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So-led USA to face Ukraine in q’finals as China bites the dust

THE United States will take on Ukraine — not China — in the knockout quarterfinal round of the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020.

That’s because Ukraine upset top seed China in their Armageddon game after both teams battled to 3-3 draws in the first and second rounds early Friday.

GM Kiril Shevchenko of Ukraine outwitted GM Liu Yan of China in the lone winner-take-all encounter in Round 3 to determine which of the two top chess-playing countries will advance.

The deciding game featured the top two junior players with the 17-year-old Shevchenko delivering the biggest win of the match.

The unexpected result means Ukraine will be the United States’ quarterfinal opponent in the unique online competition being organized by FIDE’s in response to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

..It also means that GM Wesley So, now the United States’ top player, will take on either former world championship candidate GM Vasily Ivanchuk (ELO 2686) or GM Anton Korobov (ELO 2794) at the top board.

..Of the two, Korobov is playing a lot better than Ivanchuk.

.Korobov, who played board two, drew both his matches against Chinese GMs Wei Yu (ELO 2752) in the first round and Yu Yangyi (ELO 2738).

Ivanchuk lost to GM Ding Liren (ELO 2836) in the first round but managed a draw in the second round Before the playoffs, Korobov went 5/7 on four wins, two draws and one loss, while Ivanchuk struggled with one draw and three losses.

.So also had more success against Ivanchuk

.The Bacoor, Cavite-born Filipino champion slammed the door on Ivanchuk in their 2009 World Chess Cup showdown in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

…In other quarterfinal matches, it will be Russia against Hungary, India against Armenia and Azerbaijan against Poland.

Hungary provided the day’s other exciting result by knocking out Germany also in Armageddon to earn the right to meet Russia in the quarerfinals.

GM Tamas Banusz clinched the victory for Hungary when he defeated GM Dennis Wagner in the battle between their board one players.

Armenia, led by GM Levon Aronian and GM Elina Danielian, whipped Greece, 4.5-1.5, in the first round and 3.5-2.5, in the second round.

Aronian outclassed GM Dimitrios Mastrovasilis in the first round and Hristos Banikas in the second round to lead Armenia to victory and a quarterfinal duel agaist India.

Poland, bannered by GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda and GM Monika Socko, defeated Bulgaria twice, 3.5-2.5 and 4-2, to arrange a quarterfiinal duel with Azerbaijan.

The remaining schedule:
Quarterfinals (Aug.28)
Duel 5 – India vs. Armenia
Duel 6 – Azerbaijan vs. Poland
Duel 7 – Russia vs. Hungary.
Duel 8 – USA vs.Ukraine
Semis (Aug. 29)
Dual 9 – Duel 5 vs 6 winners India vs Armenia vs Azerbaijan vs Poland
Dual 10 – Dual 7 vs Dual 8 Russia vs Hungary vs USA vs Ukraine
Final (Aug. 30)
Winners of Duel 9 and 10.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight
Ed Andaya
Sports Editor - People's Tonight