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Chess: In Search of the Best National Team

The 43rd World Chess Olympiad is underway these days in the Georgian Black Sea spa Batumi. The contest is attended by practically all the strongest chess players of the plant.

Chess Olympiad is a team competition. The tournament is held on the Swiss system, in 11 rounds, separately for men and women. Each team has four players plus one substitute.

The former world champion Rustam Kasimjanov, one of the youngest international grandmasters in the history of chess Nodirbek Abdusattorov, the national champion Nodirbek Yakkubboyev and others have been enlisted in the men’s team of Uzbekistan. The composition seems to be wonderful – it is a blend of youth and experience, but our chess players have been not very successful thus far: following eight rounds, they are 34th!

Our men’s squad has secured four victories, finished two games in a draw and lost two matches. The teams of the United States, Poland and Azerbaijan have been leading in the tournament.
But in the women’s competitions our team has achieved impressive results. Gulruhbegim Tahirjanova, Sarvinoz Kurbanbayeva, Irina Gevorgian, Nodira Nodirjanova became, to a certain extent, newcomer discoveries of the Olympiad. In the second round, they beat the favorites of the competition – the Russian chess players with a score 2.5:1.5. On the first three boards, our girls were content with a draw, but on the fourth board, Nodira Nodirjanova defeated Natalia Pogonina. Yet the Russians did not hide the fact that they had come to Batumi for the “gold”. Apparently, something went wrong for them...

In the fourth round, chess players from Uzbekistan met with Chinese counterparts, a team that included world champions. Here, the class of the game was admittedly higher on the side of our rivals, and PRC girls won the match with a score 3:1. After eight rounds, the women’s national team of Uzbekistan earned five victories, lost two matches and made a draw at one game. Our girls are 16th, but they had never had such success.

Chess Olympiad attracts special attention also because the FIDE Congress will be held here, where the delegates will elect the President of the International Chess Federation for the next four years. The former president, the Russian Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who had steadily led FIDE for the past 20 years, was actually removed from the leadership of this federation, and several candidates, including former Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Government Arkady Dvorkovich, are applying for the vacant position.
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