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Unbeatable Ukraine wins Gold at 44th Chess Olympiad 2022 Women

by Shahid Ahmed - 12/08/2022

The Ukraine women's team featured three world champions in their team since 2014. The team comprised of 14th Women's World champion GM Anna Ushenina, 15th Mariya Muzychuk, one-time World Rapid and two-time World Blitz champion, GM Anna Muzychuk. Ushenina is the only player who was also part of 37th Turin Olympiad, Gold medal winning team Ukraine. She is also the only one of the team, who remained unbeaten in the entire event. Ever since Anna Muzychuk's return to the Ukraine team in 2014, they won have a medal in each Olympiad. Since the Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year, all of them have persevered through difficult and uncertain times. Yet, they managed to remain unbeaten and clinch an important Gold in these trying times. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes

The Poetic Finish

The better part of the world was fully behind team Ukraine in this event. The reasons were obvious, none of them had to endure such unfortunate events for over five months. All of them lost more than one can fathom. However, the will to fight for the right reasons, lives on. It is certainly difficult for them to focus on chess when they know their families are still stuck in their homeland. Yet they managed to do the tough task, win Gold. Just like their never-give-up spirit, individually they might have lost a few games but collectively they remained strong and indomitable. This triumph is certainly going to bring joy to every Ukrainian, be them a chess player or not.

44th Chess Olympiad 2022 Women winner - Ukraine | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes

44th Chess Olympiad 2022 Official logo | Photo: Official site

Gold medalist in Women: Ukraine 18/22

There was no doubt that Ukraine was one of the favorites to win the Gold along with India 1 and Georgia. The most important part was whether they will be able to perform their best considering the unwarranted tough times they had to go through. After starting with four wins, they drew the next two rounds. They won the seventh round, drew eighth and ninth round. The win against Germany in the penultimate round, followed by Poland in the last, combining with USA beating India 1, worked things out in their favor. Georgia's victory over Azerbaijan in the final round did not make a difference, as Ukraine had better tie-breaks.

Ukraine never lost a match as a team, individually they lost only five games out of 44

Mariya - Alina

Position after 27.Qd6+

The only safe square for the black king was g7. Both Ke8 and Kg8 loses for Black. The game continued 27...Kg8 28.Qe7 Qf2 29.Ka1 Qg2 30.e6 and White won the game in another five moves. Mariya picked up the first win for the team.

Ushenina - Oliwia

Position after 56.Rb1

The above rook ending is a draw. However, the then undefeated WIM Oliwia Kiolbasa (POL, 2376) suffered her sole loss of the event after she played 56...g4. It obviously did not reduce her chances of winning the individual Gold, it just allowed her opponent GM Anna Ushenina to push for an important win which earned her an individual Silver and a Gold for the team. Although she needed only a half point to win the match, a win to end the event is certainly sweeter.

Board prize winners

Board #1 - 2nd Eline Roebers (NED), 1st GM Pia Cramling (SWE) and 3rd GM Zhansaya Abdumalik (KAZ) | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes

Board #2 winners (L to R) - 2nd GM Anna Muzychuk (UKR), 1st GM Nino Batsiashvili (GEO) and 3rd WGM Khanim Balajayeva (AZE) | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes

Since 2014, GM Anna Muzychuk has won a team medal in each Olympiad and individual medal in 2014, 2016 and now 2022 | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes

Board #3 winners (L to R) - 2nd GM Anna Ushenina (UKR), 1st WIM Oliwia Kiolbasa (POL) and 3rd IM Vaishali R | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes

Both GM Praggnanandhaa and IM Vaishali R won Bronze medal on Board no.3 for their respective teams | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes

Board #4 winners (L to R) - 2nd FM Maria Malicka (POL), 1st WCM Bat-Erdene Mungunzul (MGL) and 3rd IM Tania Sachdev | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes
How Tania Sachdev switched from commentator's role to a player | Two medals at Olympiad 2022 | Video: ChessBase India

FM Maria Malicka was the sole unbeaten player of team Poland Women | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes

Board #5/Reserve winners (L to R) - 2nd WGM Ulviyya Fataliyeva (AZE), 1st WGM Jana Schneider (GER) and 3rd WGM Divya Deshmukh | Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes
"The feeling is surreal" - Divya Deshmukh on winning the Individual Bronze at the Olympiad 2022 | Video: ChessBase India

Only Women section winners are mentioned here. Open section report can be found here.

Highlights

▪ 10th seeded Kazakhstan finished fifth scoring 17/22. Reigning World Blitz Women champion, IM Bibisara Assaubayeva remained undefeated 8/11.

▪ 11th seeded India 2 secured eighth place. The top scorer of the team, WGM Vantika Agrawal scored her second IM-norm. WGM Mary Ann Gomes remained unbeaten 6.5/9

▪ 15th seeded Bulgaria claimed ninth position.Top scorer of the team, FM Gabriela Antova remained undefeated 8.5/10.

▪ 5th seeded France scored 14/22 to finish 22nd.

▪ 42nd seeded Lithuania was impressive in the Women's section too. They finished at 18th place scoring 15/22.

▪ Pia Cramling won her third individual Gold, 38 years after winning the last one in 1988. She won her first individual Gold medal in 1984. This is also her ninth individual medal at the Chess Olympiads.

Links

Official site

Tournament Regulations


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