World Tag Team Championship begins in Jerusalem, played with fast time control

Azerbaijan and China are the early leaders of the FIDE World Team Chess Championship which kicked off in Jerusalem, Israel on Sunday. The tournament is played under fast time control of 45+10 and features a group stage followed by a knockout stage.

Like the Olympiad, the World Team Championship is held every two years with separate open and women’s sections which are not always held simultaneously. Since the first edition in 1985, the format has always been a round robin between 10 teams but for this year, FIDE has changed things up quite a bit.

This time there are 12 teams, divided into two pools which each play a round robin of five rounds. The top four teams from each pool qualify for a knockout stage. The biggest change, however, is the time control: this year matches are played with 45 minutes plus a 10 second increment. This falls into the category of fast Chess according to Appendix A of the FIDE Chess Laws:

A.1 A game of “rapid chess” is a game where all moves must be made within a fixed time of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player; or the time allotted plus 60 times any increment is greater than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player.

Some have argued that the tournament should be called World Team Rapid Chess Championship, while FIDE CEO Emil Sutovsky favorite to speak of “semi-classical”. One thing is clear: the games will count for quick odds, not classic ones.

The venue is the Dan Hotel Jerusalem. In a press release in early November, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) urged FIDE to move the tournament elsewhere. The reason was that the hotel is located in East Jerusalem, considered by Palestinians to be an illegal Israeli settlement in Palestinian territory.

Russia, defending champion, is obviously not present in Jerusalem but Ukraine is. Led by GM Vasyl Ivanchuk, their team also includes GM Igor Kovalenko, who was fighting in the army in the Donbas region this summer. He is one of three players to start the tournament with two wins.

Ukrainian World Chess Teams 2022
Ukraine pictured with, from left, Vasyl Ivanchuk, team captain Oleksandr Sulypa, Kirill Shevchenko and Andrei Volokitin. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In Pool B, Azerbaijan is the only team to start with two match wins. They beat the United States in the second round, a team that is missing many of its best players. Interestingly, GM Hans Niemann plays on the first board (alongside GMs Lazaro Bruzon, Alexander Onischuk, Varuzhan Akobian and Yuniesky Quesada).

Niemann played against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in that second round, who played his seventh match of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour finals later that evening.

Mamedyarov Niemann World Teams 2022
Niemann resigns against Mamedyarov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the absence of general manager Anish Giri, the Netherlands suffered two narrow 1.5-2.5 defeats on Sunday. The match against France (a team that lacks GM Alireza Firouzja, presumably tied to the tournament venue) was particularly difficult as GM Max Warmerdam managed to lose a queen pawn endgame (!) against the GM Laurent Fressinet:

Warmerdam Fressinet
Fressinet can’t believe he won this match. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

It’s clear that South Africa will struggle to score even a match point, but it was nice to see their top adviser, GM Kenny Solomon, hold a draw against the legendary Ivanchuk. Salomon was well prepared for the 3.Bb5+ Najdorf:

Kenny Solomon World Chess Teams
Kenny Solomon. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Classification of pool A, 2nd round

Rk. Flag Crew 1 2 3 4 5 6 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5
1 China 3 4 6.5 14 4.5 17
2 Ukraine 4 6 13.5 5 14
3 France 2 4 16.5 3 11.5
4 Spain 1 2 3.5 14 3 9
5 Netherlands 0 3 11.3 0 6
6 South Africa ½ ½ 0 1 6.3 0 2.5

Classification of the 2nd day of Pool B

Rk. Flag Crew 1 2 3 4 5 6 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5
1 Azerbaijan 3 4 5.5 20.5 7.5 16
2 Uzbekistan 2 4 17 3.5 9
3 India 2 2 2 4 14 3.5 10.5
4 United States 1 2 3.5 14.3 3.5 seven
5 Israel 2 1 3.5 14 2 8.5
6 Poland 2 1 3.5 13.3 2 9

The FIDE World Tag Team Championship will take place from November 19-26, 2022 in Jerusalem, Israel. The format is a round robin for teams with five rounds, followed by a knockout with the top eight. The time control is 45 minutes for the entire game plus a 10 second increment from the first move.

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