With one round to go in the pool stage, the Netherlands and the United States are in danger of missing out in the next rounds of the World Team Chess Championship. The two teams are currently not among the top four in their respective pools. China and Uzbekistan are the current leaders in their respective pools and are already certain of reaching the knockout.
In our first report it was pointed out that the U.S. didn’t send its strongest possible team to Israel, but that is the case for more countries. Without any of their strongest eight players on rating, China is still doing quite well, with two 3-1 and two 3.5-0.5 wins so far. In the third round, they beat the strong Ukrainian team with two draws and two wins on the lower boards.
GM Bai Jinshi defeated GM Andrei Volokitin on board three after the latter had dominated the game, kept on pressing, spoiled a completely winning position, and then over-pressed:
The same round saw an incredible oversight in the game between Spain’s GM David Anton and GM Jules Moussard from a match that ended in 2-2. France could have won the match as a full rook was hanging for one move, missed by both the players and the commentators:
Playing without GM Viswanathan Anand, who is one of the commentators in Jerusalem, India scored an important win against Azerbaijan with GM Vidit Gujrathi‘s win against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov deciding the match. It was a game that could easily have seen the opposite result:
In the fourth round, China also routed the Netherlands 3.5-0.5 to secure victory in the pool with a round to spare, while the Dutch squad is virtually eliminated as they play the strong Ukrainians, while Spain, the only team they could theoretically catch, faces South Africa.
In Pool B, nothing has been decided yet while Olympic gold winner Uzbekistan is looking good again. Our Game of the Day is the top board from the Poland-Azerbaijan match, which ended in 2-2:
The U.S. is in last place in Pool B, after a 2.5-1.5 loss to the home country. Cuba-born GM Yuniesky Quesada was a piece up for a pawn against GM Evgeny Postny but because all pawns were on one side of the board, it was always a draw.
Pool A Round 4 Standings
Pool B Round 4 Standings
The FIDE World Team Championship takes place November 19-26, 2022, in Jerusalem, Israel. The format is a round-robin for teams with five rounds, followed by a knockout with the top eight finishers. The time control is 45 minutes for the entire game plus a 10-second increment starting on move one.
World Team Championship Begins In Jerusalem, Played With Rapid Time Control