The World Team Chess Championship is an international team event composed of ten of the top chess countries in the world meeting in a single round-robin. The inaugural event was in 1985 and the succeeding championships were held in four-year intervals, but since 2011 this has been held every two years.

Players receive 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes to the end of the game, with a 30-second increment starting from move one. Points are accumulated based on match points (two points for a match win, one point for a draw, 0 point for a loss) and game points (sum of the results of all four games per match) are used only to break ties.

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11th World Team Chess Championship
Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia
June 17-26, 2017

Final Standings

1. CHINA, 16/18

Bd01 GM Ding Liren 2783 5/8, Bd02 GM Yu Yangyi 2749 6/9, Bd03 GM Wei Yi 2728 6/9, Bd04 GM Li Chao 2720 7/9, Bd05 GM Wen Yang 2617, 0.5/1. Coach: GM Xu Jun

2. RUSSIA, 15/18

BD01 GM Peter Svidler 2756 3/6, Bd02 GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 2732, 6/8, Bd03 GM Nikita Vitiugov 2720 5/7, Bd04 GM Maxim Matlakov 2707 5/7, Bd05 GM Vladimir Fedoseev 2703 6/8. Coach: Andrey Filatov

3. POLAND, 12/18

Bd01 GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2780 6/9, Bd02 GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2697, 5.5/9, Bd03 GM Kacper Piorun 2631 3.5/7, Bd04 GM Mateus Bartel 2637 2.5/6, Bd05 GM Grzegorz Gajewski 2628, 3/5. Coach: GM Kamil Miton

4. INDIA, 11/18

Bd01 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2692 5/9, Bd02 GM Baskaran Adhiban 2670 5.5/9, Bd03 GM Murali Karthikeyan 2582 1.5/3, Bd04 GM Krishnan Sasikiran 2669 4.5/7, Bd05 GM Parimarjan Negi 2670 4/8. Coach: GM Ramachandran Ramesh

5. TURKEY, 10/18

Bd01 GM Dragan Solak 2641 4.5/9, Bd02 GM Mustafa Yilmaz 2630 4.5/9, Bd03 GM Emre Can 2589 3.5/8, Bd04 GM Vahap Sanal 2533 4/6, Bd05 Muhammed Batusan Dastian 2519, 2/4. Coach: GM Michal Krasenkow

6. UKRAINE, 8/18

Bd01 GM Ruslan Ponomariov 2712 2.5/7, Bd02 GM Anton Korobov 2711 2.5/7, Bd03 GM Alexander Areshchenko 2649 3/7, Bd04 GM Alexander Moiseenko 2676 5.5/8, Bd05 GM Martyn Kravtsiv 2653 4/7. Coach: GM Oleksandr Sulypa

7. BELARUS, 8/18

Bd01 GM Sergei Zhigalko 2635 4/8, Bd02 GM Kirill Stupak 2564 3.5/7, Bd03 GM Vladislav Kovalev 2641 4.5/8, Bd04 GM Aleksej Aleksandrov 2565 1.5/5, Bd05 GM Alexei Fedorov 2598 4/8. Coach: FM Yuriy Borsuk


Bd01 GM Samuel Shankland 2676 3.5/8, Bd02 GM Alexander Onischuk 2685 3.5/7, Bd03 GM Varuzhan Akobian 2673 2.5/6, Bd04 GM Ray Robson 2656 4/8, Bd05 GM Jeffery Xiong 2658 2.5/7. Coach: IM John Donaldson

9. NORWAY, 2/18

Bd01 GM Aryan Tari 2593 3.5/8, Bd02 GM Frode Urkedal 2541 3/8, Bd03 IM Johan Salomon 2501 3.5/7, Bd04 IM Frode Elsness 2466 0/6, Bd05 IM Las Oskar Hauge 2448 1/7. Coach: GM Jonathan Tisdall

10. EGYPT, 0/18

Bd01 GM Hesham Abdelrahman 2372 2.5/9, Bd02 IM Fawzy Adham 2418 2/7, Bd03 IM Moheb Ameir 2399 0/6, Bd04 IM Imed Abdelnabbi 2428 1/7, Bd05 IM Ali Farahat 2402 3.5/7. Coach: Amrou Farag

For the 2nd consecutive time China won the World Team Chess Championship. They did so with basically the same lineup as with the previous competition held in Tsakhkadzor (Armenia), the only difference being that Bu Xiangzhi was replaced by Li Chao. This switch proved crucial as Li Chao was the top producer for the Chinese squad — not only did he play in all of the rounds and score the most points, but his wins against Fedoseev and Bartel were the decisive points in his country’s victories over Russia and Poland.

Li Chao overwhelmed Fedoseev in what renowned historian Olimpiu G. Urcan called “the worst Berlin Wall in recent memory.” Before the 7th round Russia was leading the tournament but with this defeat China upset Russia 2.5-1.5 and took over the top position.

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Li, Chao (2720) — Fedoseev, Vladimir (2703) [C67]
FIDE World Team Championship Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (7.4), 24.06.2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6

Li Chao has frequently expressed regret that he does not play in a lot of elite tournaments and therefore his opening repertoire is geared towards “open” tournaments where you have to win at all costs. The Berlin Wall would seem to be a good choice against him.

4.0 — 0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8

The main position for the Berlin Wall.


A bit of a sideline. 9.Nc3 and 9.Rd1+ are the most popular moves here by far.


A new move, although its idea is not so clear. Usually Black either brings his king back to the kingside with 9…Ke8 or to the queenside with 9…Bd7 followed soon by …Kc8.

