Due to Covid-19, chess events have switched from over-the-board games to online matches at faster time limits, but China still remains supreme in global team chess.

Last week’s Nations Cup, staged at chess.com, finished China 17/20, United States and Europe 13, Russia 8, India 5, Rest of the World 4. The US drew 2-2 in Sunday’s final, but China were placed first due to better overall performance.

China is at the top of the women’s game, and fielded both the World No1 and the reigning champion. Men’s chess is more competitive, but its squad included two world title candidates and one of the best young talents.

The United States is closely matched with China in men’s chess, and the American world No2, Fabiano Caruana, had the best individual score, 7.5/9, in the Nations Cup. Ultimately the difference came down to the format where the mandatory women’s board favoured China.

Overall, chess is performing strongly online, with tens of thousands of spectators and probably more than a million fans who play casually every week.

Puzzle 2367

Boris Gelfand c Nico Vink, Wijk aan Zee 2001. It was a classic mismatch, the only player to have won both the USSR and US championships against an unknown amateur who had lost his previous five games. Gelfand as White threatens both Nxb8 and Qc8 with Qf8+. How did Black (to move) turn the tables?

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