IT will be the United States against Russia and India versus Poland in the knockout semifinals of the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020.
The United States, bannered by GM Wesley So and IM Annie Wang, and Russia, led by GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and former women’s world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, pulled off similar impressive quarterfinal victories to arrange a much-awaited semifinal encounter.
Led by So and Wang, the United States made short work of Ukraine, 4.5-1.5, in the first round and 4-2 in the second round of their two-match series.
So, the Bacoor, Cavite-born Filipino champion who transferred to the United States in 2014, defeated former world championship candidate GM Vasily Ivanchuk (ELO 2696) in the first round and GM Anton Korobov (ELO 2794) in the second round to lead the Americans’ surprisingly easy victory.
Wang matched So’s perfect 2-0 record when she defeated FM Mariia Berdnyk and WIM Nadiia Shpanko on board six.
Russia eliminated Hungary, winning 5-1 in the first round and drawing 3-3 in the second round.
Nepomniachtchi swept his games against GM Viktor Erdos and GM Tamas Banush, while Kosteniuk won her match against IM Anita Gara.
The other semifinal encounter will pit India and Poland.
India edged Armenia, 3.5-2.5, with former world champion GM Viswanathan Anand and Levon Aronian drawing their match at the top board.
The turning point came when GM Haik Martirosyan of Armenia lost his board five match to GM Saril Niham of India due to disconnection.
Armenia filed an official appeal that was rejected by the Appeals Committee.
Armenia defaulted Match 2.
In the final match of the day, lady luck was on Poland’s side.
GM Monika Socko checkmated IM Gunay Mammadzada in the all-female Armageddon decider.
The two countries split the two regular matches with Poland taking the match, 4-2, on victory by GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda over GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Azerbaijan bouncing back, 4.5-1.5 on triumph by GM Rauf Mamedov over GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek.
W. So (2741) vs. V. Ivanchuk (2686)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nb3 cxd4 7.Nbxd4 Bb4+ 8.Bd2 O-O 9.c3 Bd6 10.Bc4 Nb6 11.Bd3 N8d7 12.Qe2 e5 13.Bg5 Be7 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.O-O-O Nd5 16.Nf5 Qc5 17.Bc2 N7f6 18.Qxe5 Re8 19.Qd4 Qa5 20.Nd6 Rd8 21.Ne4 Bg4 22.Bb3 Rac8 23.Qe5 Nxe4 24.Rxd5 Nc5 25.Rhd1 Re8 26.Qd4 Be6 27.Rg5 1-0
A. Korobov (2794) vs. W. So (2741)
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3 b6 6.O-O Bb7 7.Bb2 Be7 8.Nbd2 O-O 9.Ne5 Nbd7 10.Qe2 Rc8 11.Rad1 Qc7 12.f4 g6 13.Ndf3 cxd4 14.exd4 Ne4 15.Nxd7 Qxd7 16.Ne5 Qc7 17.Bxe4 dxe4 18.c4 Rfd8 19.a4 a6 20.Qe1 b5 21.Bc3 Qd6 22.axb5 axb5 23.c5 Qd5 24.Ng4 f5 25.Ne3 Qxb3 26.Rf2 Ra8 27.Rb2 Qa4 28.g4 fxg4 29.Rb4 Qa6 30.Nxg4 Qc6 31.Qe3 Bxc5 32.Rbb1 Be7 33.Bb4 Bxb4 34.Rxb4 Ra2 35.Rc1 Rc2 36.Rbb1 Rc8 37.Rxc2 Qxc2 38.Qb3 Qxb3 39.Rxb3 Rc1+ 40.Kf2 Rc2+ 41.Kg3 Bc6 42.Ne5 Be8 43.Ra3 Rd2 44.Ra7 Rxd4 45.Ng4 Kf8 46.Nf6 Bc6 47.Nxh7+ Ke8 48.Ng5 Bd5 49.Nf7 b4 50.Nd6+ Kd8 51.Nf7+ Kc8 52.Nd6+ Kb8 53.Ra5 b3 54.Rb5+ Kc7 0-1