The men’s team was opposed by Azerbaijan. Chess players from the Transcaucasian republic are not only ambitious, but they are current European three times champions. But in Astana, they took a relatively unsuccessful start and were eager to take revenge. Let us remind our readers that the Azerbaijani national team was headed by the most experienced Arkadiy Naidich and Rauf Mamedov…

The match, contrary to expectations, took place according to the scenario written by the coach of the Kazakhstan national team Pavel Kotsur. Although Rinat Jumabayev and Murtas Kazhgaleyev could not benefit on the basis of the chess opening, they did not risk losing at one moment, keeping the minimum advantage. The draw agreements on the first and third boards were largely due to our player’s confident play on the second board.

Anuar Ismagambetov had an excellent victory with black figures over the elite chess player. By the end of the first control (40 moves), our chess player completely outplayed the opponent in the center, after which his pawns in the center moved forward. Trying to delay the inevitable, the Azerbaijani grandmaster made a desperate exchange sacrifice. However, this measure only helped to extend the resistance to more than eight dozen moves. Important victory!

On the fourth board, Pyotr Kostenko undertook several risky operations, but, as the team coach noted, all this was taken into account when preparing for a specific opponent. A draw in the game and a victory in the match were close, but in time trouble Pyotr, unfortunately, made a few inaccuracies. 2:2! Nevertheless, a draw in the match against one of the strongest teams in the world can not only be safely included in the asset of the national team of Kazakhstan, but it can also be considered absolutely natural. The defeat on the fourth board, of course, is unpleasant, but in the game of Anuar with R. Mamedov, our chess player offered to separate amicably, was refused, and the result is known. “Shortage” on one board as a result was compensated by an unplanned “profit” on another.

Our girls had a hard start: in the first round it fell to play with the winners of the last World Team Championship from the Russian team, and today there was a test with the Olympic Champions. But it should be noted that our chess players have never experienced timidity in front of formidable opponents. Moreover, they often “upset” the coaches of the Celestial Empire national team. Having won the very first meeting, which took place at the Olympics in 1992, Kazakh girls regularly took their points from the outstanding Chinese grandmasters. In 2012, they confidently drew at the Olympic games in Istanbul, the same result was recorded at the World Team Championship in Chengdu in 2015…

On the first board in the game with former world champion Tan Jon Yi Zh. Abdumalik, expecting the likely targeted training of Chinese specialists, declined the Grunfeld Defense, choosing a rather rare option. A difficult situation arose, but the strength of the Almaty grandmaster, lies precisely in the excellent counting of options and heightened intuition. At the right moment Zhansaya undertook a substandard exchange sacrifice and completely equalized the position. And it’s a draw.

On the second board Dinara Saduakasova chose a quiet continuation in the Italian game. Further, in a relatively calm endgame, Dinara with a completely imperturbable look continued to meticulously search for chances of increasing the odds and … the most experienced Shen Yang began to make mistakes! The result is a confident victory in the knight endgame.

A difficult variant of the King’s Indian Defense was chosen by Asaubayeva. Li Ting Lei acted very subtly and managed to achieve a significant advantage, giving up the queen for three chessmen. Despite all the efforts of the young chess player, the Chinese grandmaster confidently realized the advantage. The score at the beginning of the round was 1 to 0 in favor of the Chinese team.

Guliskhan Nakhbayeva received a promising white figures position. A sharp attack by a rook pawn on the fifth move marked the aggressive aspirations of the champion of Kazakhstan in 2018. Although the position of Ding Yixing looked quite alarming, it was fraught with a hidden reserve of dynamic capabilities. On the 22nd move Guliskhan faced a difficult choice – either agreeing to a draw by repeating the moves or continuing the game. Shymkent grandmaster chose the second option and… made a miscalculation, after which her position immediately became hopeless.

Our girls lost with a score of 1.5:2.5, but in a decent fight and with a minimum domination of Chinese women.

On the international Women’s Day, as fate would have it, both men’s and women’s Kazakhstan teams play with the national teams of the United States of America. Thus, this day a kind of mixed Kazakhstan will be played – the United States on eight boards.