Day 1 of the World Team Championship which started yesterday in Astana, Kazakhstan had no major upsets.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich symbolically executed the first move on behalf of his fellow countrywoman Kateryna Lagno in her game against Zhansaya Abdumalik. This match was the highlight of the first round in the women section, and it kept its promise. The young and ambitious Kazakh team maintained the tension until the fourth hour of play. 19-year old Abdumalik had the Women Blitz World Champion from Russia on the ropes. Zhansaya let her advantageous position go out of control and eventually lost. A final score of 3-1 is painful, but this defeat will undoubtedly serve as a valuable experience for the young Kazakh team.
Kateryna Lagno v Zhansaya Abdumalik
Egypt v USA
Egypt who is flying Africa’s flag faced the formidable USA team in the Men’s section. USA obtained victories on two boards and then drew on two boards to end up 1-3. This American was considerably weaker than the Olympiad team. Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura were missing.
Bassem Amin v Dariusz Swiercz
Egypt v Armenia – Ladies
The Egyptian ladies faced Armenia but lost 4-0.
Russia faced the young Iranian team who put up an excellent fight to draw on the top 3 boards before they lost on board 4. The final result was 2.5 – 1.5 in favour of Russia. Vladislav Artemiev celebrated his first selection in his national team on his 21 st birthday with a smooth win over 14-year old Firouzja, Alireza.
Vladislav Artemiev v Alreza Firouzja
China, comfortably won 3,5-0,5 against Hungary, whereas India and Georgia tied their match. The only real shock of the day was the 2-2 garnered by the USA team against the experienced Ukrainian squad. It could even have been better, had the young Rochelle Wu converted her winning position at the very end of the game.
Opening ceremony & press conference.
Here are some photos from the beautiful opening ceremony & the press conference before the start of the event.