Many Surprises in the WMSG Pairs Blitz
Thursday, 09 October 2008 03:58
GM Sasikiran - Dependable Team Player!
Ukraine, Iran, Ecuador and India were the qualifiers from the 1st World Mind Sports Games Pairs Blitz Event after 11 gruelling rounds involving teams from 28 countries.
While Ukraine with 15 match points was comfortably first, it took the tiebreak rules to separate the remaining qualifiers from unlucky fifth placed Singapore - fielding former top China players and husband and wife team GM Zhang Zhong and IM Li Roufen - who lost out despite all being on 14 match points each. Also in contention at various times were Greece, Poland, Germany, and Netherlands but none were able to sustain a serious and long term challenge.
Favourites China who finished 12th, jumped into an early lead but collapsed after a shock 2-0 loss to Poland in round 8. The normally solid and dependable GM Ni Hua joined Hou Yifan in the Chinese team but the pressure took its toll especially with young Hou obviously exhausted from non-stop top level chess in recent months.
In the play-off for third place Ukraine proved too strong for Iran, winning the first match 2-0 and drawing the second 1-1 to take Bronze.
There was however great drama in the finals between India and Ecuador. All four players won and lost one game each in their two matches (1-1 and 1-1) and in the playoff game between GM Sasikiran Krishnan of India and GM Carlos Franco Matamoros of Ecuador, Sasikiran had the White pieces and 6 minutes while Matamoros had Black and 5 minutes and draw odds. In a time scramble in a position where Black could not realistically lose in normal conditions, Matamoros accidently displaced a piece after pressing his clock.
GM Matamoros - Desperately Unlucky?
Under the tournament rules he did not have the opportunity to reset the piece as it was not on his time and so Sasikiran made a claim which had to be upheld by the arbiter. So pending the decision of the appeals committee, India has won Gold and Ecuador the Silver.
THE APPEALS COMMITTEE ORDERED THE GAME REPLAYED IN THE INTERESTS OF FAIR PLAY. And in the replay, GM Matamoros beat GM Sasikiran to secure Ecuador the Gold Medal!
Overall Medal Standings (after the pairs blitz):
1. Ukraine: 1 Gold, 2 Silver; 1 Bronze
2. China: 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
3. Bulgaria: 1 Gold, 1 Silver;
4-5. Ecuador, Russia: 1 Gold each;
6. India: 1 Silver
As always, full coverage of the 1st World Mind Sports Games is at www.2008wmsg.org/en and all games are broadcast live and available for viewing and download daily at www.2008wmsg.fide.com.
7-8. Greece, Singapore: 1 Bronze each.