...a6 8 0-0-0 h6.} bxc6 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Bc4 {White is better.} O-O 12. Rhe1 Kh8 13. Re3 $146 ({Predecessor:} 13. Kb1 Rb8 14. Bb3 a5 15. f4 d5 16. a3 Rg8 {0-1 (16) Rashitov,D (2341)-Ilyin,P (2386) ICCF email 2017}) 13... Rg8 14. f4 {[%eval 9,17]} (14. Rg3 $14 {[%eval 50,15] was preferrable.}) 14... d5 $11 15. Qe2 Bd6 16. e5 fxe5 17. fxe5 Bc5 {[%eval 34,19] [#]} (17... Bc7 $15 {[%eval -34,17]} 18. Bd3 Qg5) 18. Rh3 $1 $14 Qg5+ { [%mdl 64] Double Attack} 19. Kb1 dxc4 {[%eval 58,14]} ({Black should play} 19... Qxg2 $11 {[%eval 8,19]} 20. Qh5 Rg7) 20. Ne4 $1 {[%cal Re4g5]} Qxe5 21. Rh5 $1 $40 {[%cal Rh5e5][%mdl 128] Black needs to defend precisely.} f5 $2 { [%eval 32736,15][%mdl 8192] Loses the game.} (21... Qg7 $14 {[%eval 53,16]} 22. Rxc5 Rb8) 22. Ng5 {[%csl Gg5][%cal Rh5h7][%mdl 64] Discovered Attack. White mates.} Qc7 {[#]} 23. Qe5+ $1 {[%mdl 576] Double Attack} Rg7 {[#]} 24. Rd8+ $1 {[%mdl 512]} Qxd8 25. Rxh7+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} Kg8 26. Qxg7# {}1-0 [/pgn]

Dallas GM Jeffery Xiong, the World’s No. 24 rapid player, held down the top board through the final with two draws against crafty World No. 23 GM Daniil Dubov. Playing on the junior board in 2020, Xiong’s graduation to the American front made possible the inclusion of GM Awonder Liang, who was nothing short of remarkable through the entirety of the 2021 Olympiad. Ranked as the World’s No. 20 junior classically, though not even in the top-100 for rapid, Liang was the big earner for Team USA in September, scoring 7.5/9 through the Olympiad divisional stage then adding another 5.0/8 in the secondary playoff bracket. The Wisconsin GM was again the America’s brightest star in Wednesday’s final, scoring two wins over Russian GM Andrey Esipenko, ranked the World’s No. 1 junior rapid player. 

[pgn][Event "FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Playoff 2021"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2021.09.15"] [Round "7"] [White "Esipenko, Andrey"] [Black "Liang, Awonder"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2681"] [BlackElo "2397"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "86"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] {[%evp 13,86,-29,-10,-68,-69,-71,-81,-69,-19,-28,-29,-27,-13,-12,-17,-87,-47, -132,-130,-136,-132,-135,-133,-129,-130,-161,-155,-164,-157,-159,-159,-159, -156,-167,-167,-167,-170,-190,-177,-177,-177,-177,-172,-177,-177,-288,-286, -293,-279,-303,-303,-303,-303,-327,-323,-325,-316,-316,-274,-988,-991,-1023, -1029,-1022,-993,-1017,-990,-991,-989,-1109,-1121,-1724,-1389,-1579,-1389]} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. a3 c4 7. Nbd2 Na5 8. h4 { [%eval -68,18] C02: French: Advance Variation.} (8. Be2 $11 {[%eval -10,18]}) 8... Bd7 $15 9. Rh3 $146 ({Predecessor:} 9. h5 h6 10. g3 Ne7 11. Bh3 O-O-O 12. O-O Kb8 13. Rb1 Qc7 14. Re1 Nc8 15. Nf1 Nb6 {0-1 (83) Zhigalko,S (2572) -Shimanov,A (2581) Lichess.org INT 2021}) 9... Ne7 10. Rb1 {Black is better.} h6 {[%eval -19,20]} (10... Nf5 $15 {[%eval -69,17]}) 11. b4 cxb3 $1 12. Nxb3 Nxb3 13. Rxb3 Qc7 14. Nd2 {[%eval -87,15]} (14. Be2 $11 {[%eval -17,17]}) 14... Nc6 15. Qh5 {[%eval -132,17] [#] White is on the road to losing.} (15. Be2 $15 {[%eval -47,16]}) 15... Nxd4 $1 $17 {[%mdl 512]} 16. cxd4 {aiming for Rbc3.} Qxc1+ 17. Qd1 Qxd1+ 18. Kxd1 b6 19. Rhc3 Be7 20. g3 Ba4 {...a6 is the strong threat.} 21. Bb5+ Bxb5 22. Rxb5 Kd7 23. Rbb3 Rac8 24. Kc2 Rxc3+ 25. Rxc3 Rc8 26. Rxc8 Kxc8 $19 {[%mdl 4096] Endgame KB-KN} 27. Kb3 Kb7 28. h5 g6 29. g4 { [%eval -288,25]} (29. hxg6 $142 {[%eval -177,23]} fxg6 30. f4) 29... gxh5 30. gxh5 Bh4 31. Nf3 Bxf2 32. Kc3 {[#]} Be3 $1 33. Nh4 Bg5 34. Ng6 {Now Nh8 and White clings on.} Kc7 ({Don't go for} 34... fxg6 $2 35. hxg6 Bh4 36. g7 $18) 35. Nh8 f5 36. Ng6 $2 {[%eval -988,19]} (36. Nf7 {[%eval -274,25]} Bc1 37. Kc2) 36... Kd7 {Black is clearly winning.} 37. Nf8+ Ke7 38. Ng6+ Kf7 39. Nh8+ Kg7 40. Ng6 a6 {[%cal Ba7a6,Ba6b5][%mdl 32]} 41. a4 f4 42. Kd2 b5 43. axb5 axb5 { } 0-1 [/pgn]

Alas, Team USA could not find the extra points it needed to tip the score of either set. GM Dariusz Swiercz played down to kings with World No. 12 rapid player GM Vladislav Artemiev on the second board, though only after the Russian had beat GM Ray Robson in the first set. And FM Thalia Cervantes, another junior American bright spot who spent two weeks punching upward in her national team debut, fell to Russia’s one-two on the U20 female board. Cervantes played to a draw as Black against IM Paulina Shuvalova, ranked the World’s No. 1 girl classically and No. 2 in rapid, though Russia came back with their other top-10 girl WGM Lara Garifullina to win the second set. 

The Russian federation was awarded gold medals for winning the 2021 Online Olympiad, with the American squad taking silver. Both India and China, who did not play a third-place match, received bronze. Pairings and results of each round, PGN files  of the games, and other information can be found on the FIDE Online Olympiad website

Comments

THIS IS THE ONLY FUTURE CHESS HAS...Again we must go
USA worldwide online to give our great young players team matches against NOTHING in the United States where team matches are unheard of .....the days of planes , hotels , worthless road to no where tourneys and bankruptcy plus RETIREMENT AT AGE 18-21 /COLLEGE AGE for pro players is over.
Jude Acers/ New Orleans

Also. please note the very .well written world summary of the Fide Online world chess olympiad by Mr. Brian Jerauld ...giving good mention to great Russian players as well.These people toil in the shadows and often in terrible economic and personal circumstances to boot. You have no idea....
Jude Acers/ New Orleans

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