China take Gold, Vietnam Silver, and Iran Bronze.
The Chinese duo of GM Ni Hua and Hou Yifan extended their dominance of the Pair Rapid event at the 1st World Minds Sports Games - winning Gold while propelling China into the overall lead - with victories first over Indonesia (1.5-0.5, 1-1) in the semi-Finals and then Vietnam (2-0, 2-0) in the finals.
In the first semi-final match between China and Indonesia, the now in form Hou's win ensured a narrow 1.5-0.5 victory, and although GM Utut Adianto went one step further in the second match with a nice win against Ni to compensate for Hou's second win over WIM Irine Sukandar, the 1-1 draw was enough to see China through.
The finals was a different story, the first match being a 2-0 victory that set China well on their way as in the second match all China needed was a draw in any game and despite some tense moments this was easily exceeded with yet another 2-0 victory! So the surprising Vietnamese team had to settle for a well deserved Silver.
Iran won duly took Bronze by beating Indonesia (2-0, 0.5-1.5) in the third place play-off. There was drama in the second match when Sukandar notched her first ever win against the until then impressive WIM Atousa Pourkashiyan but Adianto ultimately could not do more than draw against GM Eshan Ghaem Maghami.
L-R, GM Eshan Ghaem Maghami - Practical?, GM Utut Adianto - Calm!
In the other earlier semi-final match, Vietnam had showed great character and determination by coming back from a loss in the first match (0.5-1.5) to edge out Iran by sweeping the second match (2-0). GM Dao Thien Hai first levelled his personal match score against GM Maghami and then the steady WIM Le Kieu Thien Kim made sure of the victory with a nice win to put them into the finals. Overall Medal Standings (after the Pairs Rapid):
1. China: 2 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze;
2. Ukraine: 1 Gold, 2 Silver; 1 Bronze
3. Bulgaria: 1 Gold, 1 Silver;
4-5. Ecuador, Russia: 1 Gold each;
6-7. India, Vietnam: 1 Silver each;
8-10. Greece, Iran, Singapore: 1 Bronze each.
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.