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Written by Singam Kandiah   

China and Russia claim gold!


The leaders in both divisions turned up looking confident, the Russian women in particular, who were dressed for success, giving off a celebratory air.

The Chinese men's team was energetic on the board, and they looked intent on guaranteeing themselves the long coveted gold medal, Liren Ding and Yangyi Yu hitting fast and hard on boards two and three. Ding put China ahead in the third hour, and a 3-1 win and Olympiad gold at last seemed just a matter of time.
And so it proved! China could settle their nerves as Ding Liren's board two win over Grzegorz Gajewski was followed by draws on top and bottom boards. The one remaining game was an absolutely unloseable bishops of opposite colors ending where hot man Yangyi Yu had all the chances and eventually brought home the bacon to give the majestic Chinese men's team a first Olympiad gold.

Men

Rk. SNo Team Team Games + = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 7 China CHN 11 8 3 0 19 422.5 31.5 155.00
2 5 Hungary HUN 11 7 3 1 17 372.0 29.0 152.00
3 19 India IND 11 7 3 1 17 371.5 30.5 140.00
4 1 Russia RUS 11 7 3 1 17 352.0 28.5 146.00
5 8 Azerbaijan AZE 11 7 3 1 17 345.0 28.0 149.00
6 2 Ukraine UKR 11 6 4 1 16 377.5 29.0 145.00
7 13 Cuba CUB 11 7 2 2 16 361.0 29.5 145.00
8 4 Armenia ARM 11 6 4 1 16 350.5 28.5 146.00
9 9 Israel ISR 11 7 2 2 16 348.0 28.0 143.00
10 17 Spain ESP 11 7 2 2 16 334.5 28.0 142.00

Women

Rk. SNo Team Team Games + = - TB1 TB2 TB3
1 2 Russia RUS 11 10 0 1 20 420.5 32.0
2 1 China CHN 11 8 2 1 18 406.0 32.5
3 3 Ukraine UKR 11 8 2 1 18 383.0 28.5
4 4 Georgia GEO 11 8 1 2 17 390.0 32.0
5 10 Armenia ARM 11 8 1 2 17 350.5 29.0
6 17 Kazakhstan KAZ 11 8 1 2 17 320.0 27.0
7 8 Poland POL 11 7 2 2 16 362.0 26.5
8 7 United States of America USA 11 7 2 2 16 339.5 29.5
9 12 Germany GER 11 8 0 3 16 304.0 26.5

'Blocker' Yue Wang neutralized every tough first board player he met but Peter Leko - and this was the team's only individual loss of the event. The rest of the team was in magnificent form. Rumor had it that a win by Yu in the last round would put him over the magic 2700 barrier - after 10 rounds he had 8.5/10 and a 2902 performance.
Hungary's hopes for silver looked to be dimming, after drawing both White games - they had uphill battles against the Ukraine on the remaining two boards.
All of the matches between medal candidates were open, but the USA had some setbacks - first board Nakamura appeared to be losing against Azerbaijan, and their 'bottom gun', Sam Shankland, could not convert an advantage against Eltaj Safarli on board four - this result means that the US GM had to 'settle' for a final personal score of 9/10.

India supporters noted that the not completely outlandish combination of a China win, draws in the Russia-France and Azerbaijan-USA matches, and an Indian win over Uzbekistan would bring them a medal. The first part quickly looked plausible, and the other matches were predictably close and tense.

Armenia-Czech Republic was a tough last round match with a heavyweight battle on first board. Both teams had hopes for a better result in Tromsø, and although Levon Aronian ended the event with a powerful win over David Navara he was far from satisfied.

The Russian women did not open as strongly as the Chinese men, and the matches in the women's section were still up for grabs in the third hour of play, with Bulgaria definitely having chances to produce the most dramatic of last round upsets against the leaders.

Alexandra Kosteniuk always looked like delivering a full point for the leaders, but the Bulgarians had good winning chances on the top two boards. GM Valentina Gunina conjured up a winning attack from a not completely convincing position on board two to seize control of the match for Russia, and when the bottom board was drawn the first official team medals of the event were recorded.

The chasing Chinese had their hands full with the third seeds, Ukraine, but gradually took over the initiative on the middle boards in a match that’s still too close to call.

Elsewhere the Germans were locked in a sharp battle with 4th seeds Georgia, but their chances to leap into the medals list looked grim as they had uphill climbs on several boards, and Georgia drew first blood with a win on second board from IM Lela Javakhishvili.

 

 

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