News 2020

Base Division: Day 3 Round-up

On July 27, the matches in Base Division came to close. 18 least experienced teams finished their campaign in this competition; 12 teams advanced to Division 4. Despite a relatively low chess level of the majority of participants, Base Division had everything we love chess for - strong, non-standard moves, unimaginable blunders, and dramatic twists and turns. In Pool B things came to a real crunch.

Pool A

The key matches in this pool were played in Round 7. After losing to Oman by a narrow margin in Round 4, Fiji had to beat Pakistan at any cost. Many Pakistani players do not have FIDE rating, but as we already mentioned in our preview, chess in on the rise in this country, and getting rating and titles is just a matter of time. Fiji suffered a painful defeat 2.5:3.5 – the leader of Pakistan Ali Khan Salman scored a decisive victory for his team defeating an opponent rated 300 points higher.

In another important match, Oman prevailed over Guam 3.5:2.5 and rounded out the quartet of the teams qualifying for Division 4: Myanmar, Brunei, Pakistan, and Oman. Most likely Myanmar will be one of the main favorites in Division 4 as well.   
Unfortunately, team Somalia failed to finish the competition – the internet connection in this country has not been restored. 

Pool A Final Standings:

1. Myanmar - 18
2. Brunei Darussalam - 16
3. Pakistan- 13 (36,5)
4. Oman - 13 (32,5)
5. Fiji - 10
6. Guam - 8
7. Laos - 6
8. Macau -3
9. Bhutan - 2
10. Somalia - 1

Pool B

The final day in this pool turned into a real thriller. After Day 1 it became clear that Lebanon, Qatar, and Bahrain were substantially stronger than other participants, but the fourth spot in Division 4 would be closely contested by the African teams.

As we pointed out in yesterday’s round-up, Burundi’s seemingly firm position in the leaderboard was an illusion as they were taking on all the three main favorites on the final day. Burundi threw a curve in the first match and became the first team to win a game over Lebanon on one of the boards. Nathalie Nahimana defeated her opponent on a women’s board, but her teammates failed to back her effort – the final score was 1:5.

In a clash for second place Qatar - Bahrain the former somewhat unexpectedly dominated the proceedings. Whitewashing 6:0 seemed imminent but a Qatarian player on a women’s board lost connection in a winning position and forfeited the game.

Round 8 sprang no surprises and as a result, Liberia overcame Burundi thanks to better tiebreaks (2.5 extra board points). However, in the last round, Liberia faced Lebanon, a team of a completely different level, and it was predictably swept 0:6. Thus, in order to advance to Division 4, Burundi had to score 2.5 points against Bahrain as this team won the face-off against Liberia.

The strength of the Burundi team was in the women's boards and they won the first point quickly enough - Deborah Niyonzima nicked her sixth victory in six games (in two other games her opponents defaulted). The holder of DeborahBurundi's patriotic nickname at was one of the finds of the tournament; let's hope that the capable girl will continue to develop as a chess player. In three games Burundi had no chance, but the cherished 1.5 points could have been scored in the remaining two games - a winning position on the second women's board and rough equality on the second men's board. Alas, it was not the day of Burundi national team – first, Wilfried Ntamatungiro blundered an exchange whereas Francine Kwizera forfeited on time in a winning position.

It's a pity we won't see talented Burundian women chess players in Division 4, but Liberia earned its spot in the next round with a stable, consistent performance. Chess in this country has been supported by state lately; the national federation is doing a great job which has begun to yield fruits.

Pool B Final Standings:

1. Lebanon - 18
2. Qatar - 15
3. Bahrain - 14
4. Liberia - 10 (28,5)
5. Burundi - 10 (27)
6. Gambia - 8
7. Gabon - 7
8. Mali - 5
9. Congo - 2
10. San Marino - 1

Pool C

The outcome in this pool seemed to be the most unpredictable, but the top-4 in the final standings emerged with one round to spare. The most important match was played in the 7th round - Mauritania managed to defeat Libya by a score of 3.5:2.5. This result secured the country-winner, 75% of whose territory is either desert or semi-desert, one of four spots in the tournament in Division 4 which starts on Friday, July 31. Mohamed Ahmed Taleb scored the most important point for the Mauritanians - he conducted an instructive attack on an opponent’s king stuck in the center after boldly sacrificing an exchange.

Also in Round 7 the winner of Pool C was finally decided. Cyprus made a quick work of Haiti 4.5:1.5 and guaranteed itself the first place.

The last two rounds did not change much in the standings - only Haiti and Mauritania faced-off in the last round to determine who would take third place. The Haitians won by a narrow margin and found themselves in the third position. Mauritania tied for fourth place with Libya and Saint Lucia but had much better tiebreaks.

When Talking about Pool C, we are bound to pay tribute to Thamara Sagastegui (Aruba) - she won all 8 games on the women's junior board, and one more time her opponent didn't show up. Tamara made a decisive contribution to 2nd place in Aruba and showed the absolute best result among all participants in Base Division.

Pool С Final Standings:

1. Cyprus - 18
2. Aruba - 15
3. Haiti - 12
4. Mauritania - 10 (36)
5. Libya - 10 (29,5)
6. Saint Lucia - 10 (29)
7. Cape Verde - 7
8. Cayman Islands - 5
9. Antigua & Barbuda - 3
10. Grenada - 1