China, Russia even in chess clash

China leveled Russia 20-20 after the fourth round of a chess clash of two nations on Sunday.

The Chinese women clinched their fourth straight win, beating Russia 3-2 while the Chinese men earned a 2.5-2.5 draw following two consecutive defeats.

The Chinese women lead 12-8 over their Russian rivals and the men trailed 8-12.

In the men’s fourth round, rising star Wang Yue beat Evgeniy Najer, becoming the best performing Chinese with two wins, one draw and one loss. Zhang Pengxiang lost to Vadim Zvjaqinsev, Ni Hua drew Vladimir Malakhov, Pu Xiangzhi tied Dmitry Jakovenko and Zhang Zhong evened Alexey Dreev.

In the women’s action, the Russian sisters Tatiana and Nadezhda Kosintseva, ranked 9th and 12th in the world respectively, combined for two wins, with Tatiana beating Zhao Xue and Nadezhda nipping Wang Yu.

China’s three points came from Shen Yang, Hou Yifan and Huang Qian.

China’s former world champion Xie Jun, the chief umpire of the competition, said the Chinese women’s team holds a clear advantage over their Russian counterparts while the men’s side isn’t on the same par with the visitors.

“If the Chinese men don’t lose too many games in later rounds and let the Russians run too far away, the Chinese team will very likely win the competition,” Xie said on Sunday.

The China-Russia Chess Contest opened last Thursday and will end on August 20, with 20 grandmasters from the two countries facing off against each other.

The contest, widely reckoned as an event of the traditional tycoon versus a rising power, was initiated in 2001 with Russia winning on 41.5 points against China’s 30.5 in Shanghai, before the Chinese team took a revenge in the second edition in Moscow in 2004, beating Russia 37.5-34.5.

With three Chinese women crowned world champions and the Chinese men’s team finishing twice runners-up in the World Cup and World Olympian Team Championships, China’s chess chief Wang Runan is expecting a victory.

“I believe China is strong enough to win this competition,” said Wang last Thursday.

Source: Xinhua
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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar