11th-seeded India 2 scored an upset victory over fourth-seeded Spain, while 12th-seeded Armenia defeated 10th-seeded England, both with an identical score of 2.5-1.5, to jointly lead the open section with 10 match points at the end of the fifth round of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad. Young GM Dommaraju Gukesh defeated legendary GM Alexei Shirov on the top board for India 2, which will be covered as the most noteworthy game of the day.
In other upsets of the day, 32nd-seeded Cuba shocked sixth-seeded Azerbaijan, while the Philippines prevailed over Sweden, both with an identical score of 2.5-1.5 again. Uzbekistan, Cuba, India, Iran, and the U.S follow the leaders on nine match points.
India prevailed over France with a score of 2.5-1.5, Georgia defeated India 2 with 3-1, and 20th-seeded Romania upset fourth-seeded Poland with 2.5-1.5 to emerge as the leaders of the 44th FIDE Women’s Chess Olympiad. Azerbaijan creditably held Ukraine to a 2-2 draw, to be joined in second place by Kazakhstan, which defeated Cuba with 3-1, all with nine match points.
IM Carissa Yip (2416) of the U.S was defeated by WFM Paula Elizab Paredes Bustamante (2162) with the black pieces in 31st-seeded Peru’s upset victory over the seventh-seeded U.S with a 2.5-1.5 score, while Colombia held Spain to a 2-2 draw. The U.S. now remains in a tie for places 29-74 with six match points.
As mentioned yesterday, India 2 remains the crowd favorite, and they justified expectations today too. Discussing the young team on Chess.com’s live commentary, GM Arturs Neiksans declared boldly: “[I am] not really sure if India 1 is really stronger than India 2 because [India 2] are such an impressive lineup. I would like the youngsters to succeed!” GM Yasser Seirawan grandly declared: “The future belongs to them!”
The future belongs to them!
— GM Yasser Seirawan
While three of the players in the main Indian team (GMs Pentala Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, and Erigasi Arjun) are rated higher than other members of the India 2 team, (Gukesh, GM Nihal Sarin, and GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa), the younger players have made considerable rating gains since the announcement of the teams, selected on the basis of the May 2022 rating list—the criteria on which Indian teams get selected to represent the country. (Gukesh was assigned to the India 2 team tactically.) The average age of the Indian main team is about 29 while that of the India 2 team is 19.
India 2 was helped by Gukesh’s fluent victory over Shirov, which is annotated as the Game of the Day:
Talking to the press corps later, Gukesh confessed that 19…b5 was the pivotal provocative moment of the game, when he was sure that Shirov was likely to take the bait and attempt for d3-d4 later, which he judged as fine for Black. This win also enabled Gukesh to maintain a clean 5/5 score so far in the tournament, a feat he shares with another young prodigy: GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan.
GM Baskaran Adhiban capitalized on a late 38th move blunder by GM Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli.
Armenia joined India 2 in the joint lead mainly thanks to the only decisive game of their matchup against England, when GM Hrant Melkumyan capitalized on a tactical error by GM Luke McShane:
Cuba’s victory over Azerbaijan featured a beautifully conducted game by GM Carlos Daniel Albornoz Cabrera:
American GM Leinier Dominguez scored a crucial win defeating Israeli GM Maxim Rodshtein with a beautiful exchange sacrifice. This win enabled the U.S to defeat Israel 2.5-1.5, with all the other boards ending in draws:
The encounter had a dramatic moment, as Dominguez’s clock got ticking down to the 40th move with just seconds left. Seirawan and Neiksans were visibly getting nervous at Chess.com’s commentary and started a countdown of the seconds left with 6-5-4-3-2—just then, Dominguez calmly took a think and played 40.Qxa4 with just two seconds left on the clock! Seiraway later exclaimed, “These two seconds were killers!”
See full results here.
After the top two boards ended their games with draws, India prevailed over France thanks to IM Tania Sachdev, who proved to be the crucial point-scorer for the team, just as she did in the previous round:
India’s margin of victory could have been more if IM Vaishali R had converted a clear advantage into a win:
The architect of Romanian victory was WGM Mihaela Sandu, who played a beautiful attacking game to score an upset victory over much higher-rated GM Monica Socko of Poland to score a pivotal win for her team:
Georgia scored 3-1 over India 3 in a seemingly one-sided match, where IM Lela Javakhishvili and IM Meri Arabidze prevailed over IM Soumya Swaminathan and WGM Divya Deshmukh respectively.
See full results here.
The 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad and Women’s Chess Olympiad are over-the-board team events where national chess federations compete in classical games for gold medals, trophies, and the title of strongest chess nation in the world. The event consists of an 11-round Swiss tournament where each player from a national team plays against another player from the opposing national team. Teams receive “game points” for winning or drawing games and “match points” for winning or drawing a match. Teams with the most match points for each section become the champions of their section, with a third award going for the team with the most points from both sections combined.