Chess Olympiad: Young Uzbeks slay giants Armenia; UAE beat Japan

Ubekistan prevailed 3-1 to grab the overall lead in the ultra-competitive Open section



Uzbekistan's Javokhir Sindarov during the ninth round against Armenia at the 44th Chess Olympiad on Sunday. — AFP
Uzbekistan's Javokhir Sindarov during the ninth round against Armenia at the 44th Chess Olympiad on Sunday. — AFP

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 12:07 AM

Armenia's incredible eight-game winning streak was sensationally brought to a halt by the young stars from Uzbekistan as 16-year-old Javokhir Sindarov delivered the finishing blow with a ruthless victory over seasoned Grandmaster Samuel Ter-Sahakyan.

Ubekistan prevailed 3-1 to grab the overall lead in the ultra-competitive Open section at the biggest chess tournament in history being held at the Sheraton Four Points Convention Center in Mahabalipuram, Chennai, India.

Sindarov found a strong ally in Jakhongir Vakhidov, a 25-year-old GM, who accounted for the experienced Robert Hovhannisyan, who was undefeated to date with the black pieces.

With this win, the Uzbekistan team are now the sole leaders of the Olympiad with 16 points, with two rounds to go. They are also the only undefeated team of the tournament.

In Round 10 on Monday, they will clash with another young and aspiring team, India B.

Vakhidov, who earned the title of Grandmaster at the age of 12 years, is tipped to become one of the sport's biggest players.

Two of India's much-vaunted teams, India A and India C won their ninth round matches as India B were held by Azerbaijan in a game which saw player-of-the-tournament D Gukesh being held for the first time in front of his adoring fans at Chennai, his home town. The honour of ending the Indian chess prodigy's winning streak went to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

India A continued to stay in title contention when they overcame Brazil , who have been performing at a high level in the tournament, while India C defeated Paraguay.

India B and Armenia now share second-third place with 15 points, trailing the leaders by just one point.

With only two rounds remaining and three medals in play, Monday's pairings are of huge significance. while the stage is set for an Olympiad classic between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The UAE bounced back from their defeat to Scotland with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Japan with in-form Ibrahim Sultan and Abdulrahman Al Taher both winning their matches. They play Ecuador on Monday.

With just two rounds to go, the women's section was left wide open with four teams sharing the top spot — India, Poland, Kazakhstan, and Georgia.

Poland defeated India A 2½:1½, thanks to the exciting Oliwia Kiolbasa who beat IM Vaishali and is the only women's player in the Olympiad with a score of 9 out of 9.

Meanwhile, the clash of female superpowers Ukraine and Georgia ended in a 2-2 draw.

Nino Batsiashvili defeated Anna Muzychuk, and in return, Nataliya Buksa won against Meri Arabidze.

Former Russian deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich was re-elected for a second term as president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) on Sunday, defeating a Ukrainian who had criticised him over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

As many as 157 out of 179 national chess associations voted to re-elect former Russian deputy premier Arkady Dvorkovich as head of International Chess Federation (FIDE).

From being one of the finest players in the world, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand will embark on his new role as Fide vice-president.


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