The Moment of Truth – World Cities Team Chess Championship
Top seeds Hoogeveen and Baku face each other in today’s finals of the World Cities Chess Team Championship while Novi Sad and Tashkent battle for third place in the exciting climax of the week long tournament in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Hoogeveen drubbed Tashkent 3:1 to advance to the final match while Baku outclassed Novi Sad 3.5-0.5 to climb to the last rung of the knockout. Visit the official site worldcitieschess.com to watch games live starting 3pm and download pgn files and view photo gallery.
Ivan Sokolov made short work of IM Andrey Kvon’s Nimzo Indian defense. Sokolov posted his Queen deep in Black’s territory and added pressure with doubled Rooks. Kvon lost a pawn and resigned on the 33rd moves under the mounting attack.
On board 3, previous round hero Sergei Tiviakov also used the Nimzo Indian defense but could only draw with Alexei Barsov in 41 moves of a Rook and Pawn endgame.
Super GM Anish Giri, playing black on top board, used the Sicilian Scheveningen to seal the win for Hoogeveen as he defeated Tashkent’s Marat Dzhumaev. Giri forced Dzhumaev to exchange Queens on the 30th move to transpose to a favorable minor piece endgame for black. Giri created a passed pawn and limited movement of the White Bishop. He then advanced his pawn menacingly to the seventh rank to force resignation in 51 moves. With the match already decided, the fourth board game still continued between Jan Smeets of Hoogeveen and Saidali Iuldachev of Tashkent up to 77 moves close to midnight.
First to finish in the Baku-Novi Sad Match was Vasif Durarbayli of Azerbaijan. He crushed the French defense, Tarrasch variation, of Nikola Sedlak in 50 moves. Sedlak blundered with an overworked Queen and allowed Durarbayli to sacrifice the exchange and win a Knight on the 19th move. After a forced exchange of Queens on the 32nd move to transpose to a pawn endgame with Bishop and Knight for Durarbayli vs. Rook, Sedlak resigned on the 50th move.
On board three, Milos Perunovic of Novi Sad attacked the closed Sicilian defense of Rauf Mamedov and won the Black Queen in exchange for Rook and Knight. The Bishop pair of Mamedov allowed for a perpetual check for a draw on the 33rd move.
Young Eltaj Safarli, playing black on top board for Baku, also played the Sicilian defense against Ivan Ivanisevic of Novi Sad. In the Closed variation, Safarli allowed an exchange of his Queen for Rook and two pieces. Safarli advanced his rook pawn and faced with a promotion, Ivanisevic resigned on the 38th move.
With the match already won, Gadir Guseinov of Baku embarked on a kingside pawn storm against the Philidor defense of Robert Markus of Novi Sad. Guseinov penetrated with his Queen and weaved a mating net with the help of his Knight and center pawn to force resignation on the 37th move.
Anish Giri plays white to lead the Hoogeveen team in the tension filled finals against Eltaj Safarli and the Baku contingent without Gadir Guseinov who sits out the match starting 3pm in Al Ain. Novi Sad got white on top board against Tashkent in the fight for third place.
In the Al Ain Classic, seven players share the lead after 7 rounds. With 5.5 points each are GMs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Edouard Romain of France, Mircea Emilian Parligras of Romania, Wang Yue of China and Jaan Ehlvest of the USA, all who had carried points over from the World Cities. Also with 5.5 points are GMs Evgeni Miroshnichenko of Ukraine and Tigran Kotanjof Armenia who both started only in the Al Ain Classic.
Also coming from the World Cities are GMs Evgeny Sveshnikov of Latvia, Asghar Golizadeh of Iran and Emre Can of Turkey who trail with 5 points.
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– GM Susan Polgar