IT’S all over for super GM Wesley So and the United States.
Russia and India will dispute the championship in the first FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020.
Russia eliminated the United States and India defeated Poland in a pair of hard-fought matches to arrange a title showdown in the unique online mixed team competition organized by FIDE due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Russians made it on the strength of a narrow 3.5-2.5 win over the Americans in the first round and despite So’s impressive upset victory over GM Alexander Grischuk in a tense 3-3 draw in the second round.
So, who played the top board for the American team for the first time since 2014, also battled the higher-rated Grischuk to a draw in the first round.
But Russia struck on victories on the women’s boards by GM Aleksandra Goryachkina and former women’s world champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, who defeated IM Anna Zatonskih and WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, respectively.
WIM Annie Wang provided the lone victory for the US by beating WGM Polina Shuvalova on board six.
The second round was a must-situation for the US.
So, the Bacoor, Cavite-born Filipino champion playing in his seventh Olympiad did not disappoint.
So, who will turn 27 on Oct. 9, defeated the higher-rated Grischuk in a very interesting game.
IM Carissa Yip clobbered GM Aleksandra Goryachkina and GM Jeffery Xiong crushed GM Andrey Esipenko to provide two more victories for the US.
But the Russians doused fire on the American’s comeback by winning the other matches to secure a 3-3 draw and a spot in the final.
“It was all topsy turvy on so many boards as the nervousness of the ultimate moment showed off. With five encounters ending in wins for white, it all came down to one game. Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Anna Zatonskih and saved the match for Russia,” said a report on the official FIDE website.
“A draw 3:3 was enough for Russia to advance to the final,” the report said.
The India-Poland semifinal encounter also lived up to its hype.
After the two countries split their first two matches, the battle came down to the Armageddon tiebreaker between world No. 2 Humpy Koneru of India and Monika Socko of Poland.
Koneru exploited inaccuracies by Socko to score a well-deserved victory and lead India to the final round.
Earlier, Poland drew firt blood with a 4-2 triumph in the first round built around victories by GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda over former chmpion GM Viswanathan Anand and GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek over GM Santos Gujrathi Vidit in the first two boards.
India came back strong in the second round with Anand, Vidit, Koneru and Dronavalli Harika winning their assignments.
W. So (2741) vs. A. Grischuk (2784)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.O-O O-O 7.Re1 a5 8.h3 Ba7 9.Bb3 h6 10.Nbd2 Be6 11.Bc2 Re8 12.Nf1 d5 13.exd5 Bxd5 14.Ng3 Qd6 15.Nf5 Qd7 16.N3h4 Ne7 17.Rxe5 Nxf5 18.Rxf5 Qe6 19.d4 Qe1+ 20.Kh2 c5 21.Bxh6 Bb8+ 22.Bf4 Qxd1 23.Rxd1 Be6 24.Rxf6 gxf6 25.Bxb8 Raxb8 26.d5 Bd7 27.Rd2 b5 28.Bf5 Rbd8 29.Bxd7 Rxd7 30.Nf5 Kh7 31.g4 Re4 32.Kg3 b4 33.d6 bxc3 34.bxc3 Rc4 35.Rd3 Ra4 36.Re3 Rd8 37.Re7 Rc4 38.Rxf7+ Kg8 39.Rxf6 Rxc3+ 40.Kh4 c4 41.g5 Rd3 42.g6 Rf8 43.Kg5 c3 44.Ne7+ Kg7 45.Nf5+ Kg8 46.Rxf8+ Kxf8 47.Kf6 Rxd6+ 48.Nxd6 c2 49.g7+ Kg8 50.Nf5 c1=Q 51.Ne7+ 1-0