Draw in final with USA gives Asians gold for first place in previous league
The Chinese team is so compact that not even the fearsome US team has been able to knock it down. Fabiano Caruana’s win against Yi Wei, Irina Krush’s very deserving draw against number one Yifán Hou, and Hikaru Nakamura’s draw with black against Liren Ding were not enough because the Americans needed to win, and Wesley So fell to the awesome Yangyi Yu in a very brilliant game. The Nations Cup, organized by the International Federation (FIDE), and played on Chess.com, confirms the great future of chess on the internet.
“I think it is a fair victory. I wanted them to win because the Chinese are clearly the team that has played the best throughout the entire Nations Cup ”, acknowledged the world champion, the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, during his live comments for Chess24. Shortly after, Cuban-American Leinier Domínguez, 6th in the world in fast games and 14th in slow, lamented on Chess.com about his “low form”, which has only allowed him to contribute a point in four games to the runner-up team.
China not only had the advantage of a draw for having clearly won the previous double-round league between six teams, but it chose the colors of the pieces for the final: white on the first and third boards (Ding and Yu), leaving Black for the most difficult game (Wei against Caruana) and the easiest in theory, (Hou against Krush). However, the afternoon (tomorrow in the United States, closed night in China) started promising for the Americans because Krush beat his copper well against his very powerful rival, with a very conservative approach that Hou could not break.
The outlook was even better for the US on the second board. Yi Wei, who is always on the march no matter who his rival is, delivered a pawn with joy, probably too much, and then it was not necessary to achieve a sufficient counterplay, which led to a losing end. Caruana, runner-up in the world of slow games, rounded off a memorable performance in the modality that supposedly does not favor him: best player in the tournament, with 7.5 points in nine games.
On the first board, the swords were very sharp. Far from waiting for Nakamura to attack him, Ding delivered the queen’s wing to launch himself against the king on the other flank, and thus came to a position where anything could happen. And something curious happened: Carlsen, seconded by the eighth champion of Russia, Péter Svídler, predicted in his comments for Chess24 that the Chinese was lost, but it was not such: before the precise defense of the American, Ding had found a combination that guaranteed him a final planking of towers.
Everything depended on the fearsome Yu, who faced his executioner of the previous day, So, after adding 6.5 points in nine rounds. The impression that Yu has transmitted throughout his career is that there are two players in him: one who does not risk even shots and another capable of whatever it takes to win when he feels in good shape, as in this Nations Cup . So Yu assumed from minute one that the gold medal depended on him, and gave So a pawn with great self-confidence in exchange for the initiative. So is a very tough defender, but this time not enough to stop the devastating Chinese, who ended up signing a model and very brilliant attack; So much so that it is worth a gold medal for your country. The fifth, after those achieved in the 2014 and 2018 Chess Olympiads, and the 2015 and 2017 World Nations Championships.
The maelstrom of internet chess will continue at full speed. Almost all the Russian stars will participate, from Tuesday to Thursday, in the charity tournament Play for Russia, with a campaign of donations to the country’s health personnel and hospitals. It will be followed, from Friday to Sunday, by the Steinitz Memorial, with Carlsen and the Spanish David Antón, among others. And announcements of other upcoming elite tournaments are expected. The activity is so fast-paced that it is very difficult to continue without missing something. For example, during the Nations Cup the First International Tournament Gran Canaria sub 16 was disputed, with the victory of the Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattórov.
If you add up all the other lower level tournaments and the millions of games that fans play every day on the internet, you can be sure that only chess today has as much activity as it does in all other sports combined.