Friday, July 31, 2015

Pestaño: China: A new super power in chess

Friday, July 31, 2015
ALTHOUGH China has player rated over 2,800 and none in the top 10, they have 11 players in the top 100 list as of July 2015. Only Russia has more (13) in the list.
Russia has been dominant in chess for the past five or six decades but is slowly losing ground to rising countries such as Ukraine, Armenia, India and especially China. With the transfer of Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana to the USA, the coming Olympiad in Azerbaijan next year will be something to watch.
China already has four women’s champion while their men’s team won the gold medal in the last Olympiad 2014 in Norway.
China’s rise has been rather late. All of their top players became prominent only in the last decade.
The Chinese government pays serious attention to sports (just like the USSR did), especially chess. In the 90s, the Chinese female players emerged in the world chess scene. Xie Jun became the women’s world champion and was later followed by Zhu Chen, Xu Yuhua and Hou Yifan. This resulted in the Chinese women’s team winning four Chess Olympiads in a row (1998-2004)!
The 2015 “Yin Zhou” Cup: China vs. Russia took place from July 14 to July 21, in Ningbo, one of China’s oldest cities.
The event was a friendly match between the men’s and women’s teams of the strongest countries in chess--Russia and China. Each team was represented by five male and five female players.
The Russia men’s team was composed of GM Peter Svidler (2740), GM Nikita Vitiugov (2734), GM Maxim Matlakov (2691), GM Vladimir Fedoseev (2664) and GM Daniil Dubov (2661), while the women’s team had GM Valentina Gunina (2548), WGM Olga Girya (2486), WGM Aleksandra Goryachkina (2486), WGM Natalija Pogonina (2465) and IM Alina Kashlinskaya (2432).
China’s men’s team had GM Yangyi Yu (2736), GM Yi Wei (2724), GM Xiangzhi Bu (2695), GM Shanglei Lu (2595) and IM Chen Wang (2521), while the women’s team ahd WGM Zhongyi Tan (2488), IM Yang Shen (2465), WGM Qian Huang (2457), WGM Tingjie Lei (2450) and WGM Yixin Ding (2439).
The event was played according to the Scheveningen System (every player plays each player in the opposing team) in five rounds and was split into men and women section.
China beat the Russian men’s team, 14-11, and the Russian women’s team, 15-10. The men’s team also won the initial blitz, 26-24, and 28-22.
CHINA’S TOP PLAYERS. ou Yifan is the former women’s champion and the highest rated female at 2675 (No. 64 in the world). She is the youngest ever to win the title. She forfeited her world title by declining to contest it in early 2015. But after winning the Fide Grand Prix 2014, she has qualified to challenge world champion Mariya Muzychuk to a 10-game World Championship match next year.
Ding Liren is rated No.14 in the world. At the age of 16, he became the youngest ever person to win the Chinese Chess Championship. In April 2011, he won the Chinese Chess Championship for the second time, and won the title again the next year at the age of 19.
Wang Yue became the World No. 11 in 2008, the highest ranking a Chinese player has ever achieved. He surpassed this after climbing to No. 9 in the January 2010 Fide rankings, becoming the first Chinese top 10 player. He is now rated No. 32 but has come back to his old form by winning the Chinese championship this year.
Weu Yi is considered the most exciting player now. On March 1, 2013 he won his final GM norm at the Reykjavik Open, becoming, at the age of 13 years, 8 months and 23 days, the youngest GM in the world at that time, and the fourth youngest in history. He is rated No. 29 in the world now at 2724 and is still 16 years old! Many think he will become a world champion before age 21.

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