New York Times
July 31 2011

Armenia Takes Team Title; Chinese Player Is Top Scorer

Published: July 30, 2011

The Chess Olympiad, which was first held in 1924, is the most elite
national team event in the world. But the World Team Championship is
in some ways more competitive because it includes only 10 squads, so
there are no easy matches.

Position after 37 Qh3; click to replayThis year, Armenia, the No. 4
seed, was the runaway winner at the event, which ended on Tuesday in
Ningbo, China. It was hardly an upset; the Armenians, behind Levon
Aronian, have won two of the last three Olympiads, which are held
every two years.

China, the No. 6 seed, finished second, and Ukraine lived up to its
seeding by winning the bronze medal. Russia, which was the top seed
and had won the last two Team Championships, finished in a tie for
fourth with Hungary and the United States.

China was led by Wang Yue, who was the competition's top scorer. Wang
rose to No. 8 in the world in May 2010, but he has struggled recently
and is now ranked 35th. He is not a naturally aggressive player,
preferring to counterpunch or use finesse.

One of his best games of the tournament was a victory in Round 8 over
Krishnan Sasikiran of India, in which Wang sidestepped an attack and
then overwhelmed his opponent's overextended forces.

It would have been dangerous for Wang to win a pawn by playing 10 ...
Bc3 11 bc3 Ne4 because after 12 Ba3, his king would have been trapped
in the center.

It is a measure of how heavily researched some openings have become
that the position after 21 ... Bd8 had been played many times before.

Sasikiran organized a methodical attack against Wang's king, but he
built a stout defensive position. Chances were equal after 32 ... h6.

It would have been a mistake for Wang to take Sasikiran's knight by
playing 33 ... hg5 because after 34 hg5, White would have had a
dangerous attack.

It was a strategic error for Sasikiran to press ahead with 34 f5; 34
Re1 would have been safer. Wang took advantage by launching a
counterattack beginning with the pawn sacrifice 37 ... e3.

Sasikiran could not play 39 Rf3 because he would have been annihilated
after 39 ... Re3 40 Re3 Qb1 41 Kf2 Rf5 42 Rf3 Qc2 43 Ke3 Bf4 44 Rf4
Qc3. He should have played 40 Rf3; 40 Re2 was a blunder.

Wang's 42 ... Qc2 was too; 42 ... Rg8 would have been easily winning.
But Sasikiran stumbled again by playing 43 Kf3, when 43 Kh1 was
necessary. Down a piece, he resigned.