While Russia and China entered the final day with the Open and Women’s titles respectively in hand, there was no shortage of drama. England took the Silver in the Open Section, a result that must count as something of an upset, while China claimed the Open Bronze.
The Russian Women finished second in their section, bringing home the Silver, while Georgia won the Women’s Bronze on tiebreaks over the Ukraine.
Neither American team was any real medal contention on the last day of play, but both finished the event well. The U.S. defeated Iran 3-1 in the Open section, while the American Women squeaked by Egypt by a score of 2.5-1.5. GM Sam Sevian was the sole American individual medal winner, earning a Bronze for his efforts on second board.
Round 9 Results:
An early-morning rumor spread on Twitter that the Iranian team had to complete all of their games within two hours in order to catch their planes. This, like so much on social media, turned out to be untrue, and some of the games in the Iran-U.S. match took over five hours to complete.
The Americans took three of the four games, winning on the top three boards. Top board GM Dariusz Swiercz, the only American player to play in all nine rounds, defeated Iran’s GM Parham Maghsoodloo in a long, technical win.
Sevian used his extra exchange to corral GM Pouya Idani’s pawns and win an imbalanced endgame. This should, according to John Donaldson, push Sevian into the world’s top 100 rated players.
Playing in his 115th game for the U.S. in international team competitions, GM Alex Onischuk ground down GM M.amin Tabatabei on the third board. Only Iran’s fourth board, GM Alireza Firouzja, who featured in our Round Seven report, was able to buck the trend and overcome GM Alex Lenderman’s Petroff Defense.
Round 9 results:
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan took a well-earned rest on the final day, leaving her teammates to handle the last round against Egypt. WGM Katerina Nemcova drew WGM Shahenda Wafa, while FM Carissa Yip fell to Wafa’s sister, WGM Shrook Wafa. But WGM Sabina Foisor found a nice tactical idea to win on board three against WIM Ayah Moaataz:
This left the match up to fourth board WCM Rochelle Wu, who came through in the clutch and won a long game against WIM Eman Elansary. The World Teams will be a tournament to remember for Wu, who finished with 3.5/6 and should gain an estimated 76 FIDE rating points!
The U.S. team now faces a long trip home from Kazakhstan; as Head of Delegation John Donaldson noted in an email to CLO, the Americans “won the unofficial prize for the team traveling the furthest and it wasn’t close. Most of the U.S. team face 24-26 hour journeys home, more than double the amount of any other country.”
Abrahamyan, Foisor, Lenderman, Sevian and Yip must also shrug off any residual jetlag and prepare to participate in the U.S. Championship and Women’s Championship, which run from March 18-April 1st in Saint Louis. CLO will have full coverage of both events.