10.Nc3 Be6 11.b3 Kc8 12.Rd1 b6 13.g4! Ne7 14.Na4

Tripling Black’s pawns on the c-file. This was the idea behind 13.g4.

14…h5 15.Nxc5 bxc5 16.Ng5!

Another disfigurement for Black’s pawn structure.

16…hxg4 17.Nxe6 fxe6 18.hxg4 Ng6 <D>


An instructive position!


Recently, GM Jayson Gonzales asked me if Stockfish 8 was the strongest engine available. I replied that it is possible, but I had always preferred Komodo. For example, in this position Komodo prefers 19.Kg2!, seemingly blundering the pawn on e5. However, after 19…Nxe5 20.Kg3! Nf7 21.Bb2 e5 (21…Rg8 22.Re1 Kd7 23.Rad1+ Ke7 24.Re3 Nd6 25.Rde1 Rae8 26.Rxe6+ Kf7 27.Rxe8 Rxe8 28.Rxe8 Nxe8 29.Kf4 Nd6 30.c4 This ending is won for White) 22.Re1 Re8 23.Re3 White will win the e5 — pawn and then have a very big advantage with his two pawns on the kingside against Black’s one.


And here Komodo points out that best was 19…Rh3 (this is the reason why White had to put his king on g2, to prevent the rook from getting behind the lines) 20.Be3 (White cannot play 20.Re4 as in the game because of 20…Rc3!) 20…Kb7 21.Kg2 Rah8 Black has counterplay.

20.Re4! Rh3 21.Be3 Rah8 22.Kg2

Black’s pieces are all on the kingside and White will “work” on the queenside.

22…c4 23.bxc4 a5 24.Rb1+ Ka6 25.Rd1 Kb7 26.Rb1+ Ka6 27.a3 Rh2+ 28.Kf3 Rf8+ 29.Ke2 Rhh8 30.Rf1 Rh4 31.Rd1 Rh7 32.Kd2 Rhh8 33.Kc3 Rf7 34.Rf1

Li Chao just moves his pieces aimlessly around for a bit to reach the time control on move 40.

34…Rh4 35.Kd4 Nf8 36.Rb1 Nd7 37.Kc3 Rh3 38.Kd2 Nb6 39.Ke2 Rh8 40.Rb3

OK, mission accomplished. Now White starts playing for a win again.

40…Rh1 41.Rd3 Rg1 42.g5 Rh1 43.Rd8 Re7 44.Rf4 Kb7 45.c5 Nd7

[45…Nd5 46.Rff8 Black has to give up material or else get mated]

46.Ra4 Nb8 47.Rxa5 Rh4 48.Rd3 Na6

[48…Kc8 49.Rb3 wins the knight]

49.f4 Ka7 50.Rd4 Rh2+ 51.Bf2 g6 52.Rda4 Reh7 53.Rxa6+ Kb7 54.Ra7+ 1 — 0

There is forced mate: 54.Ra7+ Kc8 55.Ra8+ Kd7 56.Rd4+ Ke7 57.Rad8 the end.

China was leading before the last round by a single match point against Russia, and the pairings were Poland vs China and Russia vs USA. A quick calculation showed that China only had to draw against Poland, for even if Russia defeated USA and tied for the lead, the tie-breaks required they win by at least 3.5-0.5, otherwise superior game points will give the trophy to China.

Come gametime the Chinese duly agreed short draws in their games with the exception of Li Chao who had emerged with a nice initiative. Then the improbable happened — Russia blanked USA 4-0. The title of World Team Champion now rested on Li Chao who had to go for a win against GM Bartel. No problem though as he wrapped up the game pretty nicely.

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Li, Chao (2720) — Bartel, Mateusz (2637) [D16]
FIDE World Team Championship Khanty-Mansiysk (9.4), 26.06.2017

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e3 c5 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0 — 0 cxd4 9.Nxd4

The alternative 9.exd4 is much more common. By the way, the exact same position can be found on the board 2 match between Yu Yangyi and Jan-Krzysztof Duda in this same round. Just goes to show you that the Chinese players prepare together.

9…Bd7 10.e4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Bc6 12.Qe3 Be7 13.e5 Nd7 14.Qg3 g6 15.Re1

Yu Yangyi’s game continued 15.Rd1 a6 16.Bh6 Qa5 17.Bf1 Bf8 18.Bxf8 Kxf8 19.f4 Qb6+ 20.Qf2 Qxf2+! 21.Kxf2 and the game was soon drawn. Yu,Y (2749)-Duda,J (2697) Khanty-Mansyisk 2017 1/2 30.

15…0 — 0 16.Bh6 Re8 17.Rad1 Qc7 18.h4! Rad8 19.Rc1 Qb6 20.h5 Nf8 21.b3 a6 22.Ne2 Bd5?

A mistake, but it is not clear anymore how Black can defend against the kingside attack.

23.Bxd5 Rxd5 24.Nc3!

The reason why Black needed his bishop — the square e4 beckons to the white knight.

24…Rd7 25.Ne4 Qd8 26.Qf3 Rd3 27.Re3 Rd4

[27…Rxe3 28.fxe3 does not help. White will follow-up with Rf1.]


Threatening Rf3. Black has to adopt desperate measures now.

28…g5 29.Qg3 Rd1+ 30.Re1 Rd3 31.f3 f6 32.exf6 Bxf6 33.Bxg5 Bxg5 34.Nxg5 Qd4+ 35.Kh2 Qg7 36.Rc7 Rd7 37.Rxd7 Nxd7 38.Rxe6 1 — 0

We will continue our coverage of the World Team Championship on Thursday.

Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies. – Bobby Ang