Enter the dragon, in black and white: China win Online Nations Cup

Enter the dragon, in black and white: China win Online Nations Cup

  • May 14, 2020
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China beats USA in Online Nations Cup superfinal; Kasparov says new chess superpower has emerged.

Around midnight in Beijing, Grandmaster Wei Yi  smiled sad when he killed his American opponent Fabiano Caruana, who was sitting at his beachfront home in Miami, where he was barely noon, a delightful confrontation with a skilled manoeuvre end-game. The win left the FIDE Online Nations Cup final closed to a 2-2 draw, despite the announcement by China of the winner as they won  the round-robin phase..

The four Chinese Grandmasters—Yi, Ding Liren, Hou Yifan and Yu Yangyi—appeared briefly for a video conference on the ChessBase website, which was streamed live during the week-long tournament. In the live broadcast, their eyes looked asleep but radiant, the sounds seemed happy but asleep for everyone who followed them online. His American counterparts were sad and desperate, although Caruana later raised grief with a sense of humor.

Bafflingly, despite increasing friction between the two countries, China's victory, or American defeat, has not been lost in political symbolism, classes, and interpretations. As when the Cold War broke out, the Soviet chess machine was intended to show mental and mathematical superiority over the decaying West. Here, even if you are dealing with the growing hostility to China by the Trump administration, the accusations and sanctions that have moved from the White House to Beijing in recent weeks have not been the threads of ideological victory or metaphors of global domination knit in China's victory. Despite all that, the context didn't jump out of the 64 squares on the board. There was no political speech.

"It is time to recognize China as a great chess power. They have an exceptional generation of high-quality players. One of them may be the future world champion," said Gary Kasparov, who was watching the pain of the European team drown in the championship, after the final match.

A few weeks ago, in a completely different context, the legendary chess player criticized the country: “China must be held accountable, and its elements are in the free world as well. Time passed to finish the unilateral path of dictatorship engagement with the free world, export corruption and death alongside oil and goods.” But here , Politics kept outside the council.

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The golden generation

It remains to be seen if one of his golden generation could fight against the crown and sceptre from Magnus Carlsen (still only 29), but China was rapidly advancing in the game. A long time ago, Beijing banned chess during the first eight years of the Cultural Revolution.

Then, in 1975, Malaysian patron Dato Tan, in cooperation with Chinese officials, designed and funded the "Grand Dragon" project to make China a global chess power. His model was the strategy of the USSR state in the 1930s and 1940s, discovering players at a young age and putting them in the right climate for prosperity. The state educates and develops them from childhood, grooming them carefully for the international scene and generously rewarding them when they begin to achieve the results, which they have been consistently achieving.

First, China occupied the title of formerly dominant Georgian female scientist, before advancing to the biennial Olympic team until its victory in 2014. Finally, after many years when Chinese ancestors concentrated in the first twenty or thirty places, they found Ding, who is characterized by style of play Classic and dynamic. In addition to third Ding, they have three more in 25th place. Only top Russia has more. And unlike the USA’s talent pool, China’s is entirely home-grown.

Although the result of the tournament was a symbol of the emergence of China as a major chess power, it was a metaphor for hope in these difficult times. When the epidemic and closure closed the sporting world, chess managed to win a tournament with the best in the world, barring Carlsen, who just finished organizing his own tournament online recently.

Yifan candidly expressed the overwhelming excitement of chess brothers in words: "I am really excited because here we are. In this global climate, it is very important that we try to bring something together that will make chess rise somewhat in the air. I think it's a chess franchise, we can do many different events by The Internet. I definitely enjoyed a lot and really enjoyed it. "

It was fun, but it also required a lot of adaptation and adaptation, for players, organizers, fans and referees. They only had three weeks to organize and prepare, and although they did not dive into the exact unknown, they posed a whole new set of challenges.

Like the Team Europe Zoom conferences, it exploded briefly on the second day. Dutch chief professor Anish Giri was so worried about his internet connection that he spent a week before the tournament looking for ways to keep the connection stable. "I used to play in a smaller online tournament and Wi-Fi was disconnected. I was angry. I did a lot of research and updated everything. Now he told ChessBase.com," My Wi-Fi is completely crazy. "

To achieve the shaky connection, Dinara Saduakassova, who was playing from her home in Nur Nur-Sultan, installed two mobile routers as a backup. “We have many unstated power outages in the city. Therefore, it is better to have cell phones ready. He is the savior. "

For Italian-American Caruana, the biggest problem was that he couldn't go to the bathroom between tours. To maintain the integrity of the tournament and avoid accusations of fraud, FIDE insisted that players do not move from chairs, which means they cannot move from their seat and multiple cameras are watching you.

Momentum forced him to play faster against Indian Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi. "I was trying to play as quickly as possible because I had to use the bathroom. I just wanted the game to end as quickly as possible, and I literally ran to the bathroom," he said in an interview after the match.

For many of them, the seizure was physical. Play with someone sitting miles away, looking at a virtual board and flashing your opponent's head from the corner of the screen. Admitted B Adhiban from India: "It looks like you're playing a computer. Every strength and body language is missing. You get used to it, but you lack this human element. Although you prefer playing in quieter environments, you are missing your opponent's face." This is not a mistake, but as Karwana pointed out: "It is like interpreting a person from a parallel world."

The emotional face of the game is lost. "We miss the emotional part when people meet and shake hands with them. People love when they look at the painting in the eyes of their opponent. People lack that. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. said," This is a very good alternative. "However, he could not imagine an end between China and the United States in a real championship. And he said, “It was exciting.” It could also have been the perfect storm, as political symbolism and attitude were not very far away.

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Article Source: indianexpress.com

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