China to face Uzbekistan in the final

by Assi Philosoph

First round – two ties

The four semi-finalists decided to keep the audience excited until the very end, tying both matches. In Spain vs China, Anton won against Xiangyu and Li won against Santos Ruiz. And in India vs Uzbekistan Narayanan defeated Vokhidov but Vakhidov defeated Sethuraman. All the other 4 games of the semi final ended in a draw.

On the 30th move of his game, Vokhidov (W) started a dubious transfer of his queen to the queenside 30.Qg4 (D) Nh6 31.Qd7 Rd8 32.Qa4

The queen now is misplaced so Black takes the opportunity to improve the position of his knight:

32…Nf5 33.Bc1 h6 34.Ra8 the exchange of the rooks does not really solve White’s problem and the combination of Black’s knight and queen will become decisive Rxa8 35.Qxa8+ Kh7 (D)

 36.Bb2 to prevent Nd4 Qg6 37.Qa1 Nh4 38.Qf1 (D) Black’s Q+N are much stronger then White’s Q+B. Black found a nice continuation to break through White’s position:

38…e4! 39.dxe4 Qxe4 40.Bc1 f3 41.g3 Nf5 42.Bb2 Qc2 now the position collapses 43.g4 Nd4 44.Bxd4 cxd4 45.c5 d3 0-1

The domination of Black’s queen and knight over the White’s queen and dark-squared bishop reminds me of Fischer’s win over Spassky in the 5th game of the World Championship match in Reykjavik in 1972:

In the diagram position, Fischer played the famous 27…Bxa4! Deflecting the queen. Now if 28.Qxa4 Qxe4 with double threat and if 28.Qd2 Bxd1 29.Qxd1 Qxe4 30.Qd2 a4 so Spassky resigned.

Second round – decisive matches

In Spain vs China, the Chinese made their way to the final by winning with the white pieces and drawing with the black ones. Lu and Bai won against Santos Latasa and Shirov, continuing to play very convincing chess. Will they continue their winning streak and become champions?

Shirov (R) shakes hands with Bai. Soon it will be good-bye | photo: Mark Livshitz

The second ticket to the final was reserved for either Uzbekistan or India, who fought dramatically until the very end. Naranyan won against Vokhidov and Yakubboev against Vidit, leaving the match a tie. Sasikiran and Vakhidov drew in an opposite colour bishop endgame, leaving Sindarov vs Nihal as the decisive match.

Sindarov, playing the white pieces, did not disappoint his teammates. He created a good attack in an Italian game and in the diagram position he concluded the game nicely after Black’s final mistake due to time pressure 51…Qd7. What is the move that ended the game?

52.Qxd3! and Black resigned in view of 52…Qxd3 53.Rf7+ Nxf7 54.Rxf7+ Rg7 55.Rxg7+ Kh8 56.Rd7+

Sindarov. Great finish | photo: Mark Livshitz

The board results:

Congratulations to China and Uzbekistan who will provide an all-Asian final to this tournament. We are excited to see how the duel will develop tomorrow. Besides the final match between China and Uzbekistan, there will also be a third place decider match between Spain and India. Please notice that the games start tomorrow one hour earlier, at 14:00 local time. Join us to see which team wins the tournament